Rebecca is a recent addition to NCR Edinburgh, working with the social media team as an intern for the next 3 months. Content creation and editing are the main areas of work, with the aim of creating engrossing and informative pieces for NCR Edinburgh. An Edinburgh native with an honours degree in Digital Media from Napier University, whose Merchiston campus is only a mile and a half from the office. She has worked in retail for a number of years, initially to help fund an expedition to Peru with World Challenge and then throughout university, where an interest in digital media was kindled. A deep interest in the digital world at large and media creation in particular means that this internship is placed in an excellent “best of both” worlds in terms of software engineering and the real world application thereof. There is always something more to learn and a company like NCR is the place to do so.
As this third month draws to a close, I feel like I have finally gotten a handle on both what I’m aiming for and how I go about completing it. Not to say that I didn’t know what I was doing before but there is a difference between doing something and confidently accomplishing your aim. By this point there isn’t much that surprises me in terms of how the office runs, what does catch me off guard occasionally is the quality of coffee. No instant around here, ground beans in actual espresso machines is the preferred method (a variety of teas and fruit juices are available too). Nothing quite beats walking into the office out of the cold, getting a cup of coffee and saying hello to whoever is about. The trips down to the coffee machine and back up the stairs remain an excellent source of exercise.
The atmosphere remains the same as always, if a bit more tense in the run up to the holidays. To counterbalance that there is winter CodeFest and the Christmas dinner to look forward to. The Christmas dinner here is similar to that of other places I’ve worked in that dinner, a venue and music are all set up for the employees. This will be the first time that I’ll attend one that takes place in office space though. The dinner’s start marks the true end of winter Code Fest, after all the presentations are done and awards given out.
CodeFest is an interesting thing, I’ve not seen other companies run anything similar internally. Hackathons are the closest thing to it that I’ve known and they’re typically set up by outside sources, this is all in house. The ostensible aim of CodeFest is to solve problems or improve the day-to-day life in the office. In achieving this aim there are a mix of the absurd and impractical and fun and genuinely great ideas suggested over the course of a few weeks in the run up to the main event. These ideas are whittled down to the actually actionable and teams are assigned to each idea. From there they attempt to action the idea, usually but not always using a mix of hardware and software knowledge. This main event takes place over two days culminating in a presentation from each group of what they've managed to create and awards are then given out to the best team. Much fun is had, caffeine consumed and celebrations celebrated whether or not the project was successful (perhaps in spite of). I’ll be a part of the Media Team covering the goings on and shenanigans that will inevitably take place. Which is fairly similar to my day to day work, although more condensed and with a team. Keep an eye on twitter, youtube and the website for updates as to the happenings.
This has been less of a retrospective and more of a things that are going to happen that I have no doubt I will enjoy. Getting back to the retrospective theme (sorry for the digression), I have learned a tremendous amount in my time here. I reckon I’ve said that before however as this is my last retrospective I think it deserves repeating. I’ve learned about general office environments (even if this is a more unique one), to agile development to my own animation and video creation techniques. As a result of this and the wonderful people interviewed the video I created is something I’m quite proud of, it’s the first piece of serious work that I’ve created since graduating.
Thank you people of NCR Edinburgh. You are excellent.
It’s all feeling quite odd, after two months here it simultaneously feels as though it has been longer and not nearly that long. Once settled into the job, it all becomes routine almost without notice. I say almost because it’s taken until just recently (literally yesterday) to notice that there is a coffee machine on the first floor and that going down the three flights of stairs to the ground floor was unnecessary. The trips down and then back up the stairs have been a good source of exercise though.
There are bits and pieces that keep surprising me or otherwise catching me off guard. The relaxed atmosphere of the place is something that I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of. It’s a real breath of fresh air, especially after working somewhere with strict time regulations previously. People are trusted to come in and work without overbearing oversight. Which creates a much more relaxing commute if there’s an issue on the roads. As it is, it works well and is an example of how the people here both are trusted and how they maintain that trust. It is an excellent reflection on all the people here that there is such a practise in place and that it seems to be working well.
Games night seems to be another success of NCR Edinburgh. It is enormous fun, in my spare time I enjoy playing video games so this night was always going to get my approval. There were also board games set up and played as an alternative to the electronic sort. The name is a bit of a misnomer though, as it is also a time for hanging out and chatting if you don’t wish to play a game. There was drinks, pizza and nibbles set out too, adding to an already highly enjoyable evening.
Speaking of unlikely things, for being someone who finds watching and talking about football boring, the football club that runs every Wednesday has been tremendous fun. My own skills hover just above non-existent (although I do feel like I am improving), however there is a sense of camaraderie that creates the sort of atmosphere that encourages you to want to play and to want to improve. It is about playing a fun sport with co-workers, nothing more or nothing less.
When not attending one event or another I'm to be found working on a video or image of some sort. The work I’m doing continues in the same vein as when I started, although I’d like to think I’ve improved my technique and approach since then. The opportunity to be creative and simultaneously produce a useful image, video or animation in a professional capacity is not something I think I’ve actually managed to reconcile with reality. I catch myself smiling broadly sometimes and I’m fairly sure it’s because I get to use what I learned from my degree. Admittedly it might also be the coffee and cake available on a nigh constant basis.
Of all the parts that make up this particular place, the part I’ll miss the most after the internship is finished is not a thing or a practise but the people. Who are excellent.
It has been just over a month since I first started at NCR Edinburgh but it feels like I've been here longer. A thoroughly enjoyable and informative time it has been too. From the social nights and events (that are as consistently entertaining as they are numerous), to the day to day that is so very different to anywhere else that I've worked. The relaxed uniform code (read: nigh nonexistent) was the initial indicator, reinforced by the abundance of people looking generally happy on a Monday morning. Although that might have been the breakfast rolls that appear as if by magic in the pagoda (debates rage on the name, it is between pagoda and borozdome).
The work I'm doing is very different to anything I've done before, actually getting to use my degree is definitely a bonus too. Currently I am attached to the Promotion Suite team (not that I am doing anything similar to their own work but they've been very welcoming nonetheless) and mostly working with the Social Media team. Otherwise known now as the Bear Necessities team, which is a mixture of recruitment, events and social media. There is a theme of bears around the office that I can’t quite work out the source of. In addition I’ve been doing bits and pieces for other teams, from the very silly and enjoyable (see anything codefest related) to the more useful Software Development Life Cycle animation (it’s a little graphic that helps to explain what the SDLC is).
A negative, such as it is, would be the adjustment time that it takes to get used to the style of working prevalent here. It seems almost counter-productive to take a half an hour or so out of everyday just for a scrum, yet I can now (and will enthusiastically) attest to it's usefulness. It’s a little stand- up meeting where everyone explains what they did the preceding day and what they plan on doing that day. It keeps everyone on the same page, on track to accomplish goals, meet deadlines, etc. etc. Once past that adjustment period, which is helped along by the friendly people that populate the office, it's smooth sailing.
Unless the coffee runs out. Then it’s time to break out the cake.