Month One in the life of a Codera Placement Student

This blog post has been written by Shahza and Leah, our placement students for 2016/2017, and is a candid take on their experience at Codera during their first month. 

Students" Hi we are Shahza & Leah, and for the year 2016/17 we are placement students at Codera Ltd. This blog post is about our experience during our first month at Codera.

Both of us are from Leeds University, studying Computer Science with an industrial year- which is what we’re currently undergoing! Doing such an industrial placement is definitely a valuable experience which will help guide you towards your desired career. It simply gives you an opportunity to gain insight into the professional world. Now you might be asking why we have decided to do our placement at Codera… It’s because Codera is a relatively young and modern company that seeks to improve & adapt daily, contradictory to many big companies that like to stick to old & traditional methods (where the importance of change is not as widely acknowledged); we thought that if we were a part of such a company we could learn things that are more relevant that are influenced by ever changing technology and society’s needs and requirements. Also, working for a small company allows you to not only just be a bigger cog in the wheel, but also learn about a broad variety of things as opposed to having one single specialist job role. Not to mention (and this is important!) that also during our individual interviews, we felt that we would simply fit in with this company.

Now about our actual experience- our first few days consisted of induction material. David, our CEO, gave us a tour of the office building, went through Codera’s company policy and health & safety procedures, in addition to a discussion of what they have planned for us over the year. We were given personal MacBooks that we had to set up and get running, then we got introduced to all of Codera’s internal communicational structures for which we got personal accounts made.

After our induction period, we got started with some in-house training, consisting of repeatable exercises (‘katas’) to get accustomed to their standard tools and frameworks, reading books on Design Patterns & TDD, watching online courses (from the excellent www.virtualpairprogrammers.com), as well as paired programming exercises & demonstrations on how TDD works. Soon after, we were asked if we were interested in taking part in a programming competition held by IBM as a sort of stepping stone before starting any big project.

A brief summary of our competition task would be that we had to manipulate some file input, producing an output file using a given specification. To manage this project, we adopted the ‘Kanban’ methodology, with David and other colleagues guiding and supporting us throughout the whole project. Initially we had to set up our project (using git SCM, Jenkins CI, Maven, Sonar, JIRA) and then we got started with programming, using Java! Despite it being a small project, it was a good way to get introduced to many of the tools we will be using day to day.

This pretty much took us to the end of the month, throughout which we had a close supervisor that took care of any problems we had. We were encouraged to ask for help from anyone in the office which definitely created a friendly atmosphere and pleasant working environment. As a sort of ‘ice breaker’ and gentle push towards TDD, we did some pair programming exercises with other colleagues as well as going on a group lunch which made us feel more comfortable with the other members of the team.

We’ve so far enjoyed our first month here at Codera, where we had the opportunity to learn a great deal of things (which we will be putting into more practice later), be treated as a professional colleague as well as getting practical experience."