Meet Kareem Mahl, third year Software Engineering student and read on to find out about his placement with Awareness Software Limited.

Kareem Mahl in the SEE building computing rooms

What inspired you to choose this field of study?

I was drawn to software engineering by my passion for problem-solving and my interest in creating innovative solutions – qualities I’ve possessed since childhood. The potential to make a meaningful impact on the world through software development was a major source of inspiration for me.

Can you tell us about your university experience?

I attend several lectures, participate in group discussions and hands-on coding sessions, working on assignments in the university’s modern facilities, and networking with fellow students. The course is structured so I am able to balance theoretical learning with practical application, ensuring a well-rounded educational experience. I can say that my days are both challenging and enjoyable at the same time.

Can you tell us your favourite thing about the course?

My favourite aspect of the course is the emphasis on practical learning, where we have the opportunity to work on real projects and develop software applications that prepare us for the real-world industry.

Where did you do your placement?

I completed my placement last year at Awareness Software Limited, which is known for its robust IT infrastructure and customer service excellence. I was able to apply my classroom knowledge in a real-world setting, gained hands-on experience, and expanded my professional network.

Can you tell us about your placement? What was your role and what did you work on?

I was part of the IT Tier 1 Support team. My responsibilities included addressing client software issues, troubleshooting hardware problems, and providing general technical support. I was adept at guiding clients through technical challenges, often remotely, and maintained detailed records of all issues and resolutions.

Additionally, I managed user accounts and permissions, educated clients on system maintenance, and contributed to internal knowledge resources to streamline support processes.

Did you have any prior experience before starting your course/placement? 

Before starting my course and the placement, I had some basic knowledge of computer systems and troubleshooting from personal interest and self-study. However, the hands-on experience gained during my academic course and this placement has been my first formal experience in the IT field.

Did the University of Salford help you secure your recent placement in any way? 

The University of Salford’s career services played a pivotal role in securing my placement. They provided resources for resume building, interview preparation, and frequently posted available placement opportunities, including the one at Awareness Software Limited.

‘My favourite moment has to be when a particularly complex issue that had affected a client’s operations was resolved through a creative solution I proposed’

Kareem Mahl, Software Engineering student
Kareem and classmates in the SEE building in front of a computer

What new skills have you developed and what have you achieved so far? 

I’ve developed a robust set of technical skills with a focus on software troubleshooting and customer support, while also significantly enhancing my soft skills, including communication, time management, and the ability to problem-solve effectively under pressure.

What was the most difficult challenge? How did you overcome it? 

The most difficult challenge was adapting to the fast-paced and diverse range of IT issues that clients presented. To overcome this, I took the initiative to study our knowledge base extensively in my own time and sought mentorship from senior colleagues, which allowed me to rapidly improve my troubleshooting skills.

What has been your favourite moment of the overall experience? 

My favourite moment has to be when a particularly complex issue that had affected a client’s operations was resolved through a creative solution I proposed. It was rewarding to see immediate positive feedback from the client and recognition from my team.

What do you believe are the benefits of a placement? 

A placement provides invaluable real-world experience that complements academic learning. It offers a chance to apply theoretical knowledge to practical scenarios, understand workplace dynamics, and build a network of professional contacts. It also helps in gaining a clearer perspective of one’s career direction and increasing employability post-graduation.

What advice would you give to future students who might be interested in taking a placement? 

My advice would be to start looking for placements early and be proactive about applying. Don’t hesitate to seek help from university services and utilize their resources. During the placement, be eager to learn, ask questions, and take on challenges.

Most importantly, make sure to reflect on your experiences and think about how they align with your future career goals.