Matthew has just completed a Summer placement with Kainos as part of our scholarship programme and would love to tell you about it!

So a bit of background, I’m a first year student in Queen’s University Belfast studying computer science. Like many other students I’m always looking for opportunities to progress. In October last year, I noticed a Kainos stand in Queen’s with bright colours and smiling faces all around. I was immediately intrigued, so I had a look. I was welcomed by a friendly woman who told me about the values Kainos share to help aspiring students to succeed. This led me to applying for the scholarship and thankfully getting it.

Kainos Culture

I have worked in office environments before. Those environments where there is a pretty dull standard dress code and working lifestyle. That’s all I knew.

When I joined Kainos I was pleasantly surprised as I learnt and adapted to what I call the “Kainos culture”. A place where the people are friendly, approachable, share an ambition to achieve more and can eat coco pops while working at their desk! I have seen how this working lifestyle boosts productivity and helps employees achieve the highest possible standard they can. It makes Kainos a very special place to work.

Applied Innovation is a research and development team within Kainos that investigates emerging tech and finds there business value. This was my home for the past 8 weeks.

In Applied Innovation, I’ve got to work with lots of cutting-edge tech like VR headsets and eye tracking devices, attend conferences, doing presentations and work with some of the fantastic projects built here in Applied Innovation like this computer vision project, along with so much more. My personal favourite is the VR hazard perception test, it’s really cool.

Project

My main focus has been working on a project called the Innovation Catalogue. A place where employees can find out all about Kainos Innovation. Its primary use is to be a tool for the sales team, driving innovation to help Kainos achieve more.

Back in June when I joined the team, the aim for the project was to build a portal for the sales team to learn about the tech we use, projects and easily run demos. The main problems were finding the best platform to build the site on, hosting demos and keeping the site future proof.

Site design was a key focus, we had to find a balance between:

  • friendly and usable UI
  • valuable content
  • maintainability

After testing various solutions, Microsoft’s SharePoint was deemed the best solution. It was SSO enabled with the company email, mobile friendly and easily maintainable.

The most technical aspect of the project was deploying the demos made in Applied Innovation to a hosting platform. I learnt a lot about cloud computing in solving this problem. Some of the demos are built with machine learning techniques with large data sets, API’s and 1000s of lines of code. I had to gather an understanding of these demos and manipulate them to be easy for anyone, with technical or non-technical backgrounds to use. Once deployed, they can be run from the site with just a single click.

Experience

In university, I feel there isn’t enough focus on understanding the process of building a product with an end user in mind.

Here’s a few points I’ve learnt through industry experience with Kainos that I didn’t at university:

  • correctly approaching a project
  • building a product from the ground up
  • key thinking behind finding a solution to a problem
  • finding value in features and decisions
  • product iteration with client feedback

Having this experience will vastly improve my university projects and also projects I tackle with Kainos in the future.


I worked with a team on the project but was granted a lot of ownership in solving these problems I discussed. So if you are just joining Kainos be confident in putting your ideas forward, it is very much welcomed.

I’d highly recommend working at Kainos to students. There is so much opportunity and ambition. Kainos provides great mentorship to help you reach your full potential and you will be more than welcomed in as part of the Kainos family.

I’d like to give a massive thank you to the Applied Innovation team, everyone I’ve worked with and to Kainos as well! I have learnt a lot and really enjoyed my time here. I look forward to coming back on placement.

Find out more about upcoming roles and vacancies for students and for scholarship opportunities here.