Claudia Cilleruelo: My experience as a software development intern at OCC

Siobhan Farmer

We spoke to Claudia Cilleruelo about her experience as a software development intern at OCC.

Why did you apply?

As a second-year Mathematics student at the University of Oxford, I first came across OCC through their work on the QCovid calculator. I was drawn to apply when I discovered TraCer and ParkAI. Being interested in machine learning, I was fascinated to find out more about its use in TraCer for foetal ageing and in ParkAI to determine a Parkinson patient’s severity score. I was eager to get involved with a software development company which promotes scientific and medical advances as well as positive social action and progress.  

What role have you undertaken for your internship?

I was welcomed into OCC as a software developer intern within the Innovation Delivery team. I have been working on Ami, an online platform that connects those wanting to help in their community with organisations looking for volunteers.

Screenshot of Half Ami homepage

What work have you been involved in?

After getting over the initial hurdle of navigating the huge Ami code base and working with the MVC framework, the aspects of Ami I was involved with varied from day to day: from adding functionality enabling volunteers to log their hours, developing profile subsections of the volunteer account, developing the messaging system between organisations and volunteers, to making the system accessible for users with screen readers.

“Working in parallel with several developers has been immersive as I have not only grown technically, but I have also learned about standard industry practices like git branching workflow.”

We had a daily Ami team meeting to track the project progress where every developer was willing to lend a hand, and on a weekly basis, we would also liaise with the design team that was meeting with the local authority client to ensure we were meeting their demands. The size of the Ami team to me spoke volumes to the company’s commitment to social responsibility.  

What did you learn in your internship?

Coming from a mathematical background – I was apprehensive that having less technical experience would hinder me, but I soon discovered the developers at OCC were by no means limited to Computer Science Graduates and I very quickly understood why. I had programmed extensively in Python but had no prior experience in C#, ASP.NET or JavaScript, the 3 principal tools I would be using in the development of Ami.

“I was taken aback by OCC’s willingness to provide me with the time and resources to do this learning despite only interning for 6 weeks.“

Something that became apparent is the software versatility at OCC as every project requires a completely different set of languages and tools, but OCC does not shy away from training developers to learn the ideal tool for the project at hand.  

How did you find the experience of working at OCC?

When I first arrived, I was assigned a mentor, which was hugely beneficial to both my technical growth but also my understanding of the company. Very early on I met the managing director as well as several tech leads – who were all extremely welcoming.

“The great thing about OCC is that it is sufficiently large that there is budget, time and resources to enable developers to learn, but small enough that everyone is aware of the contribution that they personally make to each project.”

Not that I was expecting to be doing coffee runs, but I was surprised by how soon I was treated like another developer in the team.  

illustration of cogs with

Being part of the Innovation Delivery Team, the daily stand-up every morning gave me an opportunity to learn about the different projects the team was working on, as every developer in ID gives an outline of their day. There is a huge sense of collaboration as most developers are working on several projects at once, so will at some point or other have worked with almost all the developers in the team.

What will you take away from the experience?

As the internship has been so hands on, I have gained a real sense of what it is like to work on a large development project, and it has been a privilege to contribute to a team that is dedicated to turning ideas into custom software.

 Where to find out more information about our internship scheme:

If you would like to find out more about how to apply for next year’s internship scheme at OCC, please keep an eye on our recruitment page, or email to find out more.