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  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    Was this a lot to expect from a new intern?

    I just started a front-end web development internship, the craigslist ad described it as a low pressure place with minimum skills required where they'd show you the in's and out of web design and development.

    When I got there, they basically gave me a Photoshop file of a nice looking website and asked me to make it in WordPress (which I had mentioned I didn't really have experience with). No one told me to set up a local server or download an editor or came over to give me a brief tour of WordPress. There was also no deadline for the project but I think maybe a week or two was expected (and I only work 18 hours a week)

    I tried messing around with things and made some progress, but I really needed to ask questions. The boss who hired me didn't seem to know wordpress, and the people who did were in far off cubicles working on there own stuff.

    I'm going to nicely email the boss today and explain, it's just not a good fit...but I feel really bad from this experience. Should an intern be expected to just start working full pace with something they haven't used before. Is WordPress programming so easy I should have picked it all up quickly and without a question?

    FYI, I just graduated with a CS degree but they didn't teach any web stuff (only java). I taught myself html, css, php, and jquery...but I'm not a polished professional by any means.


  3. #2
    Senior Member Ronald Roe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Oklahoma City
    Member #
    959 times
    Yes and no. I don't think it was too much to expect from an intern, I just think it was the wrong route to take.

    A little background: I'm a MSgt (E-7) in the Air Force. When a new Airman arrives in the section I'm in charge of, they really only have a cursory knowledge of what we do, but they have been trained on how to find answers, and they know basic theory. I'm imagining them being on about the same level with E-3 mission systems that you are in web code. It is fairly common to "throw them to the wolves". In other words, my junior NCOs will often set them in front of a carefully selected problem and ask them to make a good effort to solve it, nudging them along the way. Given that you actually have a considerably greater knowledge base to draw from, I think it's a fair task to ask of you. Plus, I've found that when you test people this way, they tend to learn so much more than just sitting them down in front of a manual for hours.

    That said, I think PSD to Wordpress is the wrong "problem" to ask you to solve for a number of reasons.
    1. PSD to Wordpress is not representative of a solid or even relevant skillset. If that's what this firm believes is required to prove your worth to them, they'll likely find it hard to get clients in the very near future, because they're a little behind the curve.
    2. Coding for Wordpress != coding for the real world. Yes, Wordpress does use PHP, but it's so heavily obfuscated that you can do it without really knowing any PHP. I did it for years. I've been making WP themes for some time, and have only recently gotten into coding actual PHP. Because of that, among other similar issues, banging out a WP theme from a PSD shows little actual capability for front-end code.

    Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with Wordpress. It's a decent enough tool, but it is just that: a tool in a toolbox. It is certainly a tool worth learning how to use, but to expect a freshly graduated young mind to know it from the outset just tells me they didn't put any thought into it, or they don't want to put any real effort into truly testing your capabilities. Either way, IMHO it amounts to laziness on their part.
    Ron Roe
    Web Developer
    "If every app were designed using the same design template, oh wait...Bootstrap."

  4. #3
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    Dec 2002
    Not from USA
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    2783 times
    Here's what I would do in your situation: ask the questions. Collar someone, interrupt them, do whatever you feel you need to do in order to ask the questions. But be aggressive about it, without being too obnoxious (a little obnoxious is good).

    One of two situations will arise:

    1) You'll get the help you need and the boss will be impressed that you're trying to learn it and figure it out and that you're taking the initiative.
    2) You'll annoy everyone, get no answers, find out that you're right and it isn't a good fit, and either quit the job or get fired...which isn't necessarily a bad thing in and of itself, because you wouldn't want to work in an environment where the people get annoyed with you by asking questions.
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  5. #4
    WDF Staff mlseim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Cottage Grove, Minnesota
    Member #
    723 times
    Are they actually giving you a real project, or just testing to see if you can do the photoshop -> wordpress thing?

    I would have them give you a website account to use as a sandbox and learn how to install wordpress and make it work ... just by using the default themes that are provided with wordpress. Learn how to install it, install plugins, work the admin dashboard, add categories, pages, posts, etc. Don't do any of the photoshop things until you have a working wordpress site. THEN, you can slice the photoshop graphics to customize your wordpress site.

  6. #5
    Member eddie70's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Bluff City TN
    Member #
    1 times
    Hi from Eddie P

    A little surprised you had no knowledge of WordPress at all. I found it hard to go anywhere on the net and not run into WordPress related stuff.

    Maybe you should have asked more direct questions about the work you'd be doing before taking the position.


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