Confessions of the Netgen interns - winter & spring 2015

By Mario Pavić -

In the beginning, I have to say that Netgen crew is awesome! And not just as a team of professionals - every one of them is a great person. They are always calm and helpful, and I think they somehow managed to transfer that kind of behavior on me. Since my role was one of a project manager, that helped me a lot when working with my team.

Read more about our experience!

The idea

When Ivo told us the idea, we were all eager to dig into the project right away. Our task was to build a minimum viable product and we had three months to complete it. The idea was interesting to us and we talked about the main features and some things to consider before we started the real work.

The team

We started as a group of six, with two back-end and two front-end developers, one designer, and myself as a project manager and quality assurance manager. My first thought was: “6 people + 3 months = easy.

At first, it really was like that, but when we started developing the idea and the product we met many problems, including technologies, UI & UX design, and even teamwork.

I predicted some of the issues right away. One of them was communication. When you put six individuals who haven’t worked together, they will not communicate as they are supposed to due to their lack of experience working as a team. The Scrum methodology came in handy.

We had daily stand-ups, sprints, reviews, retrospectives, etc. At first, running things on the Scrum methodology was challenging, but we didn’t give up. As time went by, we’ve got used to each other and started to work as a real team.

We worked with eZ Publish CMS and Symfony framework. Working with eZ wasn't easy ;), but when we had even the littlest problem, someone from Netgen was there to help us.

I would say that my colleague Božidar had the most difficult task - he had the responsibility of making a simple and easy to use UI (user interface). Here is what he said about the project:

Last year, as a student of Faculty of Graphics Arts in Zagreb, I was looking for some practical experience in web design. Netgen announced their winter/spring internship and it was exactly what I was looking for. The objective of this internship was working on a real project, facing the real problems and developing teamwork skills.

The great atmosphere contributed to a pleasant stay and work within Netgen environment which motivated me to work even harder and learn even more than I thought I would. The lunch was also great, especially bread rolls - they were irresistible :)

Everybody was always in a good mood and eager to help, which is a precondition for a good and quality development, and I believe that is the reason why is Netgen is so unique.

In the end, I can say that this internship definitely fulfilled my expectations. I was learning a lot, not only from Netgen team, but also from my fellow students. This was a useful and necessary experience that will certainly help me in my future career. I'd like to thank Netgen for the opportunity to work in their team. I would also want to thank UI/UX guys who always had the time and patience to answer my questions.

Ivan was the patient one who did a lion’s share on front-end. Here is what he said:

The internship at Netgen was a great experience! I had the chance to work on a real project and to go through all the phases, from planning and design to development and testing of a product. The testing was more complex than I was used to and I also had the chance to work with a bigger team than before. I find this very helpful because it gave me the insight into what my job will look like in the future, and it will surely help me to adapt easier. I also got the chance to learn something about eZ Publish CMS, which is not so popular in Croatia, but is really powerful and a good choice for complex websites.

This internship was also a lot of fun because of the relaxed and friendly atmosphere. The team was great, always ready for a joke, but at the same time everyone knew when something should be done. Also, the Netgen crew was always ready to help whenever we got stuck.

I also spent some time with Netgen's partners from Effectiva Studio. The guys were great! They taught me some great practices while developing websites, especially when using JavaScript, and were always helpful and ready to answer all of my questions. Thank you Netgen and Effectiva, it was a pleasure!

Since all of us were inexperienced in the technologies which we used, back-end development was a very challenging part. My colleague Stjepan was one of the back-end developers and here are some of his thoughts:

The internship at Netgen was my first experience in an actual company. After the first month in Zagreb, I became familiar with the company's basic business model, the crew, and my team. Afterward, I moved to Netgen's office in Osijek, because of my obligations at the university, so I was working and studying at the same time.

Whenever I had difficulties with accomplishing my tasks, everyone from Netgen would help me. Most of the time there were Zvonimir, Mario, and Tomislav. Netgen taught me many things and instructed me how to go on in the IT world. I made numerous new friendships and once again I can only give thanks to Netgen for the opportunity I was given.

The guy who had the most difficult task in adapting to the project was Tomislav, who came to our team last. Here are his impressions:

I did not have too much experience with web development, I was happy to get the chance to learn something new. In the end, it turned out to be much more than I expected. I joined the project after a few weeks, so it was difficult at the beginning because the project was in full swing, but the great team, both the students and the Netgen employees, helped me to fit in as quickly as possible.

What especially impressed me was the crew’s willingness to help, even when they were very busy. One Skype message was enough for anyone from the crew to come into our room and help me with the problems I had. We worked on the project which is very interesting and have many elements that must work as a whole. I think we successfully finished the project. Of course, there are still things to do, but I am pleased with the job we’ve done.

I also liked the atmosphere, discussions about football in Croatia, birthdays on the terrace (cakes!), the view from the same terrace, especially during the warm days. It was a great experience! To the students who think about coming to Netgen: if you are reading this, don’t think too much, just apply.

The future interns

I mean, what’s there to lose with a big group of professionals, great work environment, great people? You can only leave Netgen with more knowledge than you can get at the same time at your college (the rhyme was not intentional :)). This internship was a great experience for all of us. We successfully brought the project to the end and certainly won’t regret Netgen experience.

So, the next time you see that Netgen is looking for students, do not hesitate for a second, just apply!

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