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What Did You Do This Summer?

Passengers riding on rollercoaster

As I head back to school at Northwestern this fall, I am sure I will hear, “What did you do this summer?” 100 times. My response will be “Well, let me tell you about my experience as an apprentice at Source Allies.”

From day one, myself and four other apprentices were quickly immersed in a website project for Adventureland. The main goals of the project were: to redesign the website under the Adventureland Resort brand; enable users to purchase tickets online; and add mobile functionality by implementing responsive design.

In the beginning, none of us knew what role we would play in the project, and we learned that we would be committing code to production in the first week. It quickly became clear that as we learned from our full-time teammates, we would take on the same level of responsibility. The first week we paired with experienced team members and shortly after we were pairing with each other, just as if we were part of the team. The cool part was that we were building new features for a partner and not just doing menial tasks.

Our main focus for the summer was to create an online store for ticket sales. This required integration with an eCommerce platform. Through this experience, we learned that it isn’t always easy or straight forward to integrate with third party systems. We changed our approach several times before finally integrating it in a way that was functional for our partner and for users of the site.

We got to work with a lot of technologies in the short time we worked on the project. These included:

  • PHP with Laravel
  • Django CMS
  • Python
  • Vue.js
  • AWS
  • Docker
  • eCommerce Platforms

One of the main takeaways this summer was the proper use of version control using Git. We all realized we had been misusing it in our personal projects and will apply what we learned at Source Allies.

Some of the highlights of the project included:

  • Added 20 pages to the new Adventureland website
  • Integrated an eCommerce platform to sell tickets online
  • Wrote 25,000 lines of code and 1500 commits
  • Doubled the number of tests for the project

Our development processes utilized test driven development and pair programming. The project was managed using Agile development and Scrum ideologies. This project structure and organization changed the way we look at software development and taught us important industry standards. We learned more in two months at Source Allies than at school because we were able to contribute code daily. We also had the opportunity to interact directly with our partners and learned how to improve as consultants, not just as developers.

Source Allies has a culture that breeds learning and teaching, promotes the sharing of ideas, and welcomes questions. We all really enjoyed being involved in a real project, and Source Allies gave us many opportunities to learn beyond that. A huge THANK YOU to Darin, George, Noah, Scott, and Jodi for welcoming, teaching and immersing us in the project. We learned so much from all of you and are very grateful for the experience. We will be back next summer!

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