Published: 01 June 2017 It feels almost as though it was only yesterday I was given the opportunity to intern at university as a Sitecore content author. This was my first interaction with Sitecore CMS
and I knew very little about its benefits, why where we using it and if we were using its digital marketing modules especially inbuilt personalisation effectively?

Whilst studying, I couldn't really appreciate the software development life cycle until I experienced this first hand in a commercial environment. This was the first thing
I realised as an intern, the importance of a well-documented approach all the way from planning and analysis stage to design and build. It was crucial that no stone be un-turned as this would hinder development.

As I was about to complete a software engineering degree, I knew that the commercial world would be a challenge!

How could I prepare myself for this? Will I be ready? What If I am stuck? Should I wing it?

Although excelling in most of my modules and having a pretty thorough understanding of object oriented programming I felt that coursework, personal projects where not enough to give me the confidence to apply for a junior position and decided to equip myself in the best way possible.

I used my initiative and bought a few books, 'cracking the coding interview', 'Professional Sitecore 8 development' and 'pro mvc 5'.

With these books at by my side I went to work, working through examples. I found that textbook learning was always the best way as you follow guidelines and best practice quickly bringing me up to speed. I often refer to some of the material as a refresher.

Landing my first non content author role as a Junior Server side developer, it was time to put what I learned into practice.

I was happy to find that professional Sitecore 8 actually covers everything I needed to get me up and running. I built my first component with ease. Following best practice and got used to the environment quickly.

The most crucial thing I learned first week was the importance of version control. I had no use for GIt as I wasn't collaborating on any major projects however was introduced to Git with Source Tree straight away! This had answered a lot of questions for me, had I known the power of version control, maybe group coursework would have been easier. :)

Being in the commercial world, I realised that all my doubts and fears, where over thinking. The reality is there is no time for doubt and there is no reason to be afraid. I have a strong team that are extremely helpful. You will pick up a lot from just shadowing and find that the theory learned and practical tasks all start to come together. Although every day will be a challenge, nothing brings me more satisfaction than overcoming that problem and learning new syntax/skill almost everyday.

With over a year's worth of experience, I remind myself how it was pretty lucky to stumble upon the Sitecore CMS. I had previously heard of other .NET alternatives that are open source such as Umbraco, however I much prefer Sitecore.

Recently I have noticed that there are a variety of companies interested in hiring Sitecore graduates and would definitely recommend applying. Keep a look out for the Sitecore graduate schemes; however also do not hesitate to ask Sitecore companies if they are seeking to recruit graduates directly.

Good Luck!

Matt Njovu

Junior Server-side Developer


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