If I were asked to describe how my internship at endjin was, I would express how exciting and eye-opening it was to be working in tech. Although if I were asked to explain what I had learnt during my summer internship it would be a lot longer.
Working with endjin I was able to gain experience with lots of different technical skills and what I feel are as important, the interpersonal skills that come with working in a company that encourages teamwork, learning and development.
I was thinking about how valuable having work experience is and how it differs from education. This year at university we were presented with the idea that work and learning are very individual as we must be quantitatively measured and given a score; you work alone on exam questions and coursework, even in team projects most of the work is divided up for everyone to work individually on.
I believe being able to work independently is a brilliant skill to develop as it promotes motivation and organisation, especially when working in a business, being able to do your work without direct instruction is important.
Simultaneously team-working is even more valuable as it's about achieving a goal, which I experienced at endjin when we were programming, having one person driving the code (sharing their screen and editing the code) whilst the other working with the (suggesting what to tackle next or any errors might have been made) meant we could get through problems much quicker.
My internship showed me just how indispensable team working skills are; I recognised the value of communication. For example, each morning everyone writes a daily update which includes our progress from the day prior and plan for the day ahead.
At the end of each week there is a show and tell session where anyone can present what they have achieved that week. Along with the other interns, we present our weekly progress to the team and then get asked questions or suggestions which always spark ideas which we can take onboard to the next week.
Our main intern project was working to improve endjin's Data Strategy Briefing offering. This involved creating a dataset of 'fake' representative customers based on real data of several open data sets (census and land registry).
From the data we created we put it in Power BI to create graphs and represent it in a meaningful way. It was the highlight of my day when I discovered you could interact with graphs to drill through to the data it was presenting or highlight certain parts of the graph depending on a certain variable; you can explore the data and discover new insights.
Prior to my internship, I had the impression that graphs were created to show trends in data and to get an overall summary of what it represents. Although, now I understand there are many more uses for representing data, for example when we presented our data in a graph and saw that all retired people were below age 65 which (I am sure many people would like it) just was not representative. So, by presenting data in graphs and looking at trends and outliers, it is easier to get a better hold on any errors, therefore making it easier to identify issues and what went wrong.
From University to Work
I am about to start my second year of Computer Science (CS) at the University of York so have had some prior knowledge of CS. Going into a data/software engineer internship I did not know how what I had learnt in the year was going to be applied or used.
Since being at endjin I have learnt it is vastly different when put into practice; the technical aspect is the same but the way its applied is different, rather than trying to solve individual small problems it is thinking about how those problems all come together to achieve the final target.
This includes constantly re-evaluating the way we are approaching the problem which may help us to realise that the problem is different to what we initially thought resulting in a better outcome in the end.
"...the way its applied is different, rather than trying to solve individual small problems it is thinking about how those problems all come together to achieve the final target"
I have learnt that you cannot write perfect code the first time, there is always room to refactor or reconsider the way have written your code.
At University, during our programming tasks, the need for documentation is always highlighted, explaining why it is important but until put into practice on a group project or code that is edited jointly, I never realised how much it IS really needed. By including docstrings and a 'readme' in a project can save tonnes of time that could have been spent trying to work out what a whole project of code did.
Technical Skills I developed during my internship
I have absolutely loved every minute of my internship at endjin, every day is completely different to the one before and the people are amazing.
I was lucky enough to be able to attend the company lunch to my astonishment where we enjoyed a 7-course meal (I found myself a bit lost with the 4 sets of cutleries and 3 different glasses in front of me!) and excitingly I got to meet everyone for the first time in person.
I did not know what to expect going into an internship or what I could learn, but for both, it exceeded my expectations. I am super excited to go into my second year of university with all the new skills I have gained and would love any more opportunities to work with endjin.