How you got the job and why you chose Lighthouse Systems
I chose Lighthouse Systems as they had a good reputation at Brighton University for providing unique graduate and placement roles. A friend of mine had already done a placement year with them and couldn’t wait to go back after the final year. When I applied for the job I was interviewed by the technical director of the company which amounted to discussing what technologies would be interesting to use for the new version of the software that had just started development. The fact that a busy person like a director of the company personally found time to interview me and get my opinions on software development was a nice change of pace from other interviews I had in the past at other software development firms, and sold me on the culture of Lighthouse Systems.
What your role involves: typical activities and key responsibilities
In a nutshell my role mostly revolves around development of a new browser independent user interface for the latest version of the software we sell to manufacturing companies. I joined when the new UI project was in its infancy, and during that time I have had plenty of opportunities to develop new and exciting features, as well as design the architecture of the system moving forward.
Most days I develop features for the new UI using TypeScript, SASS and other web technologies, as well as develop the server-side application using C# and SQL to support the new UI.
What training the graduate has received
Lighthouse has a comprehensive 7-week training scheme that all new placement students and graduates complete prior to starting their day-to-day activities. During this time we were given an overview of how different manufacturing companies operate and use our software, as well as more technical training such as writing complex SQL stored procedures and C# scripts. After that I joined the team I would be working with daily, and one of the team members acted as my mentor giving me some extra training specific to my role.
If the graduate is on a structured/formal scheme, what that involves
Highlights of the work you have done
Recently the new UI has been nearing a state of completion, and I have been focusing on improving its performance. I performed a couple of investigations into browser performance, and since then made a number of changes to make the new UI a lot snappier and responsive.
What do you enjoy about their job
I particularly enjoy having a direct say in the development of the software at Lighthouse Systems. Every team member is free to volunteer their ideas and opinions, and many of them end up becoming a key part of the new version of the software we are working on. I also enjoy who I work with. Everybody has been incredibly friendly and laid back without being too casual.
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome any difficult situations – what support has been provided
As part of the development of the new UI were chose to update how some aspects of the system work. I picked up some work regarding creating new form field controls that rely on DateTimes. Due to the way the system is used by clients, the end user interacting with these date fields may be in a different timezone than where the system is installed.
Anybody familiar with timezones and software development knows how painful it can be, and the control I had chosen that allowed people to select dates didn’t consider that the timezone of the date entered by the user needed to be adjusted before being saved in the database. I had many issues trying to get this to work properly, and ended up confusing myself. Luckily my co-workers were more than happy to give me a hand, and I took some extra time to research how computers handle dates, so I could be more informed in the future.
Why you like working for Lighthouse Systems and anything that is particularly perky!
I like working for Lighthouse Systems mainly because I feel like a valued member of the team. My team has taken aboard many of my ideas and suggestions, and I have some freedom to choose what I work on each day.
Additionally Lighthouse Systems continually tries to better its working processes, particularly concerning the software development side of things. To this end myself and 3 co-workers were sent on a 3-day SCRUM training exercise, and we were awarded with SCRUM certification which we used to change some of the development practices of our team.
Oh, and we also get free lunch and chocolate each day which is a bonus!