I survived a year at Shadowcat!

As you may know, I did a placement year/”year in industry” as part of my University degree. This is basically done in one’s third year of studies, before their final year and it helps get experience in the ‘real’ world before graduating.

I had the ability to do a placement at Shadowcat Systems, a Lancaster-based consultancy. I worked on projects for clients, helping them resolve bugs, write test cases, and add new features to their applications, which used a variety of technologies, including Perl and JavaScript.

I also helped develop ShadowNMS, a web application that uses OpenNMS to monitor the response time and availability of clients’ services, such as web servers, ssh servers, and more. My role in the project was a full-stack developer, as I worked in the angular front-end, the perl back-end, as well as in developing the PostgreSQL database schema. I led the development of the angular front-end, as I already had javascript and angular experience from working on Open Source projects.

My placement year gave me the financial ability to travel and see many new places, which I am extremely grateful for. I was given scholarships for many interesting conferences: Mozfest, London Perl Workshop, FOSDEM, and a Mozilla all-hands conference in Whistler. This allowed me to grow as a person, improve my technical skills and meet many new friends.

Working in the industry for the first time ever was tiring, stressful and difficult at times. But it was mostly awesome – I became good friends with my colleagues, whom I’ll grately miss now that I’ve left, plus I got to work in many different projects, see how a real company handles specific issues, and learn many new things about Perl, Catalyst, angular, and more.

I’m now very much looking forward to going back to uni for my final year – I see myself likely to get a first class degree upon graduation!

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