Internship at DPL: Alex's blog

by Alex Quamina ( Computer Science student at the University of Brighton)

In August of this year, I did a one month internship at DPL, working alongside the data analytics and market research team. This allowed me to hone my coding skills and gain valuable experience in the software development industry. As this was my first work experience at a professional tech company I didn’t know what to expect and what I would be walking into! 

To my surprise, I was warmly welcomed by the team at their cozy office within the WeWork Poultry building. After being introduced to the current state of the business and where we were on the software development cycle by Chris Ward (CTO) and JP van Tiel (CEO); I was handed a couple of tasks by Chris based on two important aspects of the business: market research and data analytics research. This allowed me to exercise skills that I had learned from my Computer Science degree course. I never considered coding as my strongest skill and was worried about asking for help but thanks to the team I quickly became comfortable with the new environment and felt able to ask questions when needed.

I learnt a lot from my mentor Chris. He had a lot of technical expertise and coding know-how but would always answer my questions in a way that was simple to understand as well as using the opportunity to teach me something new. Chris helped me to advance the coding languages I had picked up at Uni as well as introducing me to other more functional coding practices which will be very useful when heading back to Brighton to finish my degree. 

Moreover, through daily sprint meetings which I attended alongside Chris, I was able to see how an agile development cycle worked in practice rather than from a textbook which is useful for my future prospects in the industry. 

Aside from advancing my software development skills, I gained deeper insight into tech marketing and sales best practices from other members of the DPL team. This could come in handy in the future as, at Tech companies in particular, it’s highly important to know how to work alongside cross-functional teams to allow for the smoothest transition possible from product development to sales.

At the end of my internship, I was confident enough to prepare my own presentation for the whole team. This meant booking a room in the office building, condensing content to fit on a slide and improving the readability so that my audience is able to comprehend what is being shown to them without needing to have prior coding knowledge. The presentation went well and encouraged conversation within the team about how they would be able to use my code later on and how they could use my market research to their advantage. 

Furthermore, it meant that the work I had been given had merit and added value to the team so that I’d be able to walk away leaving my mark on the team. Overall, I am very happy that I took on the internship as it has given me life experience. Chris has been a great mentor and has taught me so much about different ways to program and has given me some great ideas for my final year project to take back with me to the University of Brighton.

I would like to thank the team in Poland for letting me sit in on their daily sprint reviews and the whole team in London for letting me work amongst and learn from them throughout this month !