This week, I thought I’d talk about placements (in particular my placement) because this is quite a popular topic amongst students.
I’ve recently crossed the 6 month mark and thought that it would be valuable to reflect, review and share my experiences (hopefully you can learn something from them!).
As always, before reading further, make sure to applaud this article and share it with you friends!
All views are my own, purely opinionated.
As with any job role, I cannot talk specifically about every single detail however I aim to describe my experiences in a way which gives a good picture of ‘the placement life’ without breaching any confidentiality of the organisation.
Essentially, I’m a full stack developer placement student.
The role is mainly remote, with planned visits to the office throughout the year.
My main expectations were to work on bug fixes and new features (hands on production code) while learning as much as possible.
My Initial Onboarding:
This was actually amazing!
1 month before I actually joined, I was invited down to the office to meet the team. This was a very fun, informal way to “break the ice” ; meet the team and even meet the other interns. In summary, I recieved a tour of the office (it’s a very nice office, I must say); we had a chat about expectations for the year; a ‘company lunch’ and lots of table tennis.
So I started off in the office and I was able to meet up with the team! Everyone was/is super friendly and approachable.
I was quite fortunate because the main aim of the first few weeks was just to get to know people; familiarise myself with the build process and solve small bugs in an attempt to familiarise myself with the codebase.
Like I said earlier, everyone has been super friendly and all the kit provided was amazing.
The main thing to take away from the first month is that I was literally able to contribute to the production codebase from day 2!
My experiences involved ‘on the job’ training as opposed to a more structured set of training that would go before any actual work. In my opinion, this was better for me because I prefer to dive straight into things and learn from that.
Month 2 was great because I worked on my first ever ‘feature’ (a larger piece of work to add something new rather than a bug fix). Like any development, this took a bit longer than usual.
Like I said, I can’t really go into that much detail but I was essentially shaping existing data in a new way.
What was great about this feature is that I was basically able to pair program with a Senior Developer and work quite closely with the Product Manager too.
I really believe that these experiences are where I’m able to learn the most and this is one of the main selling points of placements in my opinion.
This was definitely one of the more challenging months as the bug fixes that I was getting assigned to were becoming increasingly challenging. It was one of the summer months, which meant that a lot of people were away on holiday therefore there’s less people to talk to and seek advice from.
I started to see my PR’s receiving more and more feedback (not just getting merged straight away) which is a little frustrating but I quickly realised that this isn’t personal. The whole point of PR’s is to minimise the number of bugs that could enter production and to make sure that any code additions are efficient and readable.
Despite the challenges, I was able to meet the other interns (some of which joined after me). All my trips to the office are very fun. It definitely makes for a nice change and we do additional activities too that are particularly enjoyable.
This month was quite significant as we were approaching an internal deadline. This meant that we were trying to add in as many different features as possible and I’d been assigned to a team working on one of the hardest and most complex features.
Looking back, this was particularly challenging because we were modifying an existing part of the product which was written ‘on top of’ a very messy and inefficient backend.
It was definitely beneficial to completely revamp an existing part of the product. This involved creating new components in React that were in accordance to Figma designs. This was also my first exposure to react-query (something I definitely need to use more!). The great thing about this is feature is that it exposed me more to the performance and architecture side of features as well as the wonderful world of mutations!
Overall we were able to meet the deadline but this was definitely a huge step up from anything that I’ve ever done before. As I’ve said before, this style of learning can be a bit frustrating however I definitely find it valuable to get hands on and make lots of mistakes while ultimately being able to learn from others and still complete the project.
I was moved onto a new feature which was definitely more ‘full-stack’ in comparison to ones I’ve previously worked on. This involved working with TypeScript and AWS to notify the user of issues occurring while they’re on the app.
This feature allowed me to experience the painful world of timeframes. We had a bug where the backend time wasn’t syncing up to the system time which led to inconsistent notifications.
The most frustrating part of this feature is that I got it fully working (we even demo’d it in front of other employees). I then went on holiday for a week and came back to find 1 small requirement was now broken (due to a code change somewhere else). Sadly, despite a lot of persistence, I was unable to fix this bug.
All in all, it was nice to move onto a slightly smaller and easier feature. The 1 remaining bug was very frustrating and felt out of my control (it delayed the whole PR) but we got it merged in the end!
This was Christmas so in all honesty, not a lot happened.
I was able to complete a lot of small bug fixes but in a similar way to summer, most people take holidays and everything was a lot quieter.
Of course there was some great Christmas celebrations. The company culture is amazing here!
This placement has gone by far too fast!
It’s a big step up but I really do like the fact that I’ve contributed to the production code base since literally the 2nd day!
Everyone is so friendly!
Remote is good but I don’t enjoy it as much as I thought.
Plans for the 2nd Half:
I could break this down into many different points however quite simply:
Keep having fun and enjoy every moment while it lasts because it’s going so fast!
Continue to get hands on and learn as much as possible.
Thank you for reaching the end of this post!
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