This is the second installment of our Intern Diaries series, wherein each week our lovely interns try to give you the inside scoop on what being a programming intern at a high-tech startup is really like. Click here to read Part 1.
Hello everyone! I’ve been interning at SoftArtisans for seven weeks now both in technical services and now in development. Here is what I have to say (in brief) thus far:
If you’ve read anything in this blog, you’ll correctly ascertain that SoftArtisans is a tight-knit community of very smart and friendly people. They have many interests and are all really good at what they do. The company still retains a startup atmosphere with weekly company lunches, soccer games (which I haven’t really participated in… I’m pretty terrible at soccer), and an overall casual atmosphere.
But I think it would be more interesting to talk about the things you wouldn’t know unless you worked here. Firstly, there is a very strong emphasis on learning especially as an intern. You are encouraged to ask questions and to truly understand the product and technology that you are working with, which is absolutely fantastic. Secondly, interning at SoftArtisans means that you are a contributing member of a team. Your practical knowledge is developed and valued in the group. Thirdly, working is very self-directed. This means that if there is a point where you don’t have something to do, you are encouraged to choose a task and tackle it! Finally, you get to listen to music as you work and can have lunch on the Charles River. Yay!
This whole internship has been a learning experience so it is very hard to think of the single coolest thing I have learned in the last seven weeks. So I guess I will tell you the top three coolest things:
1. Scrum development: the teams here use a really cool development system called scrum. In brief, scrum involves breaking very large tasks into smaller, more manageable tasks. These tasks are then placed into order of importance. Every two weeks, a team sits down and chooses the tasks that will completed in the next two weeks. Each task is given an estimated time to complete ranging between 1 hour and 2 days. I’m leaving a lot out so if you want to learn more, I would look to the video that was shown to me.
I think the reason I like this so much is because you know what you are getting yourself into as you begin a task. You have a good idea of how long it should take you and the task has been focused (by the Project Owner). It also emphasizes that the team’s accountability. It reminds me of the way that I approach my homework (when I’m organized of course!). Plus, as a player on a rugby team myself, I just like the name
2. Git: I had briefly tried using Git last semester but abandoned it. I knew then that it was a powerful tool and useful to know, but for the scope of what I was working on and the time constraints, it was not as well suited for what I was doing.
Now that I am using it and slowly understanding how it works (after explanations with diagrams!), it amazes me! It is so awesome!
3. Make whatever you produce beautiful: I suppose that prior to this internship, I knew this subconsciously while working on various posters or tasks. However, while working in technical services, this fact became extremely apparent. Quality is undoubtedly so important but design is what will convince someone that they want what you have to offer and will keep them. Being able to put this fact into words was a really cool realization.
Phew. That is all I have to say now. More to come!