July 24th, 2017. I stood outside a large building, aptly-named Hackney House, located in the small suburb of Hackney just a short walk east of the Adelaide CBD. I glanced at my watch impatiently, well-aware of the fact I had turned up 20 minutes earlier than I was expected, as time crawled excruciatingly by. Today was the first day of my university placement at Media Sociale, and I was determined to make a good first impression.
I remember that day well, as I sit here three months later on the final day of my internship. I had a number of expectations for how my time as a Software Developer intern at Media Sociale would play out; the things I would learn, the work I’d eventually be capable of producing, how my career would develop as a result. This blog post is meant to go through all of those thoughts, and to give a broad overview of what can come out of an internship at Media Sociale.
Living up to Expectations
I first heard about Media Sociale from my friend at university, Sam Tyler. He worked at the company and knew I was looking for placement, and as a result he recommmended I submit my application. Having known Sam for over 2 years, I had seen first-hand the quality of his coding skills, so I knew I would have to work hard to live up to expectations. Even so, from what Sam had told me of his work environment, I was confident that if I had any problems at all I could be assured that I wouldn’t be crucified for asking for help. These factors greatly contributed to my initial enthusiasm, yet I still wasn’t aware at the time of how much I was going to learn from the experience.
“What are you working on today?”
Flinders University placement topics require students to work on a project during their placement experience. For me, that was a project called ‘Strunk’, which was designed to read text files and format them based on preset rules. Initially I thought this project was going to form the majority of my work at Media Sociale, but I was pleasantly surprised. Strunk turned out to be completed within the first month, and went on to become the least interesting project I was assigned by company director Marcus Riquier.
- Writing an SQL Generator for Media Sociale’s baskit platform
- Developing a web scraper in PhantomJS for getting race data from a website
- Writing a Python script to query Google and parse emails out of the search results
- Creating audit forms using webpage speed results for prospective clients
- Helping integrate a client’s e-store with FedEx’s shipping API
- Researching and exploring the possibility of building a website in the Elm language
- Creating an API in Amazon Web Services that queries DynamoDB through AWS Lambda
- Working on the Media Sociale website upgrade project, including:
- Adding code building tasks to the Gulp.js file
- Adding Structured Data, metadata and Google Analytics for SEO purposes
- Writing functions for generating data dynamically
- Developing the testing framework for the website from scratch
- Developing Gulp plugins for tasks such as dynamically generating valid AMP pages
This list is non-exhaustive, and still I can’t even begin to put into words how much I’ve learned from all of these projects. Everyday, Marcus would ask each of us in the office “What are you working on today?”. In the beginning I struggled with this question, as I’d often give too many details on my tasks as I didn’t believe I was being as useful as ‘good’ programmers could be. Today, I have confidence that what I’m working on is relevant, useful and of value, and this is a direct result of the trust I have built up from the success of these projects.
A Career on the Move
Besides the technical aspects though, my time at Media Sociale has also given me confidence in my work and an appreciation for a positive, productive work environment. I had no difficulty being motivated to get up in the mornings, as every day was fun and interesting, thanks to my colleagues and the work I was assigned.
Overall, working at Media Sociale has taught me that work doesn’t have to be a check-in check-out-40-hours-a-week slog. Interesting and challenging projects, friendly and positive colleagues and constructive career sessions have made my placement experience invaluable, and I recommend anyone looking for an internship to ask themselves whether Media Sociale sounds like what they’re looking for. If there’s anything I’ve learned though, it’s this:
If you want to feel like a member of the team rather than just an intern, Media Sociale has your back.