From the classroom to the office... close

Agnieszka Oslak
Agnieszka Oslak
In Codegent News, Codegent College
16th December 2010
From the classroom to the office...

What kind of skills do school leavers really need in order to be successful in today’s job market? Is it a good degree, real work experience or both? Now that university fees are about to soar I wonder what the value of a degree is and what kind of skills graduates like me really need in today’s rapidly evolving job market.

I am currently doing my internship with Codegent. Even though I am educated to a university degree standard and I specialised in marketing, I do feel like I am taking “baby steps”. Undeniably the course that I completed gave me a strong starting point. It shaped my point of view and gave me a valuable understanding of the industry. Leaving university with a good degree made me feel very optimistic about my future career - as all students do at that point. After graduation some went travelling, some started working in unrelated jobs and some started their marketing career straightaway. I did not go travelling and did not start my marketing career but worked in the hospitality industry instead. I have learnt a great deal about customer service but this has stalled my marketing career. Eventually three years after graduation I started searching for a marketing role. As you can imagine it was a challenging experience as I lack the relevant experience and in some respects my degree already appears to be obsolete. During the three years since my graduation things have changed due to the rapid development of technology – at the current rate of change I believe that even one year away from the industry would make you feel out-of-touch.

Looking back I regret that my studies were not supported by relevant work experience. A work placement or internship is as valuable as the university course itself. It would have definitely helped me to kick start my career with more confidence and provided me with some valuable skills and tools. Work experience is evidence of your practical capabilities whereas a degree shows your understanding of the theory. The theory and the practical experience complement one another and appear to be the most advantageous way of getting prepared for the real work environment.

My internship with Codegent started over a month ago and I have enjoyed every day so far and have learnt a lot. There is always something new and interesting to learn about or to research. Codegent is known for the great websites they produce such as Tepilo, The Hoxton Hotel and Searcys to name just a few, but they also work across so many other areas of digital including: Mobile Apps, SEO, SMO, viral marketing campaigns etc. I am always happy to get myself involved and help as much as I can. In my eyes the best way to learn is to get involved, listen, make mistakes and learn from constructive criticism. This is how I have approached my internship and I do believe that my attitude is typical of most interns out there who are looking for that first opportunity. Had I not have been given an internship or postponed my job search for a bit longer I would have probably never experienced what it is like to work in marketing and my marketing degree would have been in vain.

During my search I have noticed that some companies are reluctant to recruit interns as they do not see the benefits. Here at Codegent they believe that “the mighty oaks from the little acorn grow” and really value the benefits of running an internship programme. From their perspective interns provide an opportunity to nurture new talent and learn from them.

Have you had experience of running internships? Or have you been an intern yourself? It would be great to hear about your experiences.