The University of Southampton

Matthew Abbott MPhys Physics with Mathematics 2016

Deimos Space UK

During Matthew's exciting placement at Deimos Space UK he researched methods of tracking rockets through the initial period of their launch and created a program to calculate the probability of the launch causing a casualty.

Doing a placement was one of the best experience I have ever had. I met some great people, did some really interesting and stimulating work as well as develop skills that will be of use to me in the future

How would you describe a typical day?
Busy! Arrive at work before 9 and check emails, then get ready for the tasks that I aim to complete in that day. These tasks could vary, sometimes I would be researching current methods of tracking rockets, following information trails and finding out useful pieces of information for the project. Other times I would be working on code to produce useful pieces of information such as graphs of useful data or to create KML code to show the information on Google Earth structures.

At 12 we would go for lunch. This would usually be with 5/6 people from the company and we would talk about how we were all doing both work and socially. As the Olympics was on during my placement this was a common discussion point. Then go back to the office and continue to work, usually on what I was working on during the morning. At the end of the work day (around 1730) I would write a brief diary on how I felt I had performed on each day and how I would attempt to work in the following days. In the evenings I would usually go swimming in the local pool, or occasionally go to the pub with other employees.

Why did you decide to do a placement?
I wanted to gain experience in working in a real world environment in a company doing a job in which I was doing something productive. I also wanted to make some connections with people in the space industry and find out whether this was something I could see myself working in at some point in the future.

Would you recommend doing a placement?
Absolutely. It was one of the best experience I have ever had. I met some great people, did some really interesting and stimulating work as well as developing skills that will be of use to me in the future. It’s a really good way to connect with people in industry who want to help you develop as a person and gain confidence in a new field.

How do you think doing a placement has benefited you for the future?
It has given me experience and knowledge of how life works in a real life environment. It has also given me a clearer idea of the sort of company and field of work that I would like to go into in the future. The real benefit I felt I gained from my placement was working in a real world environment. Being in an office is very different to being in a lecture or a lab session and having this experience has made me feel much more confident about going into the jobs market.

Do you have any plans for the future?  If you do, what are your next steps?
I don’t currently have any plans on exactly where I want to be in the future, but I do now know that I would like to work in a medium sized company in the space industry. My main next steps are to work hard in my degree to get as good a degree as possible and start looking for jobs in the graduate jobs market during the final year of my course.

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