Missing in Action

17, 09, 2018

It has been a while by my standards since my last post here, I have been super busy with a really important project, it is pretty much complete now, so I figured I would give you guys an update to what has been going on.

What Have I Been up To?

I have been banging on about networking and reaching out to people over and over on this blog. In terms of getting better and finding a job I believe they're the two most important things you can be doing!

It doesn't matter how amazing you are at programming or whatever else for that matter, if you don't engage with developers, managers, recruiters etc you will not be on the radar of any of them.

I'm by no means the finished article in terms of being a software engineer - far from it, but I am really good at getting myself out there and mixing with people and I have started to see some real benefits of that.

The reason I have been inactive on the blog, Twitter and every other aspect of my life is because I have been working on a project that I was set by a company.

Details

I have been communicating with a local developer on Linedin for months, he has been a great help for me in terms of advising me what to learn, analysing the local market etc.

He hit me up a couple of weeks ago letting me know that his company were planning on recruiting Software Engineers and Associate Software Engineers, he informed me he was happy to refer me for the latter position, which is aimed at new developers with little to no professional experience (that's me 😃). The aim would be to rotate the associates into their regular development roles as and when their skill level dictates.

Of course I was super happy to hear this and we agreed he would speak to his manager about me applying for the role.

A couple of days later the manager wrote to me via email requesting a CV and provided me with a 'technical test' to do. I was super excited but also very anxious too as at first glance the test seemed to be way above my station and I feared the worst.

The test

I'm sure many of you will be interested about the details of the test, so you will find the details below, remember this is for a junior position, so this may seem simple for some of you, but it didn't for me 😁.

Acceptance criteria:

  • application must use the API outlined in the technical specification for the data
  • api key must be passed through requester headers
  • the page should replicate a real page, including a standard header, footer and Leighton brand name.
  • page must be responsive
  • each product should be displayed separately
  • a product must display the productId, name, brand, colour, description, sizes and a buy button.
  • a featured product should be made prominent at the top of the page and not repeated.
  • products should only be shown where stock is available
  • products with stock should only show options for the sizes where stock is available
  • placeholder images are used for product thumbnails
  • content must be accessible
  • codebase must be made available on a GIT repository

Technical Specification

-api endpoint: XXXXXXXX

  • api token key: XXXXXXXX
  • api token value: XXXXXXXX
  • api param key: XXXXXXXX
  • api param value: XXXXXXXX
  • featured product id: XXXXXXXX

Optional/Desirable:

  • MVC structure
  • Unit tested
  • CSS preprocessor (SASS)
  • angular/typescript

So, like I said, when these hit my email panic set in, at first glance I thought I could do nothing and was worried.

Breathe

Anyway, I started reaching out to various people for their thoughts and reassurance, this is where engaging with others regularly came in handy because I already had a lot of people I could call upon for help.

They assured me, while this is tough for a beginner it is definitely something I was capable of. I was advised to break everything down and get to work, so that's what I did.

Step-by-Step

I decided I was going to build my page with React, so I get to work getting the visual down, I was given a guide on how it should look. With that I got to work setting up my components and getting the whole thing to look nice.

Once I was happy with how things looked it was time to get stuck into the meat of the task, dealing with the API and getting the data onto the page.

From there I had to manipulate the data based on stock, sizes and more.

I got the whole project pretty much wrapped up tonight, I'll look over it again tomorrow with a fresh set of eyes as well as asking for feedback from others before I submit.

Use Your Network

I may have made this sound a little easy, it definitely wasn't I struggled a lot, spent what felt like days trawling through google and had various calls/chats with my network when I got stuck. Having said network in place made the whole task a lot easier. I really can't stress enough how helpful it is having a network of people you can talk programming with, it will help your learning no end.

Wrapping Up

This has been a long post, so I will end it here, I will talk more about the test, company and specific things I did once I hear back from them.

I'll also share the page and the outcome, of course I hope this leads to my first job, but I have learnt a hell of a lot from this process, so it's a win - (big) win 🙂 .

Wish me luck people.

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