Industry placement prospects aren't looking good.Watch
I am planning on working on a couple of projects all through the summer, but given that I start to apply for placements next year, with my current experience, I think it's going to be incredibly difficult to get a position even If I fill it up with projects. For this reason, I'm considering a switch from a year in industry course to a year abroad course.
I guess given my circumstances, the answer is obvious, but getting other perspectives couldn't hurt. How difficult would It be to get a placement with the current state of my CV, what would you suggest I do this summer or through next year to build a quality portfolio, how much would a 2:2 matter for recruitment and would you suggest I go with the switch?
The problem boils down to the fact that 3-4 months over the summer isn't long enough for someone in your position to train up to a point where you'd actually be productive during that time, so it's not worth the time/effort that the employer would be putting into your training and mentoring -- you'd spend several months learning the ropes and then be leaving them a few weeks later.
For that reason, summer internships are more likely to go to people who have already built up their skills (e.g. being self-taught before going to university or having finished a decent A-Level compsci project)
A 12-month placement is a completely different matter because it takes the same amount of time to learn the basics and get up to speed, but you still have more most of the year where the company is actually going to be expecting you to get on with some real work and be more valuable to them. Companies don't expect placement students to have any experience and are more willing to hire someone who will require several months to learn near the start of their placement
With that said, any extra work you can do over the summer is a good idea because it will help a lot with your placement interviews; most importantly it shows interest, motivation and that you're willing to put the effort in to learn things by yourself (which is important because the first few months of a 12-month placement is going to be a lot of learning and Google'ing to find information).
Ultimately it'll be your technical and problem-solving skills which are more likely to lead to you being accepted onto a placement; the placement interviews will usually involve answering a technical skills test as well, and/or some face-to-face technical questions, so any personal projects you've worked on are useful to be able to refer to - it can be useful to be able to bring along a sample of some code you've written.