Welcome Spring!

Hello everyone,

Another month has gone by so time for another update! March has been busy – both with work and a some travelling. I think I can safely say that I have finally settled in my new role, even though the focus has somewhat shifted.

I began the month doing UI development – something I have always wanted to get my hands on. It has been a challenge since I was using Angular.JS – something I have never used before to do the work. I am pleasantly surprised with the framework – it simplifies lots of complex things that would normally take lots of time to code and it enforces good coding practices – the old high cohesion and low coupling principles – which if you chose to follow will ensure you have as little code repetition as possible. Angular.JS introduces directives – your own custom tags that help simplify your HTML by hiding all the nasty angular stuff. I would definitely recommend having a look at this framework if you find some free time on your hands, I’ve used it mainly for creating the initial design for a web – based application which will be used in testing.

I have been extremely lucky in my job as I have had a lot of freedom in creating the designs – something which is very rarely done when working for clients. I hope I will be able to use what I have learned in doing some work on my third year project next year back at Uni.

Speaking of third year projects the time has come for us Industrial Placement students and second year students to pick a project or propose our own. So far I have decided that I will make my own proposal and I am in the process of chasing up potential supervisors and doing the research. My third year project is not something I have just started to think about – I have been brainstorming ideas for a few months now because I really wanted to choose something which I would find interesting and exciting.

There are other things that need to be taken into consideration though – like is the project doable in the time that we have. Is the project too simple or too complex? I am currently trying to find a project that will answer all of these questions. I would like to research something completely new but also apply what I have learned during my placement year.

Aside from worries over my third year project I have enjoyed work. The focus has shifted from front end development to back-end  application. It has been both challenging and fascinating. Luckily for me the main language used is java but unfortunately for me with spring integration. And Spring is something I have never really used. It has taken me some time to get up to speed but I feel much more confident in my knowledge in Spring and how powerful the concept of dependency injection could be. But don’t get me wrong Spring introduces a whole new set of errors which are an extraordinary combination of uselessness and vagueness that could drive you insane. I am glad I have the chance to use NoSQL databases – MongoDB which is somewhat different from the usual relational model I have been used to.

Outside of work I am really happy that I have had the time to visit Berlin again. Such a wonderful city – astonishing architecture, amazing nightlife and delicious food. If you found yourself there make sure you try the famous Currywurst while enjoying the view of Branderburger Tor. However, one of the things I was most excited about was the replica of MacLaren’s Pub from How I Met Your Mother. The place is amazing not only because it looks exactly like the pub we are used to seeing in the TV series but also because it is filled with artifacts from the show like the yellow umbrella, the blue french horn and Ted and Marshall’s swords. You can also enjoy the famous Robin Scherbatsky cocktail it is delicious! If I ever go to Berlin again I would definitely visit this pub again!



(The blue French horn OMG!!!!!!!!)



(“On Monday I’m going to have to tell my kindergarten class, who I tell not to run with scissors, how my fiancé ran me through with a broadsword” – Lily Aldrin 😀 )

I have also managed to go to Newcastle for a weekend and I was surprised at how beautiful the town is. Newcastle is not very big but it is full with life and you will find gorgeous buildings everywhere. For all the bridge lovers out there you can enjoy a collections of amazing bridges. I can write a handful of articles just about Newcastle but now I am going to leave you with this awesome picture.



(Newcastle’s famous High Level Bridge)

I wish you all great holidays – make sure you have some time to relax – you have earned it! 🙂

And eat lots of food!!!!


(Some tasty Berlin style brunch 🙂 )

See you next month!


What’s new!

February had gone by so quickly and before I knew it March arrived.Time really flies. There has been quite a lot going on this past month. A lot has changed on my placement as well.But First I would like to share this amazing pictures of M&M heaven.


(That is a lot of sweets!)

I have recently changed projects and my role is quite different now, which I like very much. It’s a mixture of everything. I mainly work on front end development but I occasionally help out with the back end application as well. Web development used to be something I never thought I would want to do but it has turned out to be quite interesting. There is definitely a lot more than what meets the eye!

My new role has given me the opportunity to see how to build end-to-end applications and how important it is to have skills in lots of other areas which at first do not look directly related to web development. I am so happy to see where all the concepts we learned in university about memory management, concurrent programming and even how the operating system’s scheduler all play an important role when designing good applications. I have started learning new frameworks as well, like AngularJS, for example. It lets you extend the HTML vocabulary and helps you create not only fast and responsive applications but also makes the code much readable and simplifies testing. If you have some spare time I would suggested looking into it. If it catches your eye and you would want to learn more you are in luck because codeschool has a free course, which will let you develop an application while learning the fundamental concepts.


Since my tutor visit from University is approaching I hope that I have managed to do a good job in the company so far and that my feedback will also be positive. Fingers crossed! 🙂

Outside of work London has been pretty much the same. And by that I mean there is always new and exciting things to discover. Recently I had the chance to visit the Hampton Court Palace – where Henry VIII has lived during his reign. The palace is truly magnificent and worth seeing. The tour is good and the audio guide helps you learn about the palace’s history in a unique and fun way – your tour guide is Thomas, playing the part of one of Henry VIII’s closest aides. And, if you are really lucky, you might catch a glimpse of the king himself or perhaps cardinal Wolsey! Even more stunning than the castle though, are the gardens! I am definitely coming back during spring time to see everything blooming and waking up to life!


(Like a postcard 🙂 )



(Hampton Court Palace – one of the many palaces of King Henry VIII 🙂 )

As luck would have it I even found myself in Manchester for a bit – visiting some friends. I could not help but go and see the renovated Whitworth Art Gallery and I was truly amazed. Contemporary art is usually not my cup of tea but to my surprise I loved the exhibitions. One of my favourite parts would be the war room, which walls and ceiling were covered by blood red sheets – leftovers from the factory that makes the poppies every autumn for remembrance day. It is truly amazing how beautiful and creative it is. I think what I love the most is that whilst in the gallery you feel like you are taking a stroll through Whitworth park itself. The park feels like it’s part of the gallery – showing that nature is life’s most breathtaking expression of art.

I just could not help but share a picture I took during my visit. If you have some free time or you want to take a break from all the studying – I would definitely recommend visiting it. I will definitely do it again!


(The War Room – covered in stunning blood red sheets)

Finally, I would like to wish you all “Chestita Baba Marta!”. In the beginning of March in my home country we celebrate Baba Marta or Granny March – a mythical woman who brings with her the spring and marks the end of the cold winter. Her holiday is celebrated by exchanging martenitsi – a small piece of adornment made by interweaving red and white yarn. It is also given as a token of good health and one usually wears martenitsi until the end of March or until a stork or a budding tree is seen. So lets welcome the spring and “Chestita Baba Marta!” everyone!



(A simple Martenitsa)

Welcome back

January has gone by so quickly that I am still having trouble believing it’s already February. It’s made me realise that I need to start thinking about my summer – other than laying on the beach or hiking that is! I really wanted to use this summer as an opportunity to do something productive for a month or two, so I have started my hunt for a summer internship, and I’ve come to realize it is not going to be an easy task.

The main reason for this is because I would like to do my internship in either Germany, Austria or Switzerland – in the hopes of practising some, of probably by now long forgotten, German. On top of that, I feel like doing an internship abroad will really help me develop my skills and it’s the perfect time for me to do it as I am still a student as there is nothing stopping me from travelling. I realised that it will be a lot trickier when I start my professional career, so I want to make the most out of my time left studying.

I hope it will be challenging, fun and something different but most of all that I will be able to find out what I enjoy doing. While there are a number of things I found really fascinating at university, I want to see what a different experience at another company would be like to work for a living and whether I would enjoy it. The worst case scenario is that I just rule out one other thing that I wouldn’t like to do thus leaving me one step closer to pinpointing what I would love to do! I will keep you updated on the role searching and I will gladly share any useful info that I find.


(Berlin – I am coming back!!!! 🙂 )

Another thing I have been thinking about quite a lot now is my third year project and although I have some rough ideas I really should refine them soon and start some project planning. It will be quite interesting coming back to university, but for now I am in no hurry to return just yet. I am glad I have some time on my hands before that comes. I enjoy the fact that I have the weekends all to myself without worrying about deadlines as trivial as it might sound. On that note I finally started playing tennis – or more like taking beginners lessons, but I am getting there okay!? Baby steps! 🙂 And even though there is still so much I need to work on it is great fun. Unfortunately it is only once a week so I try to do some swimming and yoga in between to keep fit (New Year’s Resolutions and all!)


(After a few lessons I can see a tiny bit of improvement in my skills 🙂 )

Another thing that stands out currently in the news is the Windows 10 preview and the idea of augmented reality. I was actually surprised by the direction that Microsoft has taken – offering a free upgrade to existing users who own Windows 7, 8 or Windows Phone and on top of it, a headset that will offer a quite different experience than the standard desktop one we have been used to. It all sounds amazing in theory and in this video, but I’m a little bit sceptical for now. For one thing how many programs will one be able to run in this new and ‘improved’ headset version? I have read that the these changes are in the hope of getting developers excited and write applications for Windows 10 – but my question is how easy will that be? It’s definitely not for mobile applications or web development. However, this might have the potential to completely revolutionize gaming experience – you could actually see the virtual world around you and actually be the hero in the game. And also, is that what the customer wants? Sure it sounds cool at first, but can you imagine wearing a headset all day? 3D glasses in the cinema still give me a headache from time to time and even though this might not be the case I am still wondering if there will be any health related issues to using a headset for a considerate amount of time. It’s definitely food for thought and I guess until it comes out and we can see it, there is no way of knowing how thing will turn out.


(This is what the user will see while wearing the headset)

Speak again soon, if you have any questions for me then please leave a comment below!


Veneta Haralampieva

Another year goes by!

Hello again everyone!

I feel like there is so much I need to talk about. This December has been crazy in the best possible way. So much has happened – Christmas, a Java conference, going home for the holidays, a medieval dinner party and to my complete delight, snow!


(I know !!! It’s amazing 🙂 )

Time has flown by so quickly, it’s the beginning of 2015 and it feels like it was only yesterday when I was rushing to buy gifts for my family or racing to catch my plane back home to Bulgaria. I can tell you that there is nothing quite like seeing your home country for the first time for half a year. The exhilaration you feel when you see the city at night, half of it engulfed in the magical mists and the rest shining from the city lights, welcoming you home. To then rush out at 2am to find your parents waiting for you at the aiport and finally hugging them – that is more than any Christmas present you can get!


(The astonishing beauty of Sofia while landing)

So there I was back home, and thankfully these holidays were one of the few I can say I have enjoyed without the worry of upcoming exams. Since my family has moved a year ago to the capital, Sofia, I have never really lived there, so I decided to be a tourist and explore it a bit more with a help of a few friends of course, with one of them being a future architect so he knew quite a bit about the history of one of the oldest capital cities in Europe. I won’t bore you with all the historical details but I will just leave you with some pictures so that you can enjoy the beauty of the city.


(Sofia University – the oldest university in Bulgaria)


(Christmas in Sofia – directly above the remains of the old town)

Our family occasions normally involve a lot of food and I spent the entire Christmas Eve helping my family prepare a beautiful dinner. It was a lot of work but it was well worth it! And since it was Christmas there were presents of course. The next few days included a a lot of food, a trip to the mountains and more food, oh and some parties with my friends as well. Did I mention food?

IMG_0413 (1)_small

(Traditional Christmas Eve Dinner – that was a lot of food. The turkey the next day did not help 🙂 )

It has been such a magical time. I wish I could have stayed longer but I was due to fly back to England before New Year. I was really hoping to see one other thing before I left Bulgaria, but with the temperature approaching 20°C on the Christmas Eve it was beginning to look doubtful. Luckily, on the 27th it arrived – it finally snowed. A lot! And as I was being super excited jumping up and down, my sister simply remarked – “well yeah sure it’s beautiful now but you won’t have the hazardous journey to get to school in the snow-broth!” She is right, that I don’t miss as much.

So my time back in Bulgaria came to an end the next day as I took the plane super early in the morning and I was soon back home in London, (minus my gloves, which I lost rushing for a train!) waiting for the arrival of 2015!

Overall there are many things I can say about 2014 – it was an extraordinary year, I had so many new experiences in it and as for my New Year’s Resolutions – I don’t have any. I am just going to try and better what I was yesterday….and learn tennis a bit better – already signed up for a class 🙂 (Okay, so maybe I have two resolutions on reflection!)

So Happy New Year to you all and let the New Year bring you happiness and unforgettable moments! I will be back with another post next month.


P.S. I made my very first cupcakes and gingerbread cookies 🙂


(All you need is …. Cookies) 


(Could have been better decorated but they were tasty!)

This placement is just flying by so quickly!

Hi all,

So what’s new with me? Well I have realised that it has been 5 months since I started my placement and as I was going through my log of activities, I realised that even though I have done quite a few things there is still so much I want to do in London before I go back to Manchester! And as Christmas is just around the corner I am determined more than ever to enjoy my time on my placement.


(Oxford Street – ready for the holidays)

I am now no longer working in Newbury, so I’m situated in solely London now. So goodbye small and cosy Newbury and hello rush hour in the tube every morning! To be honest I did miss London over the week whilst working in Newbury, so it’s been a nice change. If only I could teleport to work in the morning though…!

It’s strange to think back to my first day on my current project when I was bombarded with acronyms and a dozen systems which meant nothing to me!  Now I can happily say I think I’m up to grips with most of the previously mysterious words in my emails, it soons become second knowledge once you settle in. There has  also been some changes in the past month with quite a few people leaving the company who I am definitely going to miss.

Overall, the industrial placement is an experience I would definitely recommend doing – you gain soft skills, technical skills and realise how useful things you learn in University are. And you get to go to a Medieval Dinner as a Christmas event for all the Industrial Placement students –  and oh yes we do need to dress up so it should be fun 🙂

I can safely say that I have come to realise just how important most of the material we learn at the University is. Take Software Engineering as an example, back in uni I was used to owning each stage of the software development process – there would be no clients, no stakeholders, I had access to everything because I was doing most, if not, all of it. If I ran the wrong thing it was okay, no one was losing millions because of it, however, this is not usually the case on the project I am working now. You have multiple teams working on a stack of systems that implement completely different but equally important applications, which when brought together achieve the end goal. To be completely honest I knew of the different testing phases but I never really could use all of them to test my applications in university, so it was definitely good to see how each of them has been done – most of them requiring its own separate environment.

I’ve also come across some very useful websites and on-line courses that I hope you might find useful too. I am sure most of you have heard of them but just in case you haven’t they are: www.edx.org and www.coursera.org . These websites are just wonderful and full with free on-line courses you can take, from Introduction to Game Design from MIT to Psychology. I realise that most of us CS students barely have time to breathe with uni work, what with all the exams, labs and projects, however, if you do find some spare time doing something extra might be really beneficial. I have done one course so far and I am currently signed up for two more. One of them being an Android Development course – an area which I don’t have much experience yet but I am keen to learn and improve on.


(“The important thing is not to stop questioning”  – Albert Einstein)

It’s not all work and study, I do find time to enjoy the fact that I am in London, which of course means that I have been visiting as many landmarks as possible, including a river boat cruise, boarding the Emirates Air Lines and experiencing somewhat strange, but delicious meals – duck and waffle!? I was shocked at first, but this is surprisingly tasty! Who would have thought that duck goes well with maple syrup? Not me, believe me! I’ve also taken up yoga classes too which has been really enjoyable. The highlight of my month though has definitely been seeing my mother and my sister after 5 months as they came to visit me from Bulgaria. Although they were only here for 4 days, I was extremely happy to finally see them after so long!

P.S. One more thing! If you have the time definitely visit Edinburgh – it’s an amazing town. Went there for 3 days and I wish I could have stayed there at least 3 months 🙂


(Edinburgh castle – a fairytale like castle that ones housed kings and queens)

Hi everyone!

Hello everyone!


(London Eye – one of the newest London landmarks)

My name is Veneta and I am studying Computer Science with the Industrial Experience option. I’m currently on a placement at Accenture based in London and although it’s quite far from Manchester, I do have the chance to see what it is like to live in one of the best cities in the world. London is a truly unique city to live in, It just has this magic about it that makes you fall in love with it instantly!

I really enjoy living here, although in fact, I spend most of my week elsewhere – Newbury to be more precise. It is a relatively small town outside of London but I find it quite homey and cozy.

It makes a change from The Big Smoke, which is full of tourists and lots of attractions. Working in both places is a lot of fun, though waking up at 5:00 every Monday to catch the train isn’t the most enjoyable thing in the world!


(Tower of London – once a prison for Anne Boleyn , now – housing the crown jewels 🙂 )

It’s been a very refreshing change to be working and not studying this year. I hope I will be able to learn as much as I can before coming back to University in Manchester in September next year for my 3rd, and final, year. So far I feel like I have learnt a lot without even realizing it and it has been interesting to see how things we learnt the previous two years on the course are actually used (or not used) in industry and the real world. I have come to understand the issues of being part of a massive project with resources scattered all over the globe. It certainly brings up problems that you just can’t model when you’re at University – like having part of the team go to bed when you’ve just started work!

I can say with certainty that there are many things about my placement that are quite different from what I expected – some that are not so great but others that have been really good.  Overall, I think it’s an amazing experience that I feel will be really useful and it will help me develop as an individual.

I will being updating you on my experiences throughout the year, so look out for my new post in a month or so!