My name is Christos Efstathiou and I have just finished my placement year at NAG and will soon be going back to finish my Computer Science degree at the University of Birmingham. It has been a very educational year and I feel I have gained a lot of useful skills as a Junior Software Engineer.
I have worked on a wide variety of projects with different types of systems and languages. Not only were there simple tasks, such as testing a particular build of the NAG Fortran Compiler but there were also more challenging assignments, like adding a new solver to the NAG Library. During the year, I was also lucky enough to be part of two teams, Product Engineering and Numerical Software later on. This allowed me to improve my abilities even further, by experiencing more and different kinds of projects.
Working at NAG was an astonishing experience, everyone was always ready to help each other, even if the problem might have been small or trivial. I still remember my first task: I was tasked to complete a script, which would automatically run all the tests of the NAG Toolbox for MATLAB and show the results at the end. It was a fun project; I also managed to make it work on all three platforms (Windows, Linux and Mac). Additionally, I learnt the importance of testing and automation and how useful they can be if they are implemented correctly. My favourite assignment though was creating a GitHub page to promote the NAG Library for Java. It was the first project that I was in charge of and I really liked working on it and trying to perfect it.
From the start of my placement, I was working from home due to the restrictions for COVID-19. NAG was kind enough to allow me to work from my home country, Cyprus, which I really appreciated. Moreover, this action proves how thoughtful and considerate NAG is towards its employees. Throughout my placement, there wasn't a moment where I had a problem or issue that couldn't be resolved.
I learnt a lot of useful skills during the year, but the best skill is, without a doubt, learning how to use the Linux system. I always thought that Linux, mostly its command line, was very complicated, so instinctively I was afraid to even try to learn it. I was very wrong. Learning about Linux was fun and easy, especially through projects, which included Bash scripts. Other abilities that I acquired were new programming languages, like Fortran and MATLAB. I also practised my knowledge of Java, Python and C. Finally, I should not forget the core skills, such as improving my communication with other people.
To sum up, I am sure all the skills and experience I gained from NAG will definitely be unbelievably beneficial in my future. Therefore, I recommend NAG to anyone who is looking for a job to help them grow but is also a lovely place to work for.