I am Devin Lim. I am a determined and ambitious student currently studying in the Diploma in Information Technology program at Singapore Polytechnic. I am currently in my third year and have a strong passion for the field of technology.
In school, I was more focused on back-end coding where I managed the database, server, and API gateways. Our projects given in school are usually creating a system or creating a replica of another existing website like Reddit. I also made a mobile app for money management that helps control your spending on certain categories.
What I Learnt in Class
It’s also a high-level, object-oriented language that is designed to be platform-independent. It’s useful as it has automatic memory management to help prevent memory leaks. I used Java to create mobile apps and develop cloud web applications.
CSS & HTML
CSS and HTML are essential languages for creating a website’s basic layout and design. I found it challenging at first to understand the intricacies of web design and how to create visually appealing pages.
Nonetheless, as I learned more, I began to understand creating user-friendly interfaces and making websites more accessible. I used them during year 1 to create a simple design of a website.
React helps me to create a well-designed website due to its functionality. I used it for my projects in year 2 where I created a replica website Reddit.
In addition to learning these specific coding languages, I also learned basic user interface (UI) design principles. Understanding how users interact with websites and applications is crucial for creating a seamless and enjoyable user experience. I learned how to create intuitive navigation, use typography and color effectively and make interfaces accessible.
I do not have much experience in HTML and CSS and no experience with e-commerce. This is the reason I joined eFusion hoping to learn more in these areas.
Applying Academic Knowledge to the Working World
The internship was an invaluable experience that allowed me to gain practical, hands-on experience in the field of web development. The internship allowed me to learn various languages and technology skills including PHP, PrestaShop, Technical Support, and SEO. Also, I was able to improve my CSS skills, which has helped me to become a more well-rounded coder.
I was tasked with creating an e-commerce website using Prestashop and to customize the visual appearance, I had to edit the CSS. I utilized the CSS skills I acquired in school to write scripts to match the final design. Through working on multiple websites, I improved my CSS skills and gained a better understanding of how to create visually pleasing and responsive web pages.
Furthermore, I was tasked with client training and technical support. I used the presentation skills I developed during my final project to train clients on how to use the website. They are similar as I had to elaborate and teach the clients how to use the website.
This experience from school helped me to be less nervous when providing the training. I also applied my debugging skills from school to assist clients with technical issues.
My most challenging task was when I was appointed as the project manager, developer, and designer for our internal website. I had to plan the work progress, make design decisions, and develop the website simultaneously.
It was my first time in a project manager role and I had to balance the other roles as well. I managed to make progress by putting extra effort and work into the project. My experience being a group leader during my final project helped me to adapt quickly to working in different roles.
Discovering New Areas to Improve
In terms of design skills, I realised that I struggled to create visually appealing and cohesive designs for my projects. While I have strong skills in CSS layout and coding, I lacked the ability to create visually striking designs. This made it difficult for me to create websites and banners that were aesthetically pleasing to our clients.
To overcome this challenge, I researched great UI designs to understand what users like to see on a website. I also practiced creating mockups to improve my skills while my seniors helped correct the issues.
Moreover, I found that I am still lacking in project management skills. To overcome this challenge, I seek help from my senior colleagues to provide me with guidance regarding these skills. I learned from my mentor that I should plan my time appropriately and provide a weekly progress report.
Design vs. Project Management
Both of these areas, design, and project management, are crucial for the success of any web development project.
Design skills are important because they allow developers to create visually appealing and easy-to-use websites that are aesthetically pleasing.
Whereas Project management skills are important for staying organized, managing time effectively, and improving work quality.
Expectations Vs. Reality
Internship has taught me about understanding the differences between academic setting and real-world web development setting. Prior to starting my internship, I had a certain expectation of what the field would be like based on what I had learned in school.
However, I quickly realized that the reality of web development is quite different from what I had imagined it to be.
My expectations were that technical skills will be the most important in the workplace. I also expected that the work is more specialized and focused on one specific area.I found out that soft skills such as communication, emailing, teamwork and time management are just as important. I also found out that the work is often involved in a variety of tasks and responsibilities.
I noticed the emphasis on search engine optimization (SEO) in the real world. We learned how to code websites in school, but digital marketing strategy was not mentioned or taught to us. Due to not having an understanding of digital marketing strategy, I lacked knowledge and skill in SEO strategy.
During the internship, I learned that SEO is heavily regarded and emphasized in the professional world due to marketing. From there, I learned about the technical and strategic aspects of SEO, such as code structuring, meta, and image optimization.
I also gained experience in using tools such as Google Analytics and GTMetrix to track and improve a website’s performance. I realize SEO is crucial and important to have a deep understanding of how to be successful in web development.
Another difference I noticed was the importance of project management in the real world. In school, I learned about project management theoretically, but I did not fully understand its importance in the professional world.
During my internship, I found that I was lacking in project management skills. This was particularly challenging when it came to coordinating with team members and aligning work with client goals.
I realized that effective project management is crucial in ensuring that a project is completed on time and within the schedule.
Besides, in an academic setting, most projects are based on individual work, and it’s not collaborative, unlike the real world. In school projects, we would split our tasks equally among all team members and do our own allocated tasks.
In internship projects, I worked in a team and understood the importance of teamwork and communication. I learned that to achieve success, it’s important to work well with others, listen to ideas, and communicate effectively.
Lastly, I learned that the field of web development is constantly evolving. In school, I learned about the latest technologies and trends, but I did not understand how fast-paced the field is. During the internship, I learned the importance of staying up-to-date with emerging technologies to remain competitive.
Advice to Future Web Developer Interns
I advise that you should expect to encounter differences between the real-world application of web development and the academic setting. It is important to have a strong foundation in coding, but it is equally important to have well-rounded skill sets.
For example SEO knowledge, project management, teamwork and communication, and the ability to stay up-to-date with new technologies and trends. To prepare, I would recommend taking relevant courses and familiarizing yourself with industry-standard tools and technologies like Prestashop and WordPress.
During your internship, you can look forward to gaining hands-on experience in a challenging and exciting field. You will have the opportunity to work on real-world projects, collaborate with experienced professionals, and learn from them. It’s important in seeking out opportunities to apply your learning, and use this experience to grow and develop your skills.
Overall, an internship in web development is an excellent opportunity to gain experience and establish a foothold in the industry. Be prepared to work hard, stay curious, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. With the right approach, you can look forward to a rewarding and fulfilling experience.
If you’re looking to gain valuable industry experience and work with some of the most talented professionals in the technology industry, an internship with eFusion Technology may be the perfect opportunity for you.