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					Computer Science Careers & YoPE Queen’s University of Belfast
Guidelines for Year of Professional Experience - Computer Science

Careers & YoPE Website:
The Professional Experience Year is a compulsory part of the academic programme for students on five of our degree courses:    

BSc/BEng in Computer Science including Professional Experience MEng in Computer Science including Professional Experience BEng/MEng in Electronic & Software Engineering including Professional Experience BSc Business Information Technology including Professional Experience BSc Computing and Information Technology including Professional Experience

It is also an optional component of the MEng in Computer Games Design and Development degree course. Students must, unless exempted, spend the year preceding their Level 3 year in obtaining paid professional experience in a manner approved by the Placement Team Some students doing other degrees such as BSc joint honours degrees including Computer Science with e.g. Maths or Physics may choose to arrange their own placements. Students doing the year of professional experience must meet the requirements of the University regulations, and are also given the opportunity of participating in:  City and Guilds Institute Licentiateship Award - LCGI Full guidelines for students and employing organisations are available, but may be summarised by saying that the placement is intended to supplement and complement the student's University work with professional experience in information systems engineering, meeting objectives which are not possible to achieve in the classroom environment. The placement normally lasts for a period of twelve months, during which time the student is a full paid employee and subject to all the requirements of the employer. The type of work allocated to a student is at the discretion of the employer and is varied for each degree pathway. Typical        Typical         roles for Computer Science Students: Software Engineer Test Engineer Technical Support Web Developer Financial Engineer Systems Analyst Change Analyst roles for Computing IT Students: Test Engineer Technical Support Systems Engineer Business Analyst Software Localisation Engineer Field Engineer Network Administrator Web Developer Typical        Typical      roles for Business IT Students: Web Developer Business Analyst Process Analyst Project Analyst Technical Support Software Engineer Junior Fund Accountant roles for ESE Students: Software Engineer Financial Engineer Test Engineer Technical Support Application Developer

Aims and Objectives The overall aim of the industrial placement period is to provide the student with experience in computing which complements the academic study in the University and contributes to their development as a fully educated computer scientist or information technologist. Precise objectives to achieve this aim vary from placement to placement. Ideally the students should:      Understand the operation of industrial, commercial or government service organisations and the nature and importance of the computing dimension within them. Understand the systems of communication, control and responsibility within the organisation. Understand the systems of software quality control within the organisation. Acquire experience of working with other people at all levels. Have an appreciation of the organisational and administrative principles of running a business, particularly in the areas of financial control, costing and marketing (where appropriate and possible).

Computer Science Careers & YoPE Queen’s University of Belfast
   Further develop their personal communication skills; good use of language, accurate writing and appropriate style and manner are required. Learn how they can best contribute to the organisation and develop their potential and self-management; appropriate application of initiative should be encouraged. Gain experience in carrying out computing tasks and thus acquire confidence in applying their knowledge to the solution of real problems; in keeping with this, they should be given progressively increasing responsibility.

Understandably, students on placement will engage in widely differing activities. However, the great majority of placements allow achievement of the objectives above to a greater or lesser extent. Flexibility in arranging the placement programme is an essential requirement of many employers and the University recognises this, aiming for the maximum benefit to student and employer. Exemption: Students wishing to apply for exemption from their Professional Experience Requirement should complete an exemption form before end of January during Level 2. For exemption to be considered students would be required to:  Have an equivalent of 9 months minimum relevant previous experience or personal extenuating circumstances  Complete an Exemption Application Form  Provide additional evidence and/or attend a meeting if required

The ultimate responsibility for securing a suitable placement lies with the student but the Computer Science placement team will provide assistance and/or guidance. Each student should be fully committed to obtaining a placement appropriate to the course of study being followed and the Careers and Placement Adviser must approve any such placement. Students seeking placement are asked to:  register their intention for seeking placement by providing the Placement Team with relevant personal details;  understand the aims and objectives of the course and the placement period of the course;  access their QUB student email account and the website on a regular basis to check for placement messages;  follow guidelines on how to apply for vacancies correctly;  attend all preparation of placement classes;  make whatever applications are necessary to secure a placement;  keep a record of all applications made and correspondence received from companies (letters/ email) and continually update their student profile with details of applications and interviews;  participate effectively in all subsequent placement interviews;  not refuse a placement without the permission of the Careers and Placement Adviser;  not accept multiple offers of placement  withdraw all pending applications and not attend for interview with other employers after they have formally accepted a placement offer. Failure to comply with this will result in a mark of unprofessional behaviour being recorded. Exceptional Circumstances Occasionally circumstances arise whereby:  a student is unavailable for placement; or  a student is unable to secure a placement. Students who are unavailable for placement due to personal extenuating circumstances or registered with disability services should contact the Placement Team as soon as possible and inform them of the circumstances. Students should complete the application for exemption due to personal extenuating circumstances form by end of January during Level 2. Late applications will be considered in September after Level 2. Before a student will be deemed 'unable to secure a placement' he/she will be asked to demonstrate a consistent effort throughout the year in obtaining a placement. Normally, this will be interpreted as a minimum of 20 applications to advertised positions, spread across the year. Speculative enquiries to companies not advertising placement opportunities do not form part of this. In such exceptional circumstances students may be permitted to progress directly to Level 3 subject to meeting normal progress requirements within the School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. N.B. Placement is a requirement of the degree; it is not optional. Students who have not obtained a placement and are unable to demonstrate consistent efforts in finding one (as defined above) will not be permitted directly into Level 3.

Computer Science Careers & YoPE Queen’s University of Belfast
Selection of Placement The University staff member chiefly involved is Ann Doris, Careers & Placement Adviser for Computer Science.  Although the university will seek to help students find a placement, students are ultimately responsible for arranging their own placement.  Most placements require a student to be interviewed by the prospective employer. The selection process follows normal patterns. The onus is on the student to present himself or herself as a suitable employee, albeit for a temporary post. The Careers & Placement Adviser can give advice on the application process and interview skills.  Students are encouraged to regard the acceptance of a placement as binding on the student. The normal pre-placement procedure for students is as follows:  Early in the Level 2 year students complete the online registration form on the Careers & YoPE website.  All students will be registered on the YoPE system and emails will be sent out on a regular basis to students’ QUB email account alerting them to new placement vacancies advertised on the year out web site at:  Employers can be given the opportunity to make presentations about their organisations to groups of students.  Selection of students for placement is undertaken by the employer. It is at this stage that interviews take place, either at the University or at the organisation.  Students must be prepared to devote some time and effort to this activity, though it is designed to conflict as little as possible with normal academic work.  The outline of work is planned before the placement begins through approved job advertisement/descriptions. This process is necessarily flexible to accommodate variations in the industrial experience of students, the needs of the employer, and the extent to which mutual understanding between employer and University has developed over the years.  Students may wish to develop their own business idea during placement in which case you should seek advice from the Careers & Placement Advisor.  Students are also encouraged to find their own placement. However, it is essential that any activity of this kind be reported and approved by the Careers & Placement Adviser and advice taken. o Potential pitfalls must be considered:1. The prospective employer may already be a part of the University's placement process. 2. The organisation may be unaware of the requirements and objectives of industrial placement. NO STUDENT MAY ACCEPT A PLACEMENT WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE CAREERS & PLACEMENT ADVISER.

Pre-placement briefing of students
Before the start of the placement period, a placement briefing session will be arranged between the students and the Careers & Placement Adviser. Conditions of employment and the work programme, if not previously formalised, can be discussed here. In some cases accommodation arrangements may also be included in the discussion. Requirements on the keeping of a log book and compilation of reports will be emphasised.

During Placement Year
Students are required to:  provide the Placement Team with their work email address as soon as placement commences by completing and returning both the feedback form and induction checklist at the end of week 1.  keep logbooks describing their work activities. Contains details of work assignments and examples of documentation of work in progress.  behave in a professional manner, complying with all company regulations and conditions of employment;  carry out their placement activities diligently, and at all times, behave in a manner appropriate to the work environment;  keep in contact with the Placement Team throughout the placement and keep him fully informed of any placement difficulties or problems should they arise;  inform the Placement Team of their intention to withdraw from placement;  complete the university assessments as required;  be aware, both during and after placement, of the confidential nature of any work being undertaken;  be prepared to share their experience with other students, who might be following on from them;  recognise their role as a representative of the University, being aware that the availability of future placements may depend on the impression left. Supervision of Industrial Placements Responsibility for the supervision of a student's industrial placement is shared by the employer and the University. However, the student is, for the duration of the placement, in the same position as any other employee and must behave in the manner expected of employees. THE EMPLOYER While individual organisations differ in their approach to, and organisation of, student placements, certain common features exist.

Computer Science Careers & YoPE Queen’s University of Belfast
     An individual in the organisation (Line Manager | Supervisor) will have an overall supervisory role and watching brief. In many cases, contact with the University is made through the Line Manager | Supervisor, who should be informed of proposed visits. The organisation will appoint a Line Manager who is in charge of the student's technical activity. A day-to-day supervisor will be directly responsible at any time for the student's work. In many cases the student will have several such supervisors over the year’s placement, one for each section of the organisation to which he or she is attached. The Supervisor | Line Manager should countersign the student’s logbook on a regular basis to ensure that no confidential information is disclosed. It is expected that one individual will be responsible for overall supervision of students during their placement.

IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE STUDENT TO ENSURE THAT THE LINES OF RESPONSIBILITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY ARE CLEARLY UNDERSTOOD. THE UNIVERSITY Duties of the University (Placement Monitor):  To consult with the organisation's Line Manager | Supervisor, as appropriate, about the implementation of the placement programme and its objectives.  To establish e-mail contact with each student during their placement and by this means send general information and guidance as well as request mid term and final reports. By means of these forms it is hoped that the student will receive direct feedback (appraisal) from their Line Manager.  To arrange visits to the student at work by academic staff with the purpose of monitoring placements and discussing progress with students, their Line Manager. Questions and problems, which emerge, should be resolved wherever practicable. Monitoring of the student’s logbook and advice about a final report should be part of each visit and a ‘visit report’ should be filed. In many circumstances, such as where highly effective communication has been established by e-mail, the visits may be omitted. Generally one visit will take place to students working.  To ensure that a correct assessment of the student is made at the end of the placement period.  After the placement period, the Placement Team will co-ordinate an overall assessment of the placements of all the students in that particular year. Assessment of the Industrial Placement and Training Responsibility for the assessment of placement lies with the visiting staff. Assessment is made at the commencement of the student’s Level 3 year by means of :     Mid Term and End of Term supervisor report forms. a written report which takes the form of a 2500-4000 word essay. the student’s logbook. a seminar style presentation given by the student upon return to the University after completing the placement. A poster summarizing the placement experience (template will be provided)

The student must be informed by the employer about sensitive and confidential topics that should be excluded from their report. The visiting staff will request resubmission of inadequate reports. Students may request feedback from the Placement Team on their seminar presentation style. On the conclusion of the industrial placement period, a Sub-Committee of the Board of Examiners will review all placements and endorse the assessments made by the visiting staff.  It is possible for a student to be judged unsuccessful in attempting to complete the Year of Professional Experience (perhaps through unprofessional conduct). In such cases, the Board of Examiners may decide not to permit the student to proceed into Level 3.

External recognition of industrial training
 All students who successfully complete their placement and present an acceptable portfolio will be eligible for the City and Guilds Licentiateship Award in Information Technology, application to be considered for this should be made with the Placement Monitor during the placement.

Contact Details
Ann Doris Careers & Placement Adviser (Computer Science) Careers, Employability & Skills Queen’s University Belfast Student Guidance Centre University Road Belfast BT7 1NN (t)028 90 972837/6 (e) (w)

Computer Science Careers & YoPE Queen’s University of Belfast
Seán O’Kane (09|10) Computer Science Placement Assistant Careers, Employability & Skills Queen’s University Belfast Student Guidance Centre University Road Belfast BT7 1NN (t) 028 90 972836 (e)

Year of Professional Experience Timetable

Computer Science Careers & YoPE Queen’s University of Belfast



Level 2 At the start of the students' level 2 academic year, students are given an initial briefing about the scheme, and they provide profile data to the placement team by completing the online registration form. Students are informed of the year out web site at: and are encouraged to access this on a regular basis for the latest placement opportunities The placement team makes available information on placement opportunities and encourages students to apply to suitable potential employers; the placement team will try to work in the way which best accommodates the employer, perhaps by distributing blank applications forms and sending them back as a group when they have been completed by students, or perhaps by forwarding "Standard Application Forms" and CVs from students wishing to apply to that employer. BSc/BEng Computer Science, BSc Business Information Technology, MEng Computer Science and BSc Computing & Information Technology students will have placement preparation built into the Professional Practice Module during Semester 1 Students are encouraged to attend the YOPE Preparation Programme during Semester 1 Employer presentations will be held on/close to campus and students are encouraged to attend these



  

Administration, Finance and Management Careers Fair: Whitla Hall (11am-3pm)

Employers will be recruiting placement students

Employers will be recruiting placement students

Science, Engineering and IT Careers Fair: Whitla Hall (11am-3pm)

 Deadline for Application for Exemption on the grounds of previous experience / personal extenuating circumstances         

January Easter May

Level 2 students take exams for first semester modules.
Most level 2 students should have placements organised General briefing to all students going out on placement General briefing to all students still seeking placement ATTENDANCE IS COMPULSORY!

May/June June onwards

Students take exams for second semester modules
Placements generally commence during this period Students still seeking placement should continue to make applications over the summer period liasing closely with the placement team and checking email/year out web site regularly Meeting to discuss progression to Level 3 on grounds of applications made, personal extenuating circumstances or late exemption applications will take place after supplementary exam board YoPE Employer completes and returns Midterm Report Employer completes and returns Final Report Placements generally end during this period Level 3 Student returns to level 3 of University studies Students give presentations relating to their placement year and submit placement reports, logs & posters during week 1 & 2 All City & Guild Application forms must be completed Payment for City & Guilds is required Awards Ceremony for LCGI takes place Final degree graduation ceremony (YoPE in Degree Transcript & Certificate)

Mid September

January May May-September

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September October

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December March July

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