Being an Intern at Torchbox
I didn’t want to work in a big corporation - get given a desk, get forgotten and not do much for a year. I wanted to work with good clients. At the end of the day, you don’t want to work with things or people that don’t let you sleep well. You want to do interesting work with people that care about you.
In my second year at university, I asked Torchbox about an internship. I did a remote interview and showed them some of my work, then they offered me a job! I still had to complete my degree, so my university got involved and I started my official internship in my third year.
There are not many open looking companies that do Django, and Torchbox also has this great project called Wagtail, which showed me they have this commitment to open source software. I really wanted to work somewhere where I could improve my technical skill on Python and Django. When I joined my supervisor was on holiday, so I was immediately given loads of trust.
Interesting work and improving skills
The best project I’ve worked on was the Maano App for the World Food Programme. We rolled an android app to farmers in Zambia; it enables them to sell their crops. It has more complexity than websites because it's a mobile app and it was slightly unknown territory for Torchbox, and that’s made me better skilled in that area.
Tom Dyson always comes up with new ideas for me to do which are not always comfortable and that’s great, because it makes me do new things. For example, working with Amazon cloud or doing the Torchbox Beatbox Christmas card. I’ve also done some fancy data vis stuff for Trust for London - all the interactive graphs you see, that’s done by me.
Learning to work in a team for real clients
The senior management team are really approachable, I can say whatever I want and they listen. In fact, there is not a single person I don’t like, usually wherever you are there's at least one person not to like but everyone here is so lovely, it’s like a family.
The return leg of our 2018 ski trip
External communication at first was challenging. With routine progress calls most clients are not smiling at you, so you don’t know if they’re happy or not. I thought they hated me! Now I have more confidence; I’m not afraid of talking to people, business wise. Most projects I worked on were brand new, starting from scratch so now I know how to work with a team on a project - with project managers, designers and front-enders.
The things I loved most
I bettered my skill in programming and learnt Wagtail, I’ve had real-life experience on real-life projects, I got glasses as part of the sight check expenses, I provided on-site technical support for the RCA secret event in Battersea - that was pretty cool, I love the Christmas parties and the ski trip was one of the best holidays of my life, and the fancy coffee and doing pull-ups next to Olly's desk on the hanging stones, and dogs, dogs in the office is the best thing.