Philip Sewell

Philip Sewell

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

I work for Cognito Ltd who specialise in providing mobile workforce management solutions to customers that operate in the field. For example, if your boiler breaks and someone comes to fix it, it is likely that they will be operating with a handheld device which tracks their movements - Cognito provide a solution, which allows a company to manage their workforce by providing statistics about their workers and scheduling jobs in the most effective manner.

What is your role within the company?

I am a member of the Middleware team within Cognito - we are the heart of the company in the sense that we support and maintain the majority of the code base and databases which make up the entire back-end system. Our code is what processes inputs and produces valuable data for our clients. I have many roles in the team, which include supporting the rest of our other teams and investigating various issues in and around the Middleware platform. I provide data/bug fixes when required but also develop new features that are valuable to Cognito and to its customers.

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

Cognito strongly follow an agile way of working, and so my typical day always starts with a daily stand up meeting (and a cup of tea!) in which everyone in the team take it in turns to discuss what they did the previous day and the plan for the current day. Next, I usually continue my work on a ticket/issue (usually some form of data/bug fix or investigation into an issue). However, due to the nature of Middleware I often find myself doing other things - this could be providing support for another member, or fixing previous issues that have bounced back to me (failed review/test)! I also have frequent meetings, topics can range from catch-up sessions to tutorials.

What are you enjoying the most and are you involved in any interesting projects? 

What I enjoy the most about working for Cognito is that I feel valued here - when you are assigned a task to complete you are working on real things that will be implemented and help the business achieve objectives. It is a really nice feeling when you can put your name on something that a customer is using.

I am actively involved in all things middleware and am learning new skills every day. For example, I have learnt the Ruby programming language and have been part of many test automation projects using a framework called Cucumber. The best project, however, was being part of extensively extending our middleware to allow our customers greater flexibility - this involved learning about and working on our front facing RESTful API services; something which I have always wanted to gain knowledge about.

Why did you want to undertake a year in industry?

I have always been motivated to undertake a year in industry because I wanted to take all of the skills and knowledge gained from my degree and put them into practice. In the computing/technology industry the market is ever expanding, and the competitiveness for technical roles is increasing all the time. I felt that taking a year out to get a years experience under my belt will help me gain a competitive edge once I graduate. I will leave university knowing what to expect, and my career goals will be well on their way to being achieved.

What are you hoping to get out of this experience? 

I would like to learn about the different career paths that I could possibly do and find out more about the definitive career that I want to take, I want to be sure that working in Middleware is something that I want to do when I graduate. Undertaking this year in industry will provide me with a wealth of knowledge and new skills that you simply can't learn from university alone. I also hope to create as many friends and connections as I can - communication is key for the future.

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

Make sure you prepare in advance, as the more time you have before a deadline the less panicked you will be. I have found that the more practice you get (whether it be assessment days or tests) the more relaxed and confident you will feel. Don't be afraid to ask any questions that you may have.

Also, be sure to use the fantastic employability facilities that the university has to offer. The employability team provide an excellent service in all things employability related, whether it be CV checking, mock interviews or any general queries you might have - I should know, I worked there once!