As an intern with Oasis Orthodontics, I have been tasked with bringing our business into the 21st century and working with another intern from the U of A to devise a marketing strategy. Oasis has roots in a chain of orthodontic practices known as Empire, meaning that marketing was originally a non-issue and that dentists would refer patients simply because of the brand. Now, the chain has dissolved and, although they have been getting patients through word-of-mouth and personal networks, the well is beginning to dry up.
In order to re-vitalize the practice, I was commissioned to design an app that would allow patients to book consults more quickly and efficiently than before, as well as gather statistics on patient satisfaction. Originally, I was confident in my ability to create what I believed to be a simple program, but I soon realized I had underestimated my task. As the sole programmer, I needed to build, not only an app, but also a server to receive data from the app, a module to write that data to an xml file, and finally a website to read and present the data to receptionists in a useful way. Furthermore, with virtually no oversight, I have been responsible for creating my own deadlines and managing my own workload, experience which will no-doubt be valuable in future job applications.
On the 19th specifically, I had a very interesting day that demonstrates the breadth of my responsibility. On the 19th, our website, was hacked and a spammer co-opted our email address to send over 2000 emails. Since Gmail will not allow us to send any more than this in a 24 hour period, it meant that the receptionists were effectively locked out of their email. As the closest thing to an IT support person, I was responsible for un-hacking the website, calling Google, and adding new authentication certificates to our domain. Before the issue had come to my attention and while I was on hold, I worked on a way of authenticating users on the new server I was creating to allow receptionists to view patients availability for the next week without making that information public.
Over the course of my internship, I have learned a great deal about mobile app development, data-transfer protocols, xml parsing, multi-threaded file management, online session management, and Nancy server architecture. Most importantly, I have been able to do something that I love for 8 hours a day.