By Ben Girvan
My GCSE year was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of the usual 6 weeks summer holiday to fill, I found myself having to fill close to 6 months of holiday whilst also being kept away from my friends. I had put a huge amount of effort into my GCSE revision and felt somewhat disappointed that I didn’t get a chance to sit the exams. There was a huge lack of purpose and motivation during long periods of inactivity. I’m really interested in web, software and app development, so I decided to seek out a work experience placement at a remote company to complement my passion and have something meaningful to do.
I’ve had an immensely positive experience during my two-week work experience here at Surevine, providing me with an exciting opportunity. Surevine set me to work on developing and testing an internal tool; something that is actually going to be used and isn’t just some throw-away project. The tool would integrate with Surevine’s internal communications platform to allow a UI interface to control defined AWS infrastructure using text commands. It also authenticates requests to make sure it’s from our system, as opposed to an external one. This project gave me experience with AWS Lambda and EC2 instances, as well as pushing and pulling from GitHub and deploying the code to the lambda.
The dev team I worked with was kind, supportive and welcoming and constantly checked in on how I was doing, which was really nice of them. It was a surprise to me to learn that I was their first ever work experience placement, as they seemed so prepared for me and really put me at ease. The fact that the tool I helped build will actually be used by the employees and have a real impact makes the project all the more rewarding.
I’m currently going into sixth form to do Maths, Physics and Computer Science at A Level, then hope to study Computer Science at university and eventually become a software engineer. This work experience at Surevine has given me a valuable insight into what it’s like, what it involves, and the challenges it brings. And hasn’t scared me off in the slightest.
I’ve definitely learnt a lot in my 2 weeks. How to work virtually as part of an agile development team, including scrum processes and agile techniques, such as sprint planning, daily stand-ups, pair programming, refactoring code, retrospectives, sprints reviews, not to mention the technical skills in AWS. Coming to the end of my placement, I prepared a presentation about my work to present to the company, which I felt nervous about but was glad I did because it helped me grasp how much I’ve done and how hard I’ve worked on this exciting project.
The opportunity to work with Surevine has boosted my confidence, given me a sense of purpose and built my technical skills in a way I could never have imagined. I now feel ready to tackle Sixth form and my A levels.
For more information about opportunities at Surevine, head to our Jobs page.