WorkEx @ Cortex: a week in the life

it's not just a soulless corporate hellhole

2024-03-15 09:54:13


Meet Christopher “Nifty” Naftel. At just 17, Chris, a student at the Guernsey College of Further Education already has an impressive set of technical skills in Python, Java, C# and HTML. He’s also surprisingly tall. (Or are we all short? - ed).

He joined Cortex’s forces for a week of work experience in February, and in this blog, he’ll give you the run-down of his week and share what he’s learned.

Where did your interest in tech start?

I got introduced to Python when I was seven. I came across things on the internet and simply wanted to know how they worked. After spending little more than 3 seconds reading up on what coding was and having just listened to the first Harry Potter audiobook, I decided that this was the closest thing to magic that I could get, and I was hooked! Back then, downloading an integrated development environment would take at least an hour. I worked my way around that by coding on Scratch, which is a beginner-friendly block-based programming language, and that’s where it all started! I also learned a lot of the logic that I use today from Minecraft Redstone because it was downloaded on the family computer. Some of my past creations include a basic game of Yahtzee in Python for my GCSE in computer science, a math teaching game for children in Java and HTML and a hand sign recognition app in Python using OpenCV.

How was your first day?

My first day went quite smoothly, it mainly consisted of getting familiar with macOS and learning the different hotkeys to speed up my coding. I’d say the most challenging part of the day was climbing those five flights of stairs just to get into the office!

What did you get up to this week?

I worked on Cortex’s pool application written in Blazor (a Microsoft technology) that tracks and records games of pool for the office pool table. I found the work very enjoyable because I was able to get right into the code aspect of the job rather than spending a lot of time getting up to speed, I was also able to ask questions about code I didn’t quite understand, which was a big help. I decided to work on the mobile UI integration, no one had looked at that before I got my hands on it, and I got free range to make improvements. I got rid of some redundant code, and I made my way through a list of issues (although, I ended up finding more errors than I actually fixed!)

What did you enjoy most?

The main thing I enjoyed was collaborating with the team. There’s an atmosphere that makes it feel like a community rather than a group of coworkers. I’ve learnt a lot over the course of a week, here’s an overview of my key findings:

  • I learned more about JetBrains Rider, the .NET IDE has a lot of useful shortcuts and computer magic going on behind it!

  • I got familiar with C#; this will always be helpful with the direction coding is going

  • I explored lots of Mac commands and I now have the urge to scroll the wrong way on Windows computers

  • Software developers consume a ridiculous amount of caffeine!

  • What's next?

    I need to finish up my studies here in Guernsey and then fingers crossed I’ll get a place to study Applied Data Science and Artificial Intelligence at Breda University.

    What’s your top tip for other aspiring software developers?

    Just because you can write the code doesn’t mean it’s any good! Learning from experienced developers around you is a great way to delve deeper in to writing strong, maintainable software. I definitely got this from the guys at Cortex!

    Are you interested in getting work experience at Cortex? We're always keen to hear from like-minded people, so if you think you might be a good fit, please get in touch.