As you learn a new domain, you begin to wonder how to gain valuable real-world experience that can prepare you for your future career. Externships are the answer.
At Practicum, we allow our students to work on an externship in teams, once they feel confident enough to test their skills in a real-life environment. All you need to do is submit an application and wait for the right assignment – typically, new ones arrive every few months.
In this piece, we'd like to discuss a real-world externship completed by our students: designing a landing page for Arqlite.
Arqlite is a company that tackles the problem of unrecyclable plastic. Their goal is to reduce the carbon footprint and face the global issue of plastic waste by promoting environmentally friendly alternatives to conventional plastics.
Arqlite uses collected waste plastic and produces a new type of plastic artificial gravel and concrete aggregate that may totally or partially replace mineral gravel or crushed rock in drainage, concrete, and precast applications. Apart from creating eco-friendly materials, they also produce eco-pots.
“The more aware you become, the more you feel you need to do something about it,” says the company founder Sebastian Sajoux.
Arqlite wanted to become more visible. The goal was to create a landing page that would tell potential customers the story of the company and explain what they do.
Our students were asked to create a website to promote Arqlite’s technology by offering their hardware as a service (HAAS) to three main audiences: construction companies that can benefit from producing their own eco-friendly aggregates at a low cost, companies producing plastic products (packaging, toys, etc.) with tons of scrap currently going into landfills, and brands looking into using more recycled materials in their products.
TripleTen organized a team of five students, with an experienced software engineer as the team lead. They had to shift from working independently on small pieces of code to a team effort.
The approach was based on decomposing tasks into small increments that students could assign themselves. This way, they could work independently and team up if the processes overlapped. Students devised the idea of organizing a Trello board to keep track of all the tasks.
Each week, the team had a stand-up session that lasted between 30-60 minutes, where everyone gave an update on the current status. Sometimes the workflow would end up in “crazy debugging sessions” for the whole team.
Even though this was a student project with a TripleTen team lead, students were able to self-organize, with one of the students stepping up and taking a lot of the leadership aspects to ensure that everything got done.
Most students had their first experience working on a real-life project with clients and colleagues. They came across many unexpected challenges.
Git was one of the common challenges: the fear of committing to the wrong branch, merging, and overwriting someone's code was something the team had to overcome with mutual support.
Troubleshooting bugs and finding the reason for weird code behavior also took days of research.
It’s hard to underestimate the value of real-life teamwork experience. Working collaboratively brings better and faster results. It also inspires people to try new things, knowing a supportive team is behind them, and helps you grow your professional network at the very first stage.
"My favorite part of this project is knowing that I've contributed to Arqlite's mission to "recycle the unrecyclable". Their technology allows companies to recycle and repurpose plastics 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, most of which would otherwise go to waste in a landfill," shares Ty Maraist, TripleTen grad.
I was a bit intimidated, but I think the fact that it was a team effort of debugging and working with git branches, as well as getting that actual experience versus just reading the theory, was really valuable. Jennifer Doctor, TripleTen grad
Most students mentioned a vast exposure to new technologies and learning opportunities. Under the pressure of a project, students tended to pick up new knowledge faster than others. They were forced to search for required information and tutorials. It helped them improve as a developer by providing new skills and technologies to add to their resume.
To be honest, I think the way programming is, I'm just gonna be constantly learning for the rest of my life. Jullie Bodette, TripleTen grad
Externship benefits both sides. The Arqlite team achieved to deliver a “professional and clean-looking” landing page.
I was surprised about it because it's actually telling what we do in a very simple way. Yet I know there’s nothing simple when it comes to coding. So I appreciate that. It's an awesome job; I'm really happy about it and definitely surprised by the results. Sebastian Sajoux, company founder
The team members will get their certificate of participation that can be added to their LinkedIn profile. But more importantly, they got hands-on experience working as a team with a real client.
Learn more about externships with TripleTen
If you want to learn more how apiary experience can benefit you and how you I use it in an interview, check out our video with TripleTen's career coach Christina Guida.
Be sure to apply to TripleTen today to enjoy the benefits of a guided study process and a supported search for a tech job.