My Internship at Catapult During COVID-19

By: Jack Gill
18th August 2020

Hi, my name is Jack and for the last two months I have been an intern at Catapult. I’m a first year student at Bournemouth University, where I’m studying Cyber Security Management. I have been studying IT related topics going back before my GCSEs and in the sixth form I studied A Level and BTEC in Computing. Working at Catapult has given me a lot of experience about what it is like to work in this sector, albeit during these times when COVID-19 has been disrupting a lot of day to day life and the work has been fully remote.

The first step when I joined was getting set up with the communication tools the team uses on a daily basis - these are tools like Gmail, Slack, Jira and Confluence. Next I got my development environment setup. We use Visual Studio Code, BitBucket/Git, NodeJS and Docker. It surprised me how relatively easy it was to set this up.

Catapult have an Agile style of working, which was new to me and took some adjustment but, once I got into the swing of things, it made a lot of sense, especially when starting work in the middle of a pandemic. Using collaboration tools like Jira, Slack and Google Meet made it very easy to keep track of tasks and talk to people for feedback and support. One of my big takeaways from this is how handy having a notepad and pen can be, be it to take quick notes of meetings, or keep a diary to track my day to day work. This will definitely be something I will take with me for either personal projects or future employment, as it makes life so much easier when context switching between different tasks. The daily online morning meetings (standups) are also something I found pretty daunting at first, but they have made life a bit easier as they gave an opportunity to ask questions or figure out what I should be working on next.

A lot of the work that I do is writing tests for the UI to ensure that things work correctly. Without going into too much detail, it is mainly writing tests in NodeJS that mimic the user journeys using WebdriverIO and Chrome. This has given me a chance to learn practical skills and get more familiar with using JavaScript. Besides this I have also been given some smaller tasks to expand my skill set and learn more. These include research into different modules or getting opportunities to learn more about the workings of what other team members are doing and seeing different sections of a project.

The experience I’ve gained over the course of the last few weeks has really helped me and has set me up for what I should be expecting in the future. I have a lot of knowledge that can be taken away with me and applied both in my professional life and for working on my own projects; be it the handiness of keeping a log of what you’ve been doing or making sure that testing covers everything it can, to ensure a better end user experience.