Josiel Aponte ’21

Williams Students Online, Williamstown, MA

This summer, I worked with Williams Students Online (WSO) as a front-end web developer. My team and I took on the process of redesigning the website to be more appealing to visitors with more available features. Having done no real work with website code before, I began my internship by building a website using HTML and CSS, getting a feel for each of the languages. I then transitioned into learning to build a résumé website and web application using React, which is a library that extends the capability of JavaScript. These small starter projects gave me an introduction on what to anticipate during the internship, as well as getting me into the workflow of coding, and refinement with code reviews.

After familiarizing myself with the languages and what a typical day of coding with others was supposed to look like, I gained access to the main WSO. I worked on making the page more visually appealing and easier for someone to navigate. However, despite the website training I went through, working on the Facebook page was much more difficult than I had expected. The main site had implemented a lot of JavaScript methods I had not run into when making websites of my own. A lot of time was then spent relearning different parts of programming, especially the special quirks of JavaScript, React, and Redux.

The main way I was able to get through my struggles was simply talking with my supervisor and working at my own pace. With this support, I was able to get a large part of the website redesigned very closely to what was proposed. Now, I am in the process of making refinements to it based on feedback from users, as I was given the opportunity to continue working with this internship during the school year!

This internship has been filled with personal and practical learning opportunities to grow as a coder. It has opened my eyes to a different path of computer science that I never would have previously considered. I have learned to pace myself when it comes to learning new topics, and not be afraid to ask questions when I don’t understand something. Working with WSO this summer has definitely prepared me for the upcoming school year and future job opportunities. It has also reassured me that I am capable of doing great things through hard work and with the help of those around me. I am grateful to the WSO team, the ’68 Center for Career Exploration, and especially the Class of 1966 for providing me with this experience.