An insight into the experience of Year In Industry students at Holiday Extras

Every year, Holiday Extras takes on placement students for a year from the University of Kent. They work alongside engineers in the business to develop their own skills and contribute to our live code bases.
So lets introduce them…

Charlie Cook

Pod: Margin Improvements
Goals for the year

My main goals for this year are to become better at programming and version control, especially javascript and the react framework to help me in both my course and future career. Holiday Extras already seems like the perfect place to accomplish these things. I also want to make the most of working in a large tech company and learn how to work in an agile way, as there are so many benefits. I would also like to work on some of my soft skills and have asked to be part of a presentation at some point during the year to build my confidence in public speaking.
How the first few weeks went:
The first few weeks have flown by so quickly and I already feel as though I have learnt a huge amount, both in my technical ability and also my knowledge of Holiday Extras as a business. I have been to workshops to build up a foundation of knowledge that I can progress from and I have had great fun getting stuck in to completing tickets. One of which went live and has been used by over 80,000 customers, which is a completely surreal and motivational experience. I’m really looking forward to progressing and diving headfirst into every opportunity that HX offers and seeing what is to come.

Pierre Charles

Pod: Self-Serve
Goals for the year

Before joining Holiday Extras I have only been able to use my coding skills on small, personal projects and assignments. My aim during the Year in Industry was to apply and develop my JavaScript skills. However, shortly after settling in I realised that there is a plethora of languages and frameworks used here. Now one of my key goals is to enhance my knowledge on all the platforms we use here, not only will this increase my confidence in the work I create but it will also open many doors for me in the future. Another objective I’d like to achieve during my time at HX is to learn more about React and AWS, this will allow me to understand how applications talk to an API and present the data back using creative designs. Besides enhancing my technical skills, I’d like to improve my soft skills, particularly presenting in front of a large crowd and being able to work and contribute effectively within a team. Holiday Extras is the perfect place to be in as there are a number of opportunities that will help me in achieving my goals and improving my skills tremendously.
How the first weeks went:
So far, my experience at Holiday Extras has been nothing but amazing! As someone who has never worked in a professional environment before, HX was definitely worth being my first experience! Settling in and getting familiarised with how things are done here was very easy to pick up, the company has a very relaxed environment and you are surrounded with a lot of friendly and supportive people. During the first couple of weeks there were a lot of workshops that covered how the company works, what the coding standards are and all the systems we use. The first few weeks went by really quickly, and it reached a month before we knew it!
There is a lot to take in and it is without a doubt nerve racking when you have so much to learn. The learning curve was steep at first, but it became very enjoyable. You soon begin to realise that you are learning a lot and at a very fast rate. I without a doubt think that my journey at Holiday Extras will lead to nothing but a wonderful experience. With the immense support we get from everyone, it has become easy to learn and pickup something new every day!

Morgan Mahan

Pod: Non-Merlin
Goals for the year

Firstly, this year I want to greatly improve my programming skills. I’ve never learnt any programming frameworks or how to use any APIs, so to be able to build production ready web applications using so many different technologies will be awesome. This is my first time developing in a team, as I’ve only ever worked on projects independently, so I’m looking forward to improving my collaborative skills, as I think they are just as important as technical skills in this role. The collaborative aspects of the role will show in my code as well, as I will learn how to write better, more maintainable code from working with the other devs.
How my first few weeks went:
I spent the first week learning about the frameworks used at HX, so that the following week, I could get into some work and not be absolutely lost. I have been getting to grips with the system architecture used here by pulling tickets, some that are even outside my pod, and either having a look around the system myself to fix the issue, or pair programming with another developer. The fact that I was allowed to work on tickets that any other dev would straight away was amazing, and if I get stuck, everyone is very eager to help, especially previous IPs! Everybody is super chill here.