Internship with the Digital Communications team – Piotr Kaniewski
Piotr Kaniewski, a 4th-year chemistry student, has just completed a six-week internship with the Digital Communications team. You can read about his experience in his own words below.
Soon I will finish my six-week long internship as a Web Content Editor with the Digital Communications team. Although six weeks might seem like a lot of time, I have no idea how it passed so quickly and I already miss my time there.
It might seem odd that a chemistry student was an intern in the Digital Communications team: do they have a laboratory there? Dangerous chemicals? Well, no. But for a person who would like to work within the IT sector in the future, the internship was a perfect match. All the things I learned during my internship were useful for many potential career pathways.
Digital prospectus and my other tasks
My main task throughout the internship was working on the digital prospectus for future students. This involved updating around two hundred web pages using the University’s platform for managing their website. Usually, it involved someone reviewing and editing an entire page, so it applies to the current year. Then repeat for the remaining dozens of pages.
This year, the team managed to create web pages that need only a small amount of manual editing. The majority of information is now being extracted from central databases which put the correct content in the appropriate locations. Although the task might seem monotonous, I found it very exciting. Having a chance to facilitate the process and make it more time-efficient for people in the future was very motivating.
Yet, it was only one of many tasks I faced. One of my other responsibilities aimed to make mobile versions of web pages more accessible. While other team members made changes to the existing design and layout, I was responsible for making sure it was consistent with the old web pages. This way I could contribute to solving any problems I noticed before as a student, such as unclear layouts of webpages or broken links. Not to mention making the aesthetic better!
Thanks to the internship I also started to like sprints – and I hate running. Sprints are two-week intervals in which the team is working: at the beginning of the sprint, the team is planning the workload for the next two weeks. Over this time the team meets up for daily stand-ups for 15 minutes to catch up with the team, talking about what we have done and what are the plans for the day ahead. The sprint ends with a retrospective during which we discuss what was annoying, enjoyable, misleading; what do we need more of and less of. I really liked how structured and healthy the working environment was: talking about the ups and downs and seeking help when needed. The team could also be a textbook example of a healthy work environment: everyone was critical, objective, and understanding but most importantly incredibly friendly and helpful no matter what was the issue.
The internship also offered many useful workshops available to staff at the University. It was very insightful to get experience and knowledge about a field so different from my University course. The team even has a movie club! Although I did not manage to attend all the movie discussions, it was great to talk to other colleagues about non-work topics. The chance to have a break from work on a Friday afternoon to discuss movies is something I wish I will have in my future job. Definitely the coolest club around!
Although I still have no idea how the office of the Digital Communications team looks – to be honest, I don’t even know where it is – I got to know how it is to work in their team. During the internship, I have learned much more than how to do web editing and work with websites. The internship has shown me how an organized work structure should look like, and how each member of a team should lookout for another. From the very first moment, I felt at home with the team and it would not be possible without all my amazing colleagues – thanks everyone!