UIC Students enhance UIC website through Software Development & Delivery Internship
During the 2023 Spring Semester, College of Engineering student developers had the chance to work on UIC’s website, www.uic.edu, learning best practices, making suggestions for improvement, and implementing those suggestions under the guidance of senior team members. The purpose of the project was to improve the performance of the UIC homepage in three key areas: Accessibility, Security, and Speed Optimization.
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For this project we had our students optimize UIC.EDU. This project addresses a lot of issues that are mostly invisible to the world… you can’t really see accessibility and security, and these are easy to overlook, so we think it’s important for developers to learn and keep industry standards.Technology Solutions Web Developer|
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A graduate developer and two undergraduate student developers executed the project objectives using research, metrics, best practices and industry standards. Staff from Software Development and Delivery as well as the Security and Privacy Office advised on each stage of the project. As part of project requirements, the student developers generated research papers detailing their findings, proposed solutions, and post-implementation conclusions. Additionally, students demoed their code on a staging server to be reviewed by SDD staff and deployed in to production.
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In terms of accessibility, the team identified high impact goals and offered recommendations addressing low color contrast, empty header tags, missing image Alt text, duplicate IDs and more. The process included researching and evaluating tools such as WAVE, FAE, and DeQue axe DevTools and then providing a report of the results.
“Looking back on this project, we all gained a lot of experience in our respective areas and became like experts in knowing how to problem-solve, test, and evaluate in these fields. What I found very interesting and informative was spending time learning how the workflow and process operate in the web development field,” said student Michael Daniel Jedziniak, who worked on the accessibility evaluation of the site.
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I’m glad I worked on the accessibility evaluation of this project because accessibility is very much applicable in every career of technology and web development. Spending time on this project taught me how important accessibility is to a site and that it should not be neglected.Technology Solutions Student Intern|
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For the Security report, students worked jointly with the TS’s Security and Privacy Office to understand the expectations and provide an impactful report on Content Security Policy and Subresource Integrity. For both reports, students analyzed using recommended tools and provided two different recommendations to remediate issues for staff to review.
“This internship offered me an opportunity to gain real-world experience and build a professional network by providing a platform to showcase my skills and learn from experienced professionals in the field, contributing to my overall professional development,” said Sagar Patel, who worked on implementing Content Security Policy (CSP) and Subresource Integrity (SRI) on the uic.edu website. “I would highly recommend this internship to other students looking to gain practical experience in web security and enhance their skills in a professional environment.”
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Collaborating with colleagues, discussing project requirements, and attending meetings helped me improve my teamwork and communication skills. I learned how to effectively communicate technical ideas, listen to feedback, and work collaboratively towards project goals.Technology Solutions Student Intern|
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By working on the most important front facing website for UIC, our student developers are gaining invaluable experience. I thank the students for taking up the challenge and making excellent use of this opportunity.Assistant Director for Software Development, Technology Solutions|
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Students interested in participating in Technology Solutions internships should look out for job ads posted from Technology Solutions – Software Development on Handshake and UIC Job Board. Freshmen may apply to the GPIP Program.