We’re very lucky to have had Tom work as our IT development intern here at Beacon. Tom’s a student from Huddersfield University, who is about to complete his last year of Computer Science with Games Programming (BSc) degree.
What was your virtual internship experience during a lockdown?
“During Lockdown, my workload wasn’t too drastically affected. Luckily, Beacon has the infrastructure set up to work from home, and I have done a fair share of University collaborative projects. Although working from home has posed some minor productivity issues, considering that I work shorter hours in the office and still get more work done than when I am at home.”
What did you enjoy about your role?
“My passion is programming, so I enjoyed the role, especially when you think of writing code as learning a new language. My usual background is in games development. At the same time, my role at Beacon is focused on web development, so it’s been interesting to learn how that’s done differently. However, what surprised me the most was how easy it was to adapt to my role due to the similarities between writing code and web development.”
Would you consider your role at Beacon challenging?
“My role has been a learning curve from the start, and learning on the job has been relatively easy for me. What surprised me the most was how I quickly realised that the workload wasn’t as challenging as I thought it was at the beginning of my internship. But, of course, that goes without saying that it’s a professional environment, and these guys are insane programmers; I could never beat them.”
How does a typical day in your role looks?
“On Monday mornings, we have development team meetings, where we go over what we will do over the week, which is why I never felt as if I couldn’t reach out to my teammates, since I can easily talk to them on Zoom and Discord meetings whenever I need them. Also, I’ve recently spoken to one of my teammates when I was struggling on a task, so, typically, you could say that a day in my role is quite fast-paced.”
What did you learn during your time at Beacon?
“My degree has prepared me well for the role of IT development intern, and it’s given me everything I need to carry out the role. Although, what I learned through my time at Beacon was how to communicate my points across effectively. And working in a team was a pleasant change since naturally I was used to working on my own before starting the internship.”
Would you say that you gained confidence from your experience?
“I had gained confidence when I realised how readable the code was and how much I could do. The main thing about working in a development team is that it seemed like I was talking to friends, so I felt rather relaxed. That being said, confidence would be the main thing that I gained from my internship experience, as I lacked it from the start and still do to an extent, so I can only say that I came a long way since I started at Beacon.”
How has it been working on the Beacon development team?
“To me, the development team is an extended family, at least more extended than most families this year. And just the other week, everyone came to the Leeds office and did some team bonding activities that I thought were pretty fun to do, given the current circumstances.”
What are you hoping to do in the future?
“I hope to go back into game development. That’s always been the end goal for me, but working on the platform development has been a great experience and given me insight into something I hadn’t considered getting into, so I may consider this a career option in the future.”
Internships during lockdown have no doubt been a weird experience for everyone out there. And, perhaps, coping with minimal contact has been more favourable for some than others. But the main thing that helped Tom throughout his internship was the Beacon collaborative support system, including Trello task management, Zoom meetings with the IT development team, and Discord chat rooms. On that note, it’s been fantastic having Tom as part of the IT development team here at Beacon, and even though we are sad to see him through the last days of his internship, Beacon wishes Tom all the best in the future.