Phili Day is an MSc Computer Science Graduate (having studied Biology for her Undergraduate degree), who recently undertook a 6-month Software Engineering Internship with our London team. As an intern, Phili took part in all parts of office life, from shadowing people in different disciplines to getting involved in some of our social activities. Read more as she describes her time at Tigerspike and some of the things she learned along the way.

Before Tigerspike

As I approached my final week at Tigerspike, I wanted to reflect on my time here and take a look at what I have learned throughout my 6 months as a Software Engineer Intern.

After receiving the phone call to say that I had been offered a 6-month software engineering internship within Tigerspike, I was ecstatic! Finishing my degree, moving to London and starting a new job in one week was daunting to say the least, but as soon as I stepped into the office, everyone made me feel like part of the family.

Having studied biology and computer science previously, I was uncertain as to what was to be expected in the workplace and of the processes that took place in a work environment on a day to day basis. However, the opportunity to apply the skills I had developed during my time at university in the real world was something that I was extremely excited for, yet knew I had a lot to learn.

My First Two Months

For the first 8 weeks of the internship, I shadowed various roles within Tigerspike. From Project Management (PM), Software Engineering in Test (SET), User Experience / Interface (UX/UI) and the Commercial team, I was able to gather a wide range of experience enabling me to get to grips with the operations of the company as a whole, and to understand how we all work as one. This also meant that I got to know everyone relatively quickly and experience aspects of everyone’s jobs firsthand; understanding their pain points and how they contribute to the business was a real eye-opener.

Within my first week, I was allocated a ‘buddy’, an assigned colleague to ensure that newbies have someone to talk to, and speed up becoming part of the group. This is something that made me feel comfortable within Tigerspike quickly and I was happy to have an excuse to go for ice cream and an informal chat!

Weekly “Walk and talk” meetings with my Line Manager also enabled me to learn more about engineering practices and how I could develop further. These were very helpful and enabled me to address any questions I had so they could be resolved quickly.

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Being part of a team

On-boarding into my first developing project was both nerve-wracking and exciting. Having only learned Android development previously at university, I was gently eased into both iOS and new Android practices. I was given plenty of time to get to grips with the basics of iOS development and saw myself gradually increasing the value I delivered to our client. This enabled me at the end of each day to feel proud of what I had achieved. Tigerspike nurtured my desire to learn new skills within programming and this is something that I am grateful for.

Initially, it was a scary experience merging some of my code for the first time. I soon figured that even when I got something wrong, it wasn’t the end of the world and everyone was on hand to help correct it quickly so I could learn from mistakes. Although this seemed daunting at the time, the personal growth I developed here in my confidence was huge and as I built this up, I was able to tackle harder and more complex tasks.

Throughout this project, I learned the basics of working using Agile Methodologies and the Tigerspike way of working. From daily stand-ups, so people knew exactly what you were working on, to retrospectives, reflecting on how we can improve things in the future. These skills that I learned will very transferable to any role that I take on in the future.

My second project had less focus on software engineering, and instead looked at concept building and design; something which I thoroughly enjoyed and I was glad to get insight into another type of work. This was one of my highlights at Tigerspike, managing to start and complete a project to a high standard and be able to deliver an outcome where I could point out what I had done and how the team had worked together to deliver it.

Culture

While at Tigerspike I was always learning. TM days, held once a month, are days dedicated to helping optimise how the company runs. My favourite TM day involved creating a product (in this instance it was a lawnmower). We had to do market research, design and build the product and then pitch it all in one day! These helped develop professional skills which I wouldn’t have had a chance to build before.

One of the best parts of the internship was the culture. From day 1, I was thrown into loads of social events — within my first week we celebrated Tigerspike’s 15th birthday party! Everyone within Tigerspike made me laugh almost all the time, from debates during lunch to Friday quiz escapades. This created an extremely friendly environment where I felt like I was able to express my opinion and contribute ideas comfortably.

A time when I was able to further learn from my colleagues, whether about themselves or about what they are working on was during flunch aka Friday Lunch. Here, everyone gathered round to enjoy lunch together and to get the whole office talking. I thought this was a particularly nice touch as it meant you were able to socialise with people who you don’t necessarily bump into that often in the office. Alongside this, every other week there were ‘Fortnightly Meetings’, offering an insight into what the company had been up to in the last few weeks.

This allowed me to gain a wider perspective of the company and enabled me to see how I was helping Tigerspike move forward. It was also great to celebrate everyone’s achievements on various projects.

Something that I was not expecting from the internship was to partake in ‘bootcamp’ at least once a week. Hopping along to the gym with fellow colleagues to get shouted (nicely) at was honestly exhilarating. I saw my fitness improve hugely and managed to keep going consistently throughout my 6 months at Tigerspike; something that even I was surprised at. I was also able to take part in a 5K Tough Mudder too, where money was raised for charity.

What I learnt

I learned a lot of helpful things during my internship and decided to highlight some of the key ones below:

Variety

One big thing that I have really valued from this internship is the opportunity to be involved and engaged in numerous different projects. Different sized teams allowed me to experience diverse ways of working, for example, self-managing teams to tech leads and clients being more involved to ensure smooth development. The range of projects allowed me to understand the huge differences involved and how unique they are but ultimately I always felt like I was valued and part of the team. I believe this variety has taught me different skills that I can bring to future projects and roles.

Responsibility

Take responsibility for your work and own it. Tigerspike made me feel comfortable in my ability and allowed me to take a high level of responsibility pretty quickly in a project. I was proud of the work I was producing and felt like I was always learning.

Ask Questions

At first, this seems scary but I quickly figured out it is vital! In order to help your team as much as possible, it is often easiest to ask for help on the problem. This not only helps save time, but it also gives you the opportunity to learn from the people around you, allowing you to rapidly develop.

Communication

Tigerspike is especially good at creating an atmosphere where everyone can balance informal and fun interactions alongside the professional communication needed to get the job done. Being able to communicate effectively allows people to share when they think they will get their work done, as well as ensuring relevant action can be taken if you are running ahead or behind the target. I also think it’s important, especially as an engineer, to be able to have some soft skills and communicate technical lingo effectively to a wider audience, definitely something that I have improved upon within my time at Tigerspike.

Overall, my time at Tigerspike has been great. I have learned so much and have really felt valued as a friend and a colleague.

Thank you for having me Tigerspike, it really has been the best!


Words: Phili Day, Software Engineering Intern, Tigerspike London

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