Placement Experience: Junior ELearning Developer, Sponge UK – Evangeline Papanicola

Evangeline Papanicola studies BSc (Hons) Digital Media and is currently on placement in her role as Junior ELearning Developer at Sponge UK based in Plymouth. Here’s how she’s finding her placement year so far…

Finding the Placement Role

A friend recommended Sponge to me as a great place to work – so I did some research into the business and was immediately inspired by their creativity. I decided to apply speculatively for a front-end developer role. I made one application to Sponge, as well as about two or three other applications to other companies.

Support from Creative Careers

Creative Careers was really helpful during my placement search. The Moodle page really does offer a plethora of useful advice. As someone who is not the most confident writer, I made sure to have my CV and cover letters checked by Creative Careers and the Careers and Recruitment service. Their advice was so valuable in helping me get my placement offer. I also had a practice telephone interview before my real one, which really improved my confidence.

Sponge UK

Sponge creates custom digital learning for some of the world’s biggest brands such as Toyota, AstraZeneca, Tesco, AXA and Krispy Kreme. Every solution is tailored to meet the clients’ exact needs, whether that’s onboarding new employees, training people in Health & Safety rules or developing the leadership skills of managers.

Sponge works across a range of learning technologies including elearning, interactive video, animation, learning games and virtual reality, and the company is always experimenting with new technologies to move workplace learning further forward. I work in the Development team.

The Role

As an employee at Sponge, I work as a Junior Elearning Developer. My role is to work as part of the development team to create Elearning modules using a variety of technologies; such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript (which I was already experienced in from my degree), as well as authoring tools software (which I had not used before starting my placement).

Elearning is a form of digital media that can incorporate any of the technologies explored on my course – from basic web development to new and upcoming technology, like VR and AR.

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Benefits

I’ve only been working here for about four months, but I feel like I’ve gained so much experience and learnt so much! My web development skills have seriously improved; I’ve learnt so much that my degree hasn’t covered. On top of that, everyone here is so lovely, it’s been a pleasure to work with my colleagues.

Concerns

Like most people, I was super nervous about starting my placement. I kept thinking “what if I don’t meet their expectations?”, “what if I’m not ready?”. But I honestly had nothing to worry about – Sponge eased me into my induction and gave me two weeks of training that wasn’t at all overwhelming. By the time it came to doing client work, I felt completely prepared.

Skills

I’ve learnt all sorts of new skills during my placement. For example, I’ve been trained to work with authoring tools software to create Elearning modules which is something I’d never used before. I’ve also had the opportunity to improve my existing web development skills greatly, I now know how to use the command line – something that wasn’t covered on my degree. I’m now confident in using Git, which will no doubt be extremely useful in future projects. I’ve even had the chance to improve my knowledge of JavaScript and feel a lot more comfortable using it.

Highlights So Far

Getting to work on development projects for such huge, well known clients throughout my placement has been amazing. Before starting here, I never dreamed I’d have the opportunity to work on such important projects. I’ve also loved getting to know my colleagues through social events.

Future

Doing this placement has really solidified my passion for development. I’m certain it’s what I want to work in, and I’d love to continue working as an Elearning Developer in the future.

Advice for Students Thinking About Doing a Placement

Go for it! It’s a hundred percent worth it. Doing this placement has taught me so many valuable skills and improved my existing ones exponentially. I can’t imagine going into my final year having missed out on everything I’ve experienced here!

Keep at it, don’t give up and look for companies that inspire you. Use Creative Careers – get them to check your CV and covering letters before sending them!

Want to follow in Evangeline’s footsteps? Apply for the 2019/2020 Junior E-Learning Developer placement role at Sponge UK here.

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