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First Internship Journey as a Front-End Developer and What I've Learnt

First Internship Journey as a Front-End Developer and What I've Learnt

Favourite Jome
Β·Dec 30, 2021Β·

11 min read

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In this article, I'll share my journey to how I became a Frontend Developer Intern at a company named Vasiti.com for 5 months, how I got in, my process of getting the role and what I've leant through the internship.

After a certain amount of years in college, most faculties make it compulsory for students to embark on the Industrial Training Programme, where students undergo supervised practical training (real-world training) in a selected industry to learn and get acquainted with some industrial skills. I had gotten to the year where I had to undergo this training which lead to questions like where would I like to work?

Since I was already into the Web ecosystem, I wanted to work for a company that was utilizing Web technologies, so as for me not to do something I wasn't interested in.

How I got the internship

In the desperate search for a place to have my Industrial Training (IT), I went online and searched for internship roles that were web-related and Front-end Development roles. I found a lot of remote roles, physical roles through platforms like Indeed, Google Jobs, MyJobMag etc then I applied to all I found meaningful, though I didn't apply to remote roles since I didn't want to work remotely.

Application process

I applied by sending in my resume and a brief write up, for example saying "I'll love to be an intern at your company". Upon doing this, I made some research about the companies that interest me, like what are they doing, their goals and their mission. Here's a preview of the message I sent to the company I worked with.

Internship.png

Funny enough Vasiti.com wasn't looking for an intern when I applied, they needed a Frontend Developer. But I took a leap of faith and still sent my resume by saying I'll love to be an intern at their organization knowing fully well that the role wasn't an internship role.

If you'll like to view the job description, responsibilities about the job when I applied, click the link here

So if you're looking for an internship role and you have a company in mind, even if they aren't looking for an intern just apply and pitch yourself, who knows, you might just get your desired outcome.

Though I didn't have a cover letter to support my resume, I made sure to include my best projects on the resume also I had the resume reviewed, all thanks to Victoria Lo and her wonderful article The Ultimate Resume Guide for Developers which set me to a right path.

If you're like to view the resume, click here

Just like that, I got replies from two organizations I applied to among several organizations. Here's the feedback I got:

Vasiti.com Front End Developer Assessment.png

BINCOM ACADEMY (Mobile App Trainee Developer -Internship).png

I ended up going for the company Vasiti.com since I first got a reply from them and I liked they were geared towards helping students grow as an entrepreneur as of that time, then I took their assessment which spanned 24 hrs, honestly, that day was a rush πŸ₯΄. The assessment was to build a testimonial page from the design provided and also to allow users to add testimonials.

That day I didn't rest until I got the web page ready and looking much like the design and also implemented adding more testimonials. I made use of React and Styled Components to accomplish the project, here's the live demo and codebase

Platforms that impacted my skills building web pages from a design template are frontendmentor.io and devchallenges.io. I higher recommend these two platforms, just get a challenge and build.

Interview process

On July 1st, a mail was sent to me, congratulating me on the successful assessment submission, including the interview date which was the next day 😊.

Interview Invitation for Front End Developer Intern Role at Vasiti.com.png

So I consulted YouTube on how an interview would be structured, what questions would be asked and how to answer them. Even though I did watch some videos and practised what I'd say, the interview didn't go as planned 🀣. You see, in those videos I watched, the questions asked weren't technical they were questions like "Tell me about yourself?", "What experience do you have?", "How do you handle stress and pressure?"

Here's one of the videos I watched: Interview Questions and Answers! (How to PASS a JOB INTERVIEW!)

I eventually didn't practice any technical questions for the role as a Frontend Developer, which showed effect when I got to the interview seat. Also, I didn't make more research about the company, what could be improved on their website, well I guessed I believed the questions in the youtube videos I watched were what I'll be asked.

The next day, getting to the hot seat, faced with the CEO, CTO and HR of the company was really intimidating for me, even though they hadn't asked questions πŸ˜‚. Eventually, after introductions, the questions started, firstly by the HR manager. She asked questions like how I got to know about the company, a brief introduction about myself and other questions alike.

Next off, technical questions by the CTO were thrown at me, mainly about React. Questions like what's the difference between a Functional Component and Class-based components, what's OOP, can hooks be used in a Class Component. But I think the very first question was how I would rate my skills with React from 1 to 10 and silly me at that time said 5.

Well, I guess I felt confident rating myself 5 in React as of that time and I didn't want to rate myself too low as for me to get employed, but really that lead to more follow-up questions that I couldn't give correct answers to because I was unprepared.

I felt bad for not practising enough, that when it came to the CEO questions I was down and while answering his questions I tried thinking deeply for an appropriate answer. I remember being asked by the CEO from the website what can I improve. Seriously, when I heard the question I couldn't think of any reasonable answer because I didn't take note of what could be improved.

I ended up talking about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and saying whatever came to my mind πŸ˜‚. Other questions like if I'll like to get paid as an intern at the company was asked and I eagerly said YES! 😁. Then I was asked how much I'll like to be paid, hmm, this was a tough question.

Initially, upon getting to the interview I had concluded I would like to be paid at least N30k per month, but weighing how the interview had gone I changed my mind and said N20k to the CEO. After responding to the question, I could see on the CEO's face a sign of relievement that I didn't go too far with the money.

I know! probably if I had went with a price higher or stuck to N30k as I planned I might have still gotten the role, but right now it doesn't matter

Landing the Job

After a week from the interview, almost losing hope of getting feedback, I got a mail on July 11th, welcoming me to the company. I wouldn't lie, I was really happy getting the mail that day and grateful I was accepted.

Then, I had to relocate from my family home to a new home closer to my workplace. The family I stayed with accepted and accommodated me very well and for that, I'm sincerely grateful to them.

While starting the job my salary was concluded to be N25k per month and I learnt a lot during the space of 5 months, so here are some of what I've learnt.

What I've Learnt

I'm going to share both technical and non-technical things I have learnt doing the 5 month internship

1. Asking Questions when stuck is one of the best ways to learn

There were so many tasks I was given, that I literally had no idea how to tackle and solve them. Even after my supervisor has taken his time, explaining how and what I needed to do, I might still not just get it right on the first trial.

There was this night, I got really frustrated and left the office angry just because I couldn't complete my task, this was around the second to fourth week working at the company.

The next day, when I got to work with a fresh mind, I asked questions to the other Frontend Developer who is a Guru BTW, and he helped me out fixing my issue.

The main reason I got to the point of being frustrated was that I was stubborn and didn't want to follow my colleague's method, well being strong-headed didn't work out well πŸ˜‚.

2. Own up to Your Mistakes

I've made some mistakes and pushed them to production πŸ€¦β€β™‚οΈ. Mistakes such as not changing an API endpoint, so when users search for a product they get the wrong product, not checking properly if the webpage is fully responsive on all devices, using a test authorization key and pushed to production.

Lots of mistakes, I've made but when it came to answering those mistakes, I learnt to admit that I was the cause of those issues and quickly I was able to fix them as well with some help from my colleagues.

3. Acquired knowledge on business terms

Every morning by 9 am, Start of Business (SOB), we attend a stand-up meeting, where everyone has to talk about what they did the previous day and what they plan to do that current day. Questions during this period were also allowed.

I got exposed to what each department of the company does, be it the sales department, customer care, marketing department etc. Through questions and just listening I learnt a lot.

I got to know about setting OKR's (Objective Key Results), KPI (Key Performance Indicator) and many more organisational terms.

4. New Technologies

I got to learn about new technologies I hadn't used before on the job, such as Next.js, Material UI, react-hook-form, SWR and lots more. Working with these tools daily got me acquitted with many concepts.

5. Reading an already written codebase saves you time

Reading my colleagues code, what they've done in the past saved me a ton of time. Whenever I was tasked to do something similar to what have been done in the past, all I had to do was go read and understand what my colleagues had done.

From there, I could manipulate their code and achieve what I want, a win-win situation right? But honestly most times I don't understand what some code does, once I know that the solution to my problem, all I do is copy and paste, a typical trait of a developer 😏

6. Stress and Fatigue comes with the Job

Sitting down all day, leaving the office late mostly around 6 pm - 7 pm, facing challenging tasks, all bring about stress and tiredness. Most days I felt like not doing anything cause the previous day I was stressed out.

So this is something you might experience

7. How to be a team player

Learnt how to listen to others opinions, instead of just jumping right into coding, how to comport what I say, how does it affect my colleagues, accepting when it is totally my fault when something is wrong.

I got to collaborate with the backend developer, getting API endpoint from him, what parameter/data should be sent back to the backend, how's the API structured and stuff like that.

Collaborated with the designer, the other Frontend developer and the Full-stack developer in other to achieve our tasks.

8. Working to get paid isn't easy

Yeah, this is something I learnt while working since this was my very first job and a means to make money from my web skills.

Waking up early, preparing for work by 6 am and being on the road just to get to work before 9 am and still getting home late mostly around 8 pm-ish or much more later every working day isn't easy. I applaud my parents for working and providing for me and my siblings, money is really hard to get.


I could go on and on about what I've learnt during does 5 months but I'll stop here, I hope you've learnt something from my experience if you've gotten to this point of the article.

Conclusion

In the end, I think I've acquired a good amount of knowledge from the company. I might have been lucky to get accepted but I went for what I wanted.

So I'll say, go for what you want, make sure it's a place you can learn something new every day, tackle challenging problems and eventually solve them.

I had a wonderful team to work with, people I could learn from, a wonderful supervisor that wanted me to grow and learn, a CEO that leads by example, overall it was a wonderful experience working at the company. Grateful for the push and complicated task I was assigned 😏. Thank you Vasiti.com

I'm also truly grateful to everyone that helped me in the process of looking for an IT placement, my parents, friends and family, grateful to people on Twitter that sent me applications to apply. Thank you all.

Thanks for reading ✌

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