How a team of interns built our new Purchase Order system

Friday, July 17, 2020

A group of our Intern Software Engineers took on the challenge of creating a new purchase order (PO) system for Liberty IT. In their first weeks with us, they took part in our Training Academy (a six week programme for all our graduate and intern employees) and progressed from that into building us a brand-new system, alongside their day-to-day work within their teams.

We’ve found out more about what happened from the people involved in the project – Matthew Breen, Harry McGoldrick and Marc Donald, Delivery Lead Paul Toner and Donal Faulkner who is a Senior Financial Analyst in our Finance team.  

Matthew is studying at Queen’s University Belfast, while Harry and Marc are both at Ulster University. All three have spent their placement year here at LIT.

 

Tell us about your experience at the Training Academy

Matthew – It’s a great start to build on your foundations from uni and solidify all the core concepts. You start working as a team, developing skills and learning from each other. We worked on the PO system project during the Training Academy and when we presented our work to the wider Finance team we all agreed this could be taken forward. Harry, Marc and I decided to work on this as a side project and we’ve worked in partnership with Finance over the past few months to make sure we met their requirements.

 

How has the project gone – what has helped you and what have you learned?

Harry – We used an internal framework to kick start designing the new application and then decided to use external pre-built libraries without having to design complicated elements. We also used another internal application to base code on, as it was already in production successfully – this was the biggest help in getting the new PO system up and running. We had a tech lead on the project from the Training Academy, and otherwise it’s all been our own work, with regular communication with the Finance team.

Marc – We’ve developed a full application – front end, back end, database – it’s been very different from what we’ve each been doing in our teams so has really allowed us to branch out. Building the PO system has meant we’ve used a tech stack we wouldn’t otherwise get to work on. Learning Angular at the Training Academy was something none of us had done in uni or used in our day to day jobs. All that learning will definitely set me up well for going into final year.

 

What has your intern experience been like at LIT?

Matthew – The last year has been such a great learning opportunity and it’s an experience I never would have got from uni. I’ve been exposed to so many new areas of understanding.

Harry – I’ve really augmented the uni experience with on the job learning – I’ve learned so much more being on placement. For me, it has been invaluable.

 

From a business perspective, what has been your experience of working with the team on this project?

Paul – I’ve been amazed by how the team have used their own initiative. They self-organised after completing the Training Academy and they clearly understood the importance of taking and responding to feedback to make changes. Everyone involved showed great technical understanding of domains and architecture – it has all been really seamless. These are the principles we live by in LIT and to have interns coming in already thinking in this way is a great sign for our future!

Donal – From start to finish it has been a pleasure partnering with this team of interns on this project. They understood the underlying business value in what we were trying to achieve by improving the purchase order system. They immersed themselves in the business process and the required controls that need to be in place for a system like this. I was impressed with their agile approach, as they responded quickly to feedback from both our finance team and our end user testing sessions. They took ownership of problems and were pro-active in suggesting solutions. Overall, it was a very enjoyable and positive experience.