How our academy prepares our interns for life as a developer

26th October 2020

Every year we welcome three final year ULPGC students to do their university work experience with us, their “prácticas universitarias”. In October we started our 2020 academy and although this is our fourth year working with the university this is the first year we’ve run it completely remotely.

The goal of our 3 month academy is to prepare our interns for a career as a programmer. We teach them all the practical knowledge and soft skills needed to take the step from university graduate to junior developer. 

Success for us is that every intern leaves our program feeling confident they have all the skills to apply for any junior developer position, whether in our company or any other in the world.

The Academy Course

Our academy combines both learning and gaining practical experience. Students actively study, attend training presentations and also work on a real-life project provided by one of our clients. In 2019 for example our academy built a serverless solution in Azure that scanned PDF food labels, extracted the text data and organised it in a database. In 2020 we will be creating an online order form in React that integrates machine learning to identify faces and crop out the background automagically.

Academy Content

Scrum – we teach the basics and apply it in practice. All the developers will attend and run all the scrum ceremony meetings from standups to retrospectives.

Team work – our developers work as a team, writing estimates as a team, pair programming, learning, performing QA as a team and submitting code as a team. 

The team at 200gr for intro meal

Presentation skills – As part of the program, our interns will perform a product demo each sprint and at the end of the program will present their work to the whole company.

Project Management – We use Jira to manage all our projects, our teams will learn how to use it and use it to manage all their tasks for the 3 month internship. This includes task and subtask creation, time tracking, estimating with story points and then analysing velocity, burn down and burn up charts.

User stories and acceptance criteria – Learning to write good user stories and acceptance criteria and later the tasks themselves is critical when working in a team. Our team attend classes in how to write good user stories and acceptance criteria and apply them in practice.

Communication – Communication is a key factor in team success and particularly true for remote teams. We teach our team how to use Slack and Zoom and how to communicate using Jira, Bitbucket and Google Workplace.

Git and version control – We use Bitbucket to manage our code. We teach all our team advanced Bitbucket skills and apply them in real-life work.

TDD – All our work is test driven. Our interns learn how to write good tests, how to apply them in a project and then use them in their work.

A new language – in 2019 our team learnt Angular and Azure, in 2020 they will be learning ReactJS.

English! – All our academy content and communication is in English so our developers not only learn the technical language but also get to practice working in a fully English work environment

All of our interns are treated as full members of our company, they take part in our random coffees, they participate in our weekly tech meetups and attend and participate in all company meetings and events.  As the focus of the internship is to prepare our interns for a career, they are fully integrated into our career development program, set targets for the internship and participate in regular 1:1s with our internship coordinator. Since 2016 five of our interns have become employees at Secret Source, and Zaida, our first intern, is now a team leader.

A remote academy

As all of our company is currently working from home we have had to adapt the program to be fully remote. This year the curriculum is hosted on Google Classroom and all meetings are on Google Meet. All written communication is via email, Slack and Jira. However, as personal connections are such an important part of team cohesion we’ve tried to organise some offline events too. To kickoff the internship we all met up for lunch at 200gr and we all regularly meet up (socially distanced) informally in our office, usually for our Thursday breakfast.

We run our academy twice every year from September to December and January to April / May. If you’re a ULPGC or bootcamp graduate looking for work experience and looking to get an early kickstart to your development career please get in touch and apply via our jobs page