Hi, my name is Renske and I got to do my internship at Dutch Coding Company. In this blog I’ll briefly talk about my experiences at Dutch Coding Company and about the product I developed during my internship.
I discovered Dutch Coding Company online when I was looking for a front-end internship. I was looking for an assignment that put the end user first. I’m fascinated by the human side of technology. For the past two years I’ve therefore been researching the way people interact with technology and how technology can aid humans. From the first meeting with Dutch Coding Company it was clear to me that they see this the same way as we do. For me this was the primary reason to apply for this internship.
The goal of my internship was to enhance the application process and make it more interesting for future applicants, particularly front-end developers. To determine how to make the application process more interesting, existing application processes in the market were researched. Most are quite similar to each other: the applicant sends their data through a form on the website. For development positions the applicant usually gets some coding challenge. With such a challenge the skills of the applicant can be evaluated.
If the steps in every application are usually rather similar, how can you attract the attention of more applicants?
To answer this question, different kinds of application processes have been researched. An interesting remark is that a lot of websites actually give tips for applicants to stand out. This usually involves submitting your application in a unique fashion, such that it pops out. The same principle applies to presenting an open position. If the vacancies of Dutch Coding Company would be more unique, they would stand out more than other companies. Therefore, the application platform should be unique enough to set itself apart from the rest of the market.
The first research concluded that coding challenges are a good method of testing the skills of developers. Further research into the ways challenges can be implemented in the application platform has been conducted. It turned out that coding challenges for job applications are not quite popular, but a lot of similar exercises are done for fun or to learn. The difference between the two is that hobby challenges usually involve some gamified components, whereas the application challenges are more mandatory in nature. If the application platform uses coding challenges, it should therefore be gamified to make sure it’s not such an obligation.
Using the gathered information, possible alterations to the application process to make it more interesting could be brainstormed. The ideation was done using design sprints and brainstorming exercises. We ended up doing two design sprints and the subjects in the design sprints were the same as the subjects in the research phase. During both design sprints, potential concepts for an application platform were tested. During one of the tests, however, it turned out that not all users stayed inflow during the research. Flow is the perfect focus during which an assignment is exactly difficult enough to keep the user involved, without getting bored or giving up. For the application platform, it’s therefore important the game has different levels of difficulty to match with the user’s skill level to keep the user inflow.
Ultimately we decided during one of the brainstorms to turn the application process into a game. This was chosen because it’s a unique way of applying for a job that is not used in the market at this moment. The game asks for the data that is needed for processing the application using a conversational interface and tests the programming skills using a series of coding challenges. There are three different coding challenges that all test front-end skills in some different way. The locations and people in the game are based on the actual Dutch Coding Company offices and team members, which gives the applicant a first impression of the company.
I enjoyed my time at Dutch Coding Company a lot and got to finish my studies with a lot of fun. I learned valuable skills in a company that has the same goals as I have. Besides that, I’ve expanded my knowledge of design thinking. Besides learning a lot, I also had a lot of fun with all my colleagues at Dutch Coding Company. The mentorship and involvement from the company had a major impact on the end result and helped me graduate with good grades.