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One Decade Down 04

Part Four - Interns

Tue Jul 28 10:30:01 2015


This is a bit of a story, a bit of a history, a bit of a documentary, and hopefully a lot of entertainment and theatre about Shadowcat Systems.

We are ten years old and to celebrate that fact this is the third of ten unique posts about Shadowcat that hold as a memory of our first ten years and a celebration of that decade done.

In the last chapter I spoke about our Extended Family, in this article I want to switch to our internal staff once again. I would like to talk a little about the Interns we have had and the great contribution they have made to the fold.

All Hail the First Intern

Like a good number of companies Shadowcat Systems has always liked to encourage new blood in the workforce. For us the use of an intern to work on internal and client development is a feature that goes back to our inaugural year.

Our very first intern was nicknamed Penguin on irc in real life he often went by the name of Jamie, or Keiren Jamie Cheetham. Jamie was a university graduate who was about to start a PhD in Physics. When we first met Penguin[0] he had a certain degree of understanding of PhP and we needed a person to work with us on a PhP project because none of the team liked working in that language for any extended period. So in the summer of 2005 while we had no real employees except for the directors we took on an intern for a few hours a week to help us on a project.

Penguin gave us some valuable insight into working with staff and stayed with us until his studies started in earnest. We have the pleasure of having a staff member who declared war on another planet and successfully attacked it.[1]

The Second was a Long Time Coming

We have to jump forward eight years before we see another intern at the Shadowcat Offices. This is a great regret, it wasn’t intentional it was just the way that events played out over the intervening years. Our next intern came in the shape of TBSliver, also known as Tom Bloor.

We first met TBSliver when he was a member of the Manchester HacMan collective. We saw an immediate potential in him that wasn’t being fulfilled in his role at the time. He became an intern because of his aptitude and initiative.

TBSliver started working for us on some internal trial work into Android and iOS programming. We wanted to trial the associated software and techniques and at the same time assess TBSliver and raise his level of skills.

This investment worked and after a few months we knew we had to take TBSliver on as a permanent member of the Shadowcat team and get him fully integrated into all our activities. I am proud to say that he is an orgainiser, pause contributor, developer and fully Shadowcat Community Team participant.

Tom has matured into a competent programmer and at the same time has been advancing his devops, system programming, design and project organisaing skills to be a valued and trusted representative of the whole Shadowcat Tribe.

Once, twice, three times...

The third intern to pass through the hallowed Shadowcat Arch is Errietta Kostala. Errietta came to Shadowcat on a one year placement as part of her CS course at Huddersfield University.

Errietta was already familiar to us via IRC (Instant/Internet Relay Chat) and the Freenode network and had cut her teeth on a Catalyst Application for an Open Source Community project before she had stepped through the door.

Erry quickly settled into the Shadowcat team and has been one of the principal forces in the development of She has also worked with a number of clients and has been part of the re-design of the Shadowcat site and entirely led the mobile design and implementation. She has also developed a number of web and phone applications and helped us to test and implement new technologies.

Erry leaves us this month but she will not be going far[2] as she will be running a final year project in connection with Shadowcat and related to a monitoring issue.

During her time with Shadowcat Errietta has contributed, both at work and in her own time, to a wide range of community projects with the Mozilla Foundation, CodeClub, Perl Community etc. She has released to CPAN and ran a successful club for schoolchildren who wanted to learn coding which was supported by Shadowcat in our commitment to community.

The Future

What does the future hold for interns at Shadowcat? Well that is a really big question and one that I am loathe to leave open. I think we may already be on the casual search for another intern or staff member of junior nature to expand into the team. We have a habit of developing skills and people as a company and so there is a constant quest for that.

While writing this we already have a young person getting some experience and we continue to be active across communication channels helping people to progress. So the future will undoubtedly see new blood[3] in the Shadowcat ranks.

-exunt mdk (once again with a slightly moist eye and oddly a rumbling stomach...).


[0] Yes I do just switch between calling him Jamie, Penguin or Keiren Cheetham on whim, keep up.

[1] Penguin once used a laser to bounce off, I believe, the moon and then Mars. I seem to recall him telling us all he had declared war upon it, this is by my recollection and the truth may be different, but it's my story so I can make up what I like. Anyway, I declare that to be a success. Shadowcat 1 : Mars 0. Your turn Red Planet.

[2] Well back to Huddersfield for her final year.

[3] Fresh, delicious blood.