My name is Alex, and I’m a Software Engineering Intern at Administrate. I’m about to go into my 4th year of study at Glasgow Caledonian University. My degree is in Software Development for Business and I continued into 3rd year at University after my two years of study at Glasgow Clyde College.
My interest in technology can be traced back to my early teens when I got into gaming and started tinkering with computers and technology. Because of that, I was always the person who fixed all of my friend’s technical issues. It was something fun and interesting and my love for learning English helped me access many more resources to learn from. Solving problems is something that has fueled my analytical mind ever since and gave me a sense of achievement every time I found a solution.
Starting from simple things like creating servers for my friends to join me in games to eventually wondering about how programming works and looking up coding tutorials. Using technology always sparked my curiosity about understanding how computers work and how far things will eventually progress. The main reason why I ultimately chose a career in Software Engineering is that in my eyes it’s the perfect combination of logic and creativity.
The Recruitment Process
I decided to apply for a summer internship program because I wanted to put my experience from studying programming into practice and experience the industry firsthand. I found out about the opportunity at Administrate through a student job advertisement portal. The description of the position caught my interest and I decided to apply. Many of the things listed in the job post were aligning well with my interests and previous experience. After I applied I received an invitation for the first interview out of the total two that were part of the recruitment process.
The first interview I had was with Conor, the Executive VP of Engineering where he asked me about my projects, and my previous experience, and explained the process of the internship program and the culture at Administrate. This was followed by another interview which was a combined technical and values alignment interview.
Throughout the entire recruitment process, I appreciated the quick response and communication from Administrate. I was very excited when I received the offer for the internship and ready to start this new learning opportunity.
Valuable Lessons and Takeaways
One of the first things I realized is how difficult it can be to explain a complex programming issue/topic in a simple yet effective manner. I frequently listened to Senior Software Engineers at Administrate explaining complex ideas concisely and understandably. This also comes with time and practice but my time as an intern already allowed me to pick up better communication skills and provided me with some great examples.
Less is Often More
As a beginner, finding a solution to a problem can result in blocks of code that might work but are just way too long. Although computers are very quick at reading, humans on the other hand may struggle with readability when interacting with code. As an intern, I was no longer working on my projects so the importance of writing simple and readable code was put into perspective. The “less is more” attitude is something that will keep with me while writing my code in the future.
Learning About Agile
One of the best things about doing the internship was being able to see how software engineering teams approach their projects and deadlines. It was a great example of using the Agile Kanban framework to organize tasks and processes effectively. To see this being used in practice allowed me to see how helpful it is to visualize your work.
Working With Two Different Teams
Initially, I spent six weeks on my first team, which was an amazing experience that introduced me to the role and the company. Part of the internship program is that after week six I would move to another team to see how other they work. This allowed me to see the two different yet similar approaches by the teams and adapt myself to new environments. Both teams taught me so much about software development and teamwork.
Tips For a Great Internship Experience
I would encourage all students to apply for a summer internship program. University can give you a useful basis of knowledge for work but getting the experience of working in the industry especially if you are still studying is invaluable. It can show you how real teams approach projects and deadlines. And at the end of it, you get so much valuable experience and transferable skills that you can use throughout your studies.
For those who are interested in applying for an internship, you might find these three tips useful as a word of advice to have a great experience.
1. Asking Questions
This is kind of an obvious one but it’s one of the most important aspects of learning any new skill. When asking questions, it’s good to remember that you are not expected to know everything off the bat. Learning new concepts and ideas can be overwhelming at first. The more that you ask questions the more clear everything becomes. Asking makes you more involved and ensures that you are on the same page as everybody else.
2. Everyone is Always Learning
I think that Software Engineering is one of those careers where you never stop learning no matter what point you are at. Once you realize that everyone in your team is learning new things all the time it will change your perspective on things. There is no need to compare yourself to others because everybody is at a different point in their learning journey and at the end of the day you are there so you can learn from each other.
3. Understanding Your Tasks
It’s important to understand the tasks you work on, not simply writing code for the sake of doing it but trying to understand what changes you are making and why. Gaining more experience leads to confidence in making important decisions and understanding the bigger picture but this is the first step in that process.
Internship at Administrate
Overall, the internship taught me a wide array of new skills and exceeded my expectations in many ways.
Although it was a work-from-home position there was a great community feeling in the company. I enjoyed seeing people giving talks on different topics and engaging in channels where they could discuss their interests and hobbies. As well as that, since Administrate operates a four-day workweek employees are encouraged to invest a day in themselves. This concept provides a great work-life balance and I was able to enjoy this extra time with my friends and family. This was one of the many things that made the internship interesting and unusual.
I would highly recommend the internship as it was an amazing way to learn from others and see how a workplace operates!