My name is Buyaki Nyatichi and I am a rising junior pursuing a degree in Computer Science and German. This summer I am interning at Walla Walla Web Weavers in downtown Walla Walla. Walla Walla Web Weavers is a web and print design company that works mostly with non-profit organizations and other local enterprises. As a computer science student, my main focus at the company is web design. I applied for this internship for two main reasons. One, I wanted to explore web design as a sub field in Computer Science and two, I wanted to spend my summer exploring and learning more about the community in Walla Walla.
As an intern, my first task was to familiarize myself with the platforms used by the company. We use a content management system (CMS) called Joomla for most of our website designs. It does not involve coding; mostly templates and modules that can be manipulated to give the desired outcome. Alongside these, we also use cascading style sheets (CSS) which is a style sheet language used for describing the presentation of a document written in a markup language like HTML. Basically when we are working on a website, we often need to change the formatting, i.e, the font, style and spacing among other things. CSS makes that a lot easier to do.
During my first week at work, I was assigned a project that involved working directly with an auto repair body shop to design a website for them. Needless to say, I was not expecting such a big project on my first week because I wasn’t even well acquainted with the CMS yet, but there is no better way to learn than on the job! It was actually a lot easier to work with Joomla now that I knew exactly what outcome I wanted. I noticed that watching a bunch of tutorials was not effective because by the fifth one I had forgotten most of the content in the first one.
As any web designer would tell you, the first thing you need to have is a basic framework of what the website should look like, and this is often the challenging part. There were already a couple of templates that one of team members had put up so that made it slightly easier for me. After that my supervisor and I had a meeting with our client, where we asked some questions to help us develop content for the website. Within two weeks, the website was taking shape.
A typical day at work involves me getting there on time and for me on time is before time; 15 minutes or so. I usually bring my cup of Kenyan tea with me to keep my levels up as I work. Once I settle in, the first thing I do is write out a plan for my day then I check my emails and get down to crossing things off my list. In between, I grab a snack or two and talk to my teammates about life or problems I encounter with Joomla or the playlist for the day. At the end of my day, I say goodbye to my colleagues and step into the scorching Walla Walla sun feeling accomplished and proud of my increasing knowledge in web design and project management.
Experiences like Buyaki’s are made possible by the Whitman Internship Grant, which provides funding for students to participate in unpaid internships at both for-profit and non-profit organizations. To learn how you could secure a Whitman Internship Grant or host a Whitman intern at your organization, click here or contact Assistant Director for Internship Programs Victoria Wolff