Ria Blagburn

Written by Ria Blagburn

Ria puts her innate writing skills to good use by creating incredible content for each and every client we work with. "Never underestimate the value of a semicolon"


Interning at TKStarley: the Inside Scoop

This summer we had Alex in on a web development work placement, and he’s kindly agreed to tell the world how much he loved working at TKStarley!

First of all, I should probably tell you a little about myself before diving into all the great things I did at TKStarley!

My name’s Alex and I’ve just begun my final year studying LLB Law (yes, Law!) at the University of Derby. This may seem very odd; you might think ‘why is somebody studying Law yet doing an internship at a web design agency, shouldn’t he be at a solicitors or something?’

The answer is fairly simple. I’ve had a huge passion for web development since my mid-teens. I started by designing very simple websites in Photoshop and then concluded that I would need to learn how to code to make it into a functioning website. I suddenly realised that I was much more interested in the development side of things and continued to teach myself with online tutorials and books. When it came to deciding what to study at University I was torn between web development (computer science) or law. Law was something else that I also had a huge interest in. In the end I decided on law because I knew I could continue to self-teach myself web development, whereas I did not feel like this would be the case with law. Therefore, I get the best of both worlds!

How did you find yourself working at TKStarley?

Even though I was working with my own clients and projects, I knew that in the future I would like to work within an agency rather than freelancing on my own. At the start of my summer (the night before I was off on holiday actually) I found myself on the TKStarley website and was hugely impressed with it. As I dug deeper I was further impressed with the quality of their work and the type of clients they had worked for.

I instantly knew that I would have love to see what life was like within the agency and so on a whim, I sent TKStarley an email to see if they would let me hang round for a week. Fast forward two weeks and I’m sitting in front of the team explaining things that I’ve done in the past and why I deserve the placement. To my immense joy, not only did Tom (owner and managing director) offer me a placement, but also a internship for the entire of summer. I was over the moon!

What’s it like working at TKStarley?

From the very first day I was thrown into the deep end. I arrived, wide eyed, on a Monday morning and we begun with the morning meeting. I was given a quick overview of all the different clients that TKStarley were doing work for and the type of work that the clients required. After being overwhelmed and impressed with all the work that TKStarley were doing I was given my first client, a Hypnobirthing website. The designs had been done and I had to convert it to a coded design for the WordPress CMS. I saw this as a way to prove myself and so worked hard on the project until Tom (and the client!) were more than happy with it.

It’s been a joy to work in the office and the atmosphere is always ‘jokey’ and relaxed. Despite this, everyone works hard when the pressure is on and there are deadlines to meet. I personally found that everyone was happy to help when I didn’t know what I was doing, which was a lot!

Do you feel like you have learnt a lot?

Yes! Before I began the placement I really didn’t know if it was going to be way out of my depth, or the opposite, too easy and boring. Luckily, the work struck a good balance for me in a sense that it wasn’t so difficult that I couldn’t do it or too easy to be mundane.

Without getting too technical I feel that my HTML/CSS knowledge has improved dramatically along with my skills in PHP and the WordPress CMS. In-fact, I learnt, and loved, WordPress so much that I decided to convert my personal site to the system.

Where are you going from here?

I’m just about to begin my final year at university and so you will find me with my head in a book, or a pint in my hand until my final exams are over. From there I’m hoping to pursue web development as a career and so will be continuing to self-teach during this final year.

In regards to TKStarley, I will be keeping in close touch and completing extra work for Tom when they get too busy.

Any final words?

Just a massive thanks to Tom, Ria and Dale for having me over the summer! They became good friends and not just colleagues. It’s been a bit of a crazy whirlwind and I’m not sure how the time’s gone so quickly. I’m sure I’ll see them soon!