Three reasons to do a year in industry – A tale by Kieren Kershaw (stage 3 student)

Kieren finished his placement at Accenture, one of the world’s largest technology consulting & professional services firms in July 2018.

He says, “There’s no denying it was tough at times, but the experience was fantastic and something I’m incredibly grateful and lucky to have had. With that in mind I’d like to pass on my Top 3 Reasons for doing a Year in Industry.

1. You learn a tonne
There’s no doubt that if you go on placement, you will learn A LOT. What you learn will completely depend on the industry you go into but there is no doubt that entering the world of work for a year teaches you plenty.
In my year, I learnt a lot of management skills not only in terms of the planning of a big project but also in managing people. A large part of my role involved coordinating technical teams on quite delicate deployments of live infrastructure and while it was challenging, it’s a skill I’ll hopefully retain and be able to develop continuously over time. All of these things are incredibly useful going forwards and not only did I learn the tangible skills but I also gained a better understanding of how I learn best and how to motivate myself to do more.

A friend and colleague of mine, also on placement at Accenture from Kent was kind enough to give me the following quote:
“…The year in industry is quite literally a once in a lifetime opportunity to be in the unique position of both a student with minimal responsibilities, and at the same time, a fully responsible adult in the working world. This dynamic created the fertile grounds that enabled me to mature into a responsible adult, whilst also serving as the “training grounds” whereby any mistakes made, no matter how big (within reason), would not be fatal to my career. Such a dynamic is tremendously unique, and I was fortunate to have been able to capitalise on it while I had it. As a result of that year, I’ve developed clarity on my future. I understand what I like and don’t like. My confidence has skyrocketed, because I now understand that I am capable of much more than I thought. And it has given me the critically important experience to be able to hit the ground running after I graduate. 10/10 would do again.” – Matthew Mukalere, Final Year Undergraduate

2. You find out what you like to do
If you’re anything like I was in my first year, you chose Computer Science knowing that you enjoyed programming and that was it. CompSci is incredibly broad and as a result there’s a massive range of careers and roles you can do and this is great for having loads of choice but terrible if you’re unsure of exactly what you want.

This is where a YII is fantastic as it gives you a chance to trial out a particular industry (and hopefully lots of roles within it) and get a sense for; 1. What you’re good at and 2. What you like doing.

“Your job is to find something you’re good at, and after ten thousand hours of practice, get great at it. The emotional and economic rewards that accompany being great at something will make you passionate about whatever “it” is.” – Scott Galloway, Marketing Professor at NYU Stern, Public Speaker and Entrepreneur (

3. It makes you WAY more employable
This is the obvious one, especially given that the topic of this blog is employability but there’s no two ways about it; University is nothing like the “real” world and employers know that. A placement year serves as proof that you are employable because you held down a job for a year. On top of this, you will have picked up the classic transferrable skills such as teamworking, self-motivation, time management and you’ll have the professional references to back this up.

It’s also possible that off the back of a successful placement year, your employer may offer you a full-time graduate position which if you enjoyed your time there, means you don’t have to go through the trouble of final year job-hunting.

At the end of the day, whether you do a Year in Industry or not is entirely up to you but hopefully this short read has given you an idea of why you should. If you have any questions, be sure to drop by the placement office or email”