Published: March 25, 2021
Hi! My name is Ana Castillo Botto and whilst writing this I am currently undertaking a year-long web development placement at Barbour as part of my Computer Science degree. With the pandemic, I started off working in the office for a few days a week but now I’ve been working from home since January.
At 7 am I wake up; well, I try to. One of the perks of working from home is that I can get up later than I would usually have to. After getting ready, I have my breakfast. I usually like to make a cappuccino to wake myself up. I also have a playlist I listen to in the morning to hype me up for the rest of the day.
At 8:45 am, I begin to work. I open Teams and read my emails to see if I have any messages. I then start writing my notes for the stand-up meeting. In my notes, I write what I did the day before, and what my plan is for the day. I like doing this as it allows me to organise my thoughts and set my priorities for the day ahead.
During the stand-up meeting, I listen to what my team members are going to do for the day. This helps me keep informed and it allows me to know if anything they are doing will affect my work plans.
After the meeting, I start my tasks for the day. I play my working playlist as this allows me to focus. At Barbour, we use the Laravel framework for the web apps that we are working on. This is a framework that uses the language PHP.
Usually, I work on business applications that other employees at Barbour use. The one I am working on now is the Repair and Reproof app, which is used to process repairs of jackets. The customer service team, the factory team, and the finance team all use this application, so they frequently send requests for new features and improvements.
Sometimes when there is a request for a change in the application, we need to do it quickly, so we do this as a hot-fix. My manager sometimes assigns these to me. So, as a start, I create a new feature branch using Git. This is to separate the work I was doing before from the new work I have to start. An example of a hot-fix I did was adding a new filter to the jobs, which allows the users of the application to filter through US jobs and UK jobs. This was a request from someone on the US Customer Service team.
So, after coding for a bit I join the “Development Open Room”. This is a Teams meeting that is open during the morning, and anyone from the Development team can join whenever they want. There is no pressure to join but it is just there in case anyone wants to have a chat as we are unable to do this as we usually would in the office. Whilst being in the Development Open Room I continue to do my work and if someone joins, I have a conversation with them. I usually leave the open room before lunch.
When it is time for lunch, I go downstairs to eat. Usually, I have something quick to eat, like a sandwich. If the weather is okay, I go for a walk. I am lucky enough to live near a park, so I just walk down the street and go walk in the park. I think this is important as it allows me to add more structure to my day and gives me a chance to clear my mind. In the park, there is a small coffee shop so I get another cappuccino from there. I like to go there at lunch time as there are usually other people who are on their lunch breaks or elderly people, who always smile at you or greet you, visiting.
After lunch, I get back to work. If I am working on a hot-fix I continue to research the problem and code the solution. When I believe it is at a great standard and I have tested it out on my local, I commit the change to the branch then I push my branch into the Azure repository. After this, I make a pull request to the Development branch and then approve it so it can merge into the Development branch.
I then must test this on the staging server. So, I log into the staging server and pull the change using Git. Then I test the change again on this server.
After I see that it is working fine, I have to put it on the production server. To do this, I make a pull request to the Lead branch. Then I approve and complete the pull request, merging the change into the Lead branch. I then log into the production server (this is the live version that the users are using) and I pull the change onto the server using Git. I then test this change to make sure it is okay to use.
When I am done doing this, I tell my manager and he tells me to send an email to the stakeholders who requested this. So, I spend some time composing an email to send to them. I feel happy when I complete a task like this as it shows that I am making a difference in the company that I am doing my placement in and they appreciate the work that I do.
Usually, by this time, it is 5 pm, which is the end of my working day. So, to celebrate I take a nap.
I sometimes see what events the Student Union is running. Occasionally they do quiz nights or game nights, so I always like to get involved in these as it is a good way to reconnect with people from university or meet new people. Also, they always give away great prizes at these events!
Also, I like to catch up with my friends, this can be through calling them or just by messaging them.
Typically, I eat quite late, usually whilst watching TV. I do not have a specific show I watch at this time but whatever is on I’m happy to watch.
Then after this, I get ready to sleep. I usually scroll through social media in my bed for a bit before sleeping. By the time I put my phone away it is probably around 11 pm or 12 am. I always try to go to sleep early (usually I fail though).
So, this is a day in my life. Although every day may be a bit different this is the usual structure.
One thing that I think is great is that the University of Sunderland allows you to do the BSc Hons Computer Science course with a placement year. This has helped me develop as a professional as I have learnt a lot of new skills and I also have the chance to apply what I have learnt in my degree so far.
Ana Castillo Bottto
BSc Hons Computer Science