As my one-year university placement at Simpleweb comes to an end, I thought I’d take a moment to look back at what I’ve learnt in my year as a front-end developer intern and share some of the some of the most important things for future interns to come.
I have previously studied Visual Arts and started doing graphic design at the school I was studying at, as I have an interest in creating compositions with image editing software. It was then that the opportunity to study Digital Media at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) arose.
It’s wonderful to have such talented people share their thoughts and help me grow technically and personally
From there I continued teaching myself more about design and became interested in programming and web development. However, I’d never had the opportunity to be around anyone who knew more about it and learn from them.
I discovered Simpleweb whilst looking for my industry placement. At the time, I wasn’t sure if there were any openings so I just dropped Beccy an email asking about it and luckily she got back to me. I did not know much about Simpleweb’s work back then, besides OLIO which I found to be a great project that tries to solve a really important problem.
I was fairly used to working in a team from collaboration in freelance and side-projects so, aside from annoying everyone with lots of questions, I’ve adapted well to a professional environment. I see most of the people I’ve worked with here as mentors as they are always willing to teach me new things and address my questions which, for me, is a privileged position to be in. It’s wonderful to have such talented people share their thoughts and help me grow technically and personally.
We don’t stop being designers or developers when we leave the campus or studio
Additionally, I’d never worked on environments that apply agile methodologies before, so this was new to me. During my placement year I feel like I’ve grown a lot professionally by having the opportunity to work on projects that have challenged me.
Working here has been amazing because I’ve been able to do lots of different things, which is exactly what I was looking for. I’ve had the opportunity to learn and work on projects that use ReactJS and React Native to develop applications. I have also had the chance to look into other things like combining technologies to create a facial recognition prototype focused on detecting human expressions (pictured below) and develop knowledge in other programming languages, as well as user experience and design topics. This is partly because Simpleweb’s developers have a technology agnostic approach and tend to pick the tools they believe are best for solving the problem they’re facing.
I like experimenting and the exploration of new things so, when I’ve completed my Digital Media course, I would enjoy taking on roles that involve design, research and prototyping. In fact this is already something I’ve had the chance to do when working on the Personal Development Manager app and the emotion detection prototype.
Advice from intern to intern
My advice for students is to be open minded and flexible when looking for a placement as it is an opportunity to try and learn about new things, especially if you’re not sure on what you would like to specialise. Start applying early and be proactive in developing the skills you need on your own as we never stop being designers or developers when we leave the campus or studio.
I would also suggest getting involved in the local tech community by attending conferences and meetups. Groups such as BristolJS helped me a lot with staying up to date with what is going on and getting advice from other developers sharing their experiences. This can provide valuable advice that can be used when considering a placement.
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If you’d like to discuss your startup or project, get in touch with Simpleweb today.