My work experience at PDMS as a Front-End Developer
By Regan Williams, St Ninians High School
I spent a week at PDMS, being mentored by Senior Front-End Developer Nick Collins. Here is my write-up of what I got up to in my time in my placement.
During my first day at PDMS, I was introduced to and got to use a tool called Adobe XD. Adobe XD is primarily utilised by PDMS' UX Designers to create what is known as 'wire frames.' A wire frame is used to show a basic layout of how a website will be laid out, key components and functionality.
I was then able to use Adobe XD to create some basic designs for a knowledge based application with the intention of bringing my designs to life later on during my week at PDMS.
On Tuesday it was time for me to become more hands-on with some of the development technology used at PDMS.
I spent the first half of my day learning about Angular. Angular is a front-end framework that speeds up the creation of applications by providing 'out-of-the-box' basics for developers, meaning that not everything needs to be created from scratch. There are lots of free resources available about Angular available online - so I followed a tutorial for creating a basic webpage with functionality such as buttons and drop-down menus.
During the day I also took part in ISO training, something that is important to protect the reputation of PDMS. I also attended some accessibility training, so that I could understand the accessibility requirements that all software and websites built by PDMS adhere to.
I spent Wednesday bringing together my website ideas to life based on everything I had learned so far. I was able to use Bootstrap which is a library that contains pre-written templates for elements to build into an app. The templates includes things such as buttons, tiles and carousels (moving image sliders). This meant that I didn’t have to take the time to tediously write the code for each element enabling me to make a lot of progress in a short amount of time.
On Thursday I learned about a content management system called Umbraco, which is built on .NET Core. Umbraco is the content management system (CMS) favoured by PDMS when creating websites for their clients. The primary purpose of a CMS is to allow a user to be able to edit the content on a website (titles, images etc.) without making edits the website code.
Although my work experience placement was with the front-end team, I also have an interest in back-end development. To help me understand what a back-end developer is responsible for, I had a chat with Tom Clague. He walked me through some internal PDMS software and showed me the code and explained how it worked. Tom joined PDMS through an apprenticeship while studying at UCM - this is potentially the route I'd like to follow myself, so it was great to hear about his experience of it.
My week at PDMS has allowed me to see how developers work and enabled me to get hands-on with the tools that they use. I have learned a lot, not just about PDMS as a company, but also about programming concepts that I will use in my own work as well as gaining an insight into security and web accessibility best practices. Nick and every other member of the team at PDMS have been brilliant to work with and have made me feel comfortable and welcome each day that I have been here.