Warwick SU Job Review

Curtis Thompson Saturday 24th August 2019 Personal

For eight weeks of the summer I was working for Warwick Students' Union as a Website Content Assurance Executive. My job was to ensure the new website was ready to go live by reviewing pages, testing functionality, and coding some of the remaining pages. Fortunately, a lot had been done by the existing web developer, but there was still a lot of work to do.

Throughout this job I learnt a lot. As my job merged into a web developer role I was able to learn a lot of technical things. At the same time, being in the workplace gave invaluable experience. I have been documenting these experiences weekly throughout the job.

By reading through those notes, it should be easy to get a grasp of the technical knowledge I was able to learn or improve. Most of the coding in my job involved HTML, CSS, and Javascript - but I also managed to use some more complex PHP towards the end. On top of that, I gained experience with content management systems and version control.

Everything I just listed I had previous experience with, but was able to improve. For example, with Javascript I learnt to create whole pages with just that one language (instantiating and styling elements, and giving them functionality) as well as turn logic into code for functions such as dynamic content loading. With PHP I was able to make a web scraper.

Jobs page for Warwick SU

The jobs page for the Warwick SU website - one of the pages that I coded.

I was also responsible for testing functionality and making sure that pages are ready to go live by checking their styling and structure. Although I had general deadlines to complete different sections of the website, I was responsible for deciding how I tackle each section of the website. This means planning what I need to test, how to test it, and the priorities of each test. The freedom gave me confidence in balancing a workload, and the testing taught me many common web development issues and how they could be fixed.

Issues were noted in my testing report, and this was looked at during my weekly meeting with my line manager. I fixed some of the easier issues, but the meeting was a chance to discuss some of the bigger issues in more detail. I found these meetings extremely beneficial from a personal development point of view, as I could get specific feedback from my manager.

Old democracy page for Warwick SU

The old democracy page for the Warwick SU website was one of the pages that needed a major overhaul in the redesigning process - it was changed to student voice in the new website.

One of my other responsibilities in this job was to contribute to the web development meetings. The first of these was the weekly team meeting to discuss progress made in each area of development. Although I did not really contribute much to begin with, as the weeks went on I was able to talk about my own progress and question other team members.

The second and third types of meetings were linked. As the new website was being developed, the SU changed their policy for employees who want to create or edit pages. Therefore we had to meet with people from each department to explain the changes. These employees could then request training, which I would lead. Leading the training was a new experience for me. I would go in with a planned list of points that need to be explained, and then slowly go through. As I get an understanding of their skills or needs, I can then adapt the training mid-session so that it better suits them.

Being able to contribute to these meetings gave me a lot of confidence in my role. Leading the training sessions was also a great experience for me, as it is not just technical skills but soft skills too that are used there - and I am sure I will be able to go into another job in the future and perform a similar role with regards to training.

Overall, this job allowed me to improve both my technical skills and my soft skills. With regards to technical skills, I had prior experience with a lot of the technologies that I used but being in a working environment allowed me to do more complex or realistic tasks. My soft skills were also greatly improved through contributing to meetings and working within a team. Some of the meetings, in particular the training, were new experiences for me and I found that I was able to get a lot out of these that can be applied to a future job - where I will feel more confident that I can contribute. If I had the chance to do a job like this again, it is definitely something I would consider.

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