How our trainees helped us become more engaging when promoting Exove to future talents

One of the exciting things about taking part in the Exove Trainee Program is the opportunity to be involved in interesting and fun projects, much like our Cookie Clicker game this blog post is about. During the summer a new batch of eager trainees formed a group consisting of five developers, one DevOps engineer and two designers and got their hands dirty making an engaging game to be used in promotional settings such as different student events.

How the project started?

One day PeopleOps came to us trainees needing help to develop something for a student event held by Tietokilta (computer science guild) at Aalto University where several IT companies attended and came up with an activity for the students.

The initial wishes from PeopleOps were to make an application, a quiz or another quick and fun application that would also enable us to gather contact information of the students in order to share information about Exove, Exovians and our open positions with our newsletter (…and eventually lure them under our roof). Ultimately we came up with the cookie clicker as our application to offer the students something fast-paced that invoked a challenge. This application wasn’t just plain fun and games but we also included an incentive for the students to click as fast as possible for the highest score with the prize of movie tickets.

The technology behind the Cookie Clicker app

We had less than three weeks to build this application for the event so we started discussing technology choices and decided to play to our strengths regarding technologies to beat the short deadline. One of us assumed the role of Tech Lead. We decided to build the application with React.js in the front-end and Node.js and Express.js in the back-end. MongoDB was the choice for the database. Depending on each of the developers strengths we divided tasks based mostly on interest and capabilities.

Even though the event was already around the corner, we wanted to collaborate using similar methods and tools in this project as we had come accustomed to in the various customer projects we gained experience during the summer. Examples of these would be using Jira for task coordination and having development branches for each feature and one of us approving the pull requests before merging.

Since this project included trainees only, we were bound to have some blunders along the way. One of the first ones was the epiphany of including our wonderful designers in the design and development process of the application. However, this epiphany came after the developers had already eagerly started to build the application. Needless to say, the look of the application is now far better aligned with the brand of Exove and the experience of it much more pleasant. A designer also had great time being involved in the project:

The most fun part was that all of the trainees got to be a part of a project together while also teaching us about how project work is done at Exove.

One developer also commented on what he learned during this project:

One of the biggest takeaways was how fast we can build a MVP (minimum viable product). However, when developing further, some of the refactoring could have been avoided with proper design and planning.

How the app was received by the students

Our playful application was received well by the students who had fun with it as one of our Senior Developers describes:

I think the students had a great time trying to cheat the game (with our permission) and going further and further until they managed to break it (which seemed like a ton of fun too).

The tech-savvy students eventually broke the application since they were slightly encouraged and challenged to try and hack the application. We suspect that the virtual machine for the application eventually ran out of memory due to the students’ quick thinking and enthusiasm to break it – some even using their phones.

After the event, we of course started to think about implementing some anti-cheat logic to prevent the application from being too easily hacked in other student events coming up in the future.

If you are interested in breaking applications and preventing that, designing or developing websites and systems for our wonderful clients while being playful with your colleagues – take a look at our Trainee Program that has been running for 10 years already!

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Thoughts by

Remu Ollinen

Developer

14.11.2022

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