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Meet the Spektrix Interns

Meeting our love interns, Ed and Crispin!

Here at Spektrix, we’re really interested in cultivating the talent of young people with passion for the arts and technology. Lucky for us, this summer we’ve had two amazing interns, Crispin and Ed, who have been a huge help to our team of developers. Let’s meet the chaps and find out about all the fun they’ve been having over the last couple of months at Spektrix.

Tell us about where you’re studying or going to study and what you do when you’re not here.

Ed: I’m Ed Carroll and I’m doing this internship in my summer before starting university, having just left Shrewsbury School in Shropshire, where I studied Maths, Further Maths, Computing and Physics. While I was there I took part in lots of extracurricular things whenever possible, such as performing with an a cappella singing group, coxing the school crews at events around the country (and even down the Henley course), and organising and running the school’s astronomical society. After getting my A level results a few weeks ago, I had my place at university confirmed and so in October I will be starting on the Computer Science course at Oriel College Oxford, something that I am really looking forward to!

Crispin: I’m Crispin Clark and I’ve been working in the role during the summer, between the third and fourth year of my Computer Science with Artificial Intelligence MEng at the University of Southampton. Outside of work and study I’m a big sports fan and like to go to events and gigs around the city.

What inspired you to want to intern at Spektrix?

Ed: I met Matt [Matt Scarisbrick, our co-founder] at a school careers fair in May 2014, where he was giving a talk about what he did and what life was like working at Spektrix. I was looking for an internship at the time and very boldly asked him if he had any openings. I was asked to come to an interview and from there I was offered a position that summer for a month. A year later I was invited back and I’m excited to be part of the team again!
Crispin: Because of its foundations in both technology and the arts, an internship at Spektrix held great appeal. I’ve had in interest in theatre and music throughout my life, frequently performing in youth theatres and going to gigs and having taken a more scientific path through university, the opportunity to work somewhere that binds the two worlds together really interested me.

What have you been doing as an intern this summer?

Ed: To start, and to help get to know the system, I was given the task of fixing a list of bugs that had been found during testing, with the help from Crispin. Once we had made our way through that list, we moved onto larger tasks as part of the new framework as a whole, before finally starting on features for the newest release of the system.
Crispin: I’ve been working on all sorts of things this summer. At the start of the internship, my main job was to fix bugs throughout the system. This not only helped the Spektrix team by letting their engineers get on with more feature-focussed work, but also enabled me to gain an understanding of how things were working. After the first couple of weeks, Ed and I were given a brief to improve the way mailings worked within Spektrix and add a concept of venue. This is the main element that we’ve been working on, although we have also been helping out where we can with the creation of Spektrix 2.

What has been the most interesting thing you've learnt here at Spektrix?

Ed: The most interesting thing I have learnt is probably how to keep track of all of the changes you are making to your code, especially when there are an entire team of people potentially all working on very similar things! Learning how to deal with conflicts (when two people have changed the same thing) has been really interesting and useful!
Crispin: One of the things that staggered me when I first took a look at the code for Spektrix is the sheer size of it! I’d never seen the code for a system like this, particularly one that was web-based, so this was a wake-up call about how much work really goes into building the web services that people use every day. I’ve also gained experience in new languages such as C# and JavaScript.

Tell us about any new tools you’ve learned about that have been useful to you.

Ed: I have been introduced to a tool called KDiff3 which helps with the resolution of the conflicts I mentioned above, and also something called IntelliJ idea, which is used for automatically generating a lot of the repetitive code that one would normally have to write out by hand. It also can identify and correct silly errors when writing code - something that makes my life a lot easier!
Crispin: There are lots of tools that are used to help the development team fulfil their tasks, all have which have proved incredibly useful. JIRA is great, for sharing bugs in the system and planning new features. The best tools are those that make managing everyone’s code simultaneously simple: Stash, SourceTree and SemanticMerge. The way all of the tools link together is excellent. You can identify a bug on JIRA, create a branch for it from the website using Stash, check out this branch on SourceTree and then launch SemanticMerge from there to fix merge conflicts when you’re finished with fixing the bug.

What are your goals for the future?

Ed: Immediately after this internship I am going to Japan with a few of my friends for the week, and then it is fresher’s week!
Crispin: The ability to build things is what attracted me to learn how to program, so I aim to work in producing services, and make the world a better place. I’m going back to uni at the end of summer to complete my Masters in Artificial Intelligence, which may guide me down a different route. I’ll try not to bring about the end of the human race with it.