From ‘Lazy’ Student, to Web Developer – Placement Week 1.

Been a little while since I’ve last blogged, but the past few weeks have been rather busy.

As part of my Degree course at Salford University, I opted to do an Industrial Placement for a year. With how competitive the Jobs market is at the moment, any relevant experience to my field of Web Development would defiantly put me at an advantage over other graduates when the time comes. I submitted for a position at Inspire Tech UK, a small company based in Salford, working on their website / back-end systems using ASP.NET (C#). The company trades from their own website as well as Ebay, Amazon and Play under the name eoutlet.

I went into the job admittedly not being all that comfortable with C#, however I was more than ready for the challenge. I hadn’t properly written C# code in a while, and so was a bit rusty. The first few days where a struggle, however as the week progressed I found myself being a lot more confident in the code I was writing.

My first project was to update a system where other businesses in Technology House could submit and pay for us to ship their package using our contracted Currier services. The system is appropriately named “Ship My Parcel”, and it was my task to update the statically written prices (in the code), and retrieve them from a database instead. Sounds easy right? Well not exactly. The code that was already in place wasn’t commented or documented so I had to spend a little while reading through it to figure out how it worked. After a few days I had implemented this feature, as well as a few additional ones such as paying for packaging and entering discount codes. There was already a system in place for handling discount codes, so writing something to interface with that was repetitively straight forward (again after spending some time studying the existing implementations).

I’ve also done other smaller general IT tasks such as installing device drivers, fixing a broken printer queue and running Windows / Software updates on the machines in the office. As well as this, I’ve also updated the wordpress blog to the latest versions of the core and plugins, updated the company logo’s on Facebook and Twitter.

I started my Second project today, which is a little more involved than patching an existing system. So far I have handled parsing a CSV file into an Array which was put into a DataTable. From there I inserted the data into a Database. The CSV file is hosted on an external server, from which we need to connect through the FTP protocol. I need to check what exactly i can disclose about my work, so I’ll not go into any more detail in this post.

Although it’s been quite a challenging experience, I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s also been nice knowing that the work that I’m doing is actually meaningful and will be used in a live production environment. I have learnt so much already, and it’s only been a week!

  • Jason Wright

    Glad you’re having a good experience, mate. Keep it up!!

  • Helen Keegan

    Sounds good Dan! As you say. that real-world experience is invaluable 🙂

    • It really has opened my eyes to how much better off I’ll be come graduation! 🙂

  • Ehsan Imran

    Fantastic read, keep it up! I’m intrigued to see what other projects they have lined up for you over the next 10 months 🙂

    • Cheers! I’ll try and make weekly posts, depending on whether there is enough to talk about 🙂