Work experience is a great idea as it aims to help young students to get an insight into the working world, and help them decide what they would like to do as a job in the future. I’m Josh, a 16 year old computer lover, however, saying that, I have no idea which part of computers I am most interested in. Web Applications UK allowed me to join their ranks for a week and learn some of the main aspects of how they run on a day-to-day basis.
I began the first week of December in my mum’s car, as we drove down to the Web Apps headquarters in Oldham. The journey felt longer than expected as I had no idea what my week ahead was going to be like. When I first entered, I was greeted by Vivienne who lead me through all of the rules and drills that I needed to know. The building was large and modern, filled with wonderful people focused on their work. The building was a warm comfortable place to be, and looked good too!
The first few days I began by working in the Marketing dept., on a website for their training centre WA:UK Centre of Excellence. To begin I had to research the themes and techniques they used on their other sites and create a content guide for the site. I also learned many key features of website management, including search engine optimisation. This helped me create the site itself. I used many different skills which I had been taught by Jack to produce what was necessary; a website that followed the design and theme of their other sites. There were many problems and issues which myself and Jack worked together to fix. After a day of working, the site was well developed and completely changed from the initial starting design.
On the second day, I went to the Centre of Excellence to take some promo shots for the website. We used the best photos as background imagery on a carousel showcasing customer testimonials. I had to harshly edit the photos, cutting them down to suitable size; this meant that the photos lost detail, and were less effective. In the second half of the afternoon I had completed the website and it was reviewed by Jack to make sure everything was up to scratch.
On day three, I joined Rik, one of the Designers, to learn some tips and tricks about graphic design, as it is one of my main hobbies, and something that I enjoy. He taught me some of the key skills needed for the Adobe Suite, showing me programs that I never knew existed which are a staple of the design industry. I then began on the task of creating a vinyl sticker with the topic ‘Aim Higher’. I had to create this in Adobe Illustrator, this is a program which I am not very comfortable with, it helped me learn new skills and develop my knowledge on Illustrator. The outcome I came up with wasn’t great, but that was expected. I then jumped straight back into my comfort zone when I was asked to create a poster, with the title ‘Hello; is it C you’re looking for?’ – cheesy right?
I worked on the design towards the end of the morning, and at the start of the afternoon. There was one hilarious incident where I somehow managed to export a PDF that glitched and appeared to be animating Lionel’s face horribly. At least we all had a good laugh!
Day four began on a really wet and windy day. I began that day by starting this blog! Well, if you’re reading this now, just know that I was soaking wet and cold, as I had just walked to work in the torrential rain. In the afternoon I spent my time with Matt, a developer working on the company’s flagship product Extrali. Now I went into this with the mind-set that I wouldn’t understand anything, fully expecting it to fly over my head. But I came out with an insight in the programming side of Extrali. I learnt some of the principles of coding, and a better understanding of how Extrali works with the server, and how some of the code works.
Day five of my week was spent in the Systems department, this is the area of the company where all of the servers are ran, and also all of the IT issues are fixed. I was working closely with Dale, who is one of the members of the Systems team. He showed me how to open and work with support tickets, and how to resolve basic issues within the company, using a troubleshooting methodology. He also gave me an insight on how the business’ network system works. I also learnt how to make an ethernet cable, and set up a standard working environment for a new member of staff.
Overall I believe that Web Applications is a great company, which holds an amazing working environment. The staff are very helpful and look out for each other, they work together to create and complete magnificent projects such as Extrali. I would like to thank them for teaching me so much in such a small time scale of a week. They have helped me decide which aspect of computing I would like to pursue, and also given me an insight into the working environment of a modern tech company.
Thanks to everyone at Web Apps for allowing me to experience a week as a Web Applications UK employee!