By Samuel Gruttadauria ’21

For the last semester, I’ve had the pleasure of interning at Makeway as a web dev intern. My primary task as a web dev intern has been to use HTML and CSS to create interactive web pages from flat design files. I was first introduced to this role through a project to create a singular template for individual blog posts for a new section of the Makeway site. Working twice weekly with developer Kate Coleman, she showed me the ropes of creating interactive web pages from flat design files. After gaining some confidence on this first internal project, I was assigned a straightforward, one-page landing site for a small local hardware store. This was a great experience because I was able to work through the entire process from beginning to end at my own pace, including all necessary pre-launch items before going live with the site. Lastly, I was brought onto a multi-page group project in which I fulfilled a similar role, creating page templates for roughly 8 of the site’s pages. The final project presented the opportunity to solidify the collection of skills I had developed and also exposed me to an accurately paced teamwork environment.

This role as a front-end theme dev was right up my alley in terms of working on skills that I had a desire to build upon. In short, the theme dev’s responsibility is to translate every detail from the page design into an interactive web page that’s scalable for different screen sizes and interactive with links and animations. By fulfilling this role, I was able to take my preexisting knowledge of HTML, CSS, and Bootstrap and refine my skills to create a much more efficient and robust workflow. In this position, I was forced to obtain a mindset which helped me pick apart “building blocks” or sections of a design’s content that I could group as an organized block of code. Developing the mindset of dissecting a design into “building blocks” or groups of content and creating it with markup and styling is one of the most valuable takeaways from my experience. Having these neat “building blocks” can be convenient when it comes to recycling one element multiple times throughout a site or when communicating to a larger group of dev’s what a specific “building block” displays in the viewport. The addition of Sass also drastically improved the overall cleanliness and ease of locating specific rules within nested HTML elements. With all the experience from my internship at Makeway, I feel much more confident targeting, manipulating, and changing specific stylistic elements within a site.

Even though my internship this semester was completely virtual, the team at Makeway truly made the most out of our experience together. By being virtual, the team felt a stronger initiative to integrate me into their daily activities to compensate for the lack of in-office time. This included a team group chat, a team task managing tool, and meetings twice weekly and once monthly for the dev team specifically. With each new topic or area that Kate and I discovered through my time spent there, she would always provide excellent documentation or reference material to answer any question I may have had. If I was still having a hard time, she was always there to get me one step closer to the solution and in many cases illustrating multiple ways to achieve a similar goal. In hindsight, Kevin Siebert, my internship supervisor, and the Digital Director at Makeway concluded that being completely virtual made me feel more available to them than previous interns because it’s not like they were limited to having me “in the office” for a set number of hours per week. Rather, if they needed to contact me outside of our set meeting times, they could just contact me via direct message, and I could answer fairly quickly and even jump on a call if necessary. This flexibility in schedule from the remote learning format combined with Makeway’s efforts to integrate me into their team resulted in a high-quality learning experience and equally beneficial relationship between the team and I. I can’t express the amount of gratitude I have for the team at Makeway for providing the opportunity to work as part of their team this past semester. This experience will undoubtedly help me shape my career path in the coming years after graduation and I’m very appreciative to have had this chance for exploration. To anyone with a serious interest in dev or design, you should consider applying for an internship at Makeway for a chance at being a part of an authentic experience of like-minded people working together to achieve the same goals.

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