Life as a MOO tech intern…

27th August 2010 by Denise

It’s a sad day at MOO HQ today, as we say goodbye to Will, our intern who’s been working with the Dev team. He joined us for two months while on a summer break from Cambridge University – and we’ve kept him busy since the second he set foot through the door! A perfect member of the MOO crew, Will fit right in with everyone, working on new parts of the site, and experimenting with the API. We wish him well as he heads off back to university, and thought we’d let him take centre stage one last time while he tells you what he’s been up to…


Having just spent two months working at the offices in London I feel as though intern doesn’t fully describe what I’ve just been through. I prefer the term ‘embedded student’ which seems to better hint at the exciting and challenging process I’ve just been through. Having just finished my first year at university the opportunity to experience and work in a London start-up has been eye opening as to the way the ‘real-world’, as our lecturers love to put it, works.

MOO has a great sense of community and when I arrived it was great to get to meet everyone, from dev team to marketing. I also got to visit the warehouse and the printers where the magic happens. Having first purchased MiniCards when I was 17 it was really interesting to see the specially designed MiniCard cutter which splits a big sheet of designs into a holder where it is all divided up by pack as if by magic.

I can also verify that your cards truly are hand packed as claimed, having (in a tradition followed by all new MOO recruits) spent a morning working in the warehouse myself. In terms of what’s been going on there’s all sorts of exciting stuff I’m not allowed to talk about but one of the main things I’ve been working on is the new API which has been a great opportunity for floating big ideas in the office.

A series of brainstorming sessions with people working in all parts of the business were held, and there have been all sorts of ideas as to what could be done with it. I’ve taken a few of these and built some of what will be, the first ever apps to use the API – which has been fascinating and offered a lot of creative freedom providing variety to the core engineering work.

For my time here I have been working as a developer in one of the three teams of programmers in the office. I’ve had experiences of working with existing code-bases, developing new core code and also making some mini-apps of my very own. Coming from a background of never having coded ‘professionally’ before it has been fascinating to get to grips with Subversion and working with the mysteries of other peoples’ code. Many of the languages I’ve worked in have been new or only briefly touched on and I now have a huge appreciation of the breadth of languages and stages to getting a fully fledged website going. PHP, JavaScript, JQuery, Smarty, DQL (not to mention HTML and CSS) have become a part of my psyche and a very stand out moment was waking up one morning having dreamt a dream that involved traversing a landscape base on Smarty (if it sounds bizarre that’s probably because it is).

There has been plenty going on over the some and some pretty memorable events have included the MOO Summer Party and the launch of the redesign. At the MOO Summer Party I appreciated – in ways only a student can – the drinks vouchers on offer (although not quite enough to indulge in the karaoke on offer) and the cooked breakfast the following morning in the office certainly provided a bonding experience.

As my time here draws to a close I can look ahead to seeing exciting new developments I’ve worked on being released. I hope I’ll be around to see them but I’m heading down to the very tip of the UK (a small cornish village called Paul) to rehearse for a show which should provide extremely effective internet detox.

No more shall I have the commute every morning but neither will I have the fun of lunch in the office on a Friday – or dev team planning poker (something which managed to remain novel and interesting throughout my whole time here). This year one of the pieces of work that forms part of my course is a group project and, at the risk of sounding akin to someone returning from a gap year having discovered their inner team programmer, hopefully I can take away what I’ve learnt here and use it to do something awesome. To stay updated on the API sign up to newsletter or follow us on Twitter; you can also follow me as I head back to university.

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