Boris Benchev, BSc Computer Science at the University of Leeds

Boris Mihaylov Benchev

What is the name of the company you work for and what do they do?

I am currently working in the BBC, who are the largest public British broadcaster.

What is your role within the company?

My role is a Trainee Web Developer for digital news. I am currently in the Politics team.

Can you please give me an insight into a typical day?

We are flexible with working hours, you can get in the office anytime between 8 and10am, and then leave correspondingly between 4 and 6pm with one hour break for lunch. We have stand-up meetings with the team every morning as part of standard Agile methodologies for software development. During the day I am mainly involved with solving different problems for the current project. Occasionally, we have meetings such as Retro ( to discuss the previous iteration of development called Sprint, which typically lasts two weeks. We analyse mistakes and areas for improvement for the next one). We also have Sprint planning meetings and meetings to discuss technical requirements and approaches.

What have you enjoyed the most and did you get involved in any interesting projects?

So far I have only been involved in one big project – US Election 2016. I was really excited about it. Me and my team developed the results page for US elections as well as a results page for each of the states. On the election night we had more than 30 million unique clients coming to it. It was an achievement that I am really proud of and it helped me understand how modern technologies work and what are the current trends in industry.

Why did you want to undertake a year in industry?

I wanted to get an year in industry because I believe it is really beneficial for personal career development, as you get to experience and apply knowledge that you get in university in real-world scenarios. I also found out that a student can understand the material much better if they’ve actually seen it in practice and how leading companies apply these principles and knowledge. Apart from that, you expand your professional network, which is also really important for my future career.

What did you get out of this experience? 

I have learned an awful lot about software structure, good practices and coding skills for my chosen career path. Apart from that, I have also greatly improved my confidence and communication skills while practicing them in the professional environment. It is also a very good fun for me, as we organise social events sometimes and do team lunches and etc. The BBC also run an academy for its employees, and it offers huge amount of courses in all professional areas that the BBC is involved with. These courses are usually very expensive for the public, but we get it for free as employees. I have learned a lot from those.

Do you have any tips and advice to current students thinking of undertaking a year in industry?

I encourage everyone to go for a placement year. It greatly enriches you as an individual in every aspect, not just professional skills connected with your area of study. You appreciate the course material much more after you’ve seen it working in industry. I just can’t stress enough how important that is. Start applying to as many places as you can from October and November, and do as many interviews as possible because that enriches your experience and gives you more confidence. Also make sure that you also ask companies questions so you know that they are a good fit for you as well as that you are a good fit for them.