A small mannequin holds a cloth and appears to clean the screen of a computer, which has code open on it

How I develop skills as a continuing App Developer Intern -Martin Lewis

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Martin Lewis is a final year student in BSc (Hons) Computer Science, and started working as a Summer Intern in ISG in 2020, as one of our interns auditing Learn. Martin really impressed the Learn team with his initiative in finding a chance to automate some work, so since summer 2021 he has since been working with the Learn team in a more technical role, doing programming.

I started work in Information Services Group (ISG) at the University as a Summer Intern in 2020 and 2021, and since then I’ve been working for ISG doing technical bits and pieces. In this blog post I’ll be discussing what I’ve been doing as a part of my work for ISG and what skills this has helped me develop.

Initially I was doing rather non-technical work as part of the Learn Foundations project getting the University’s Learn courses prepared for the new academic year. This was adding things like the course outline and organiser details into these fresh courses. However, I managed to find a way to automate parts of the workflow I was assigned to and from there began to do technical work for the ISG.
I now have the very long winded title of ‘Learn Foundations Applications Developer Intern’ in which I do development work, making applications that are usually, sometime tangentially, related to the Learn Foundations Project.

For those more technically minded, I’m working in the PHP programming language doing full stack (front and backend) work using the Laravel framework. An excellent opportunity to learn a new language and framework. There is also the chance to work on real world projects that contain issues and experiences that cannot be found in the classroom or in a coursework assignment. With real team members (big thanks to Andrew and his team who I have been working with) and projects that have a real outcome (not just a grade).

Now this is not only a good opportunity to hone skills but it also looks very good on a CV. Already having practical software development experience is fantastic and it also is a great source of discussion during interviews being able to bring up situations and decisions you made outside of a classroom is great.

Now let’s look at the day to day practicalities (this is just my experience your mileage may vary with role and when you might work). The work is remote, as you could probably guess, which fits well alongside my majority remote learning these past few years. Over the summers I’ve worked full time, 35 hours a week, being treated as a standard member of university staff. Then over the semesters only 7 hours a week which I find easy to fit around my studies and personal life but it does often mean rather slow progress in the projects you work on.

Both of the line managers I’ve had have been wonderful and very understanding about the need to change work patterns last minute or take time off around major deadlines and exams. The pay isn’t too bad and goes a long way towards covering my rent.

I’m not sure if I’ll be continuing to work for the University after May as I am finally graduating. I will however apologise in advance to any potential future intern who has to work with my code! But the last two years have gone a long way to making me a much more employable graduate.

So do consider applying for an ISG internship, I’ve personally gotten a lot out of it and I think any proactive student can benefit greatly from such a role.

("Code washing" by Ezu is marked with CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. To view the terms, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd-nc/2.0/jp/?ref=openverse)

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