I joined the Helcim team this summer as their first-ever intern.

I had a great summer expanding my development skills and working with my co-workers in my first office job. Now that my internship is coming to its end and I’m getting ready to head back to school, I wanted to share some advice to other students aspiring to work in the technology industry.

How I made the most of my internship

I took on projects that were outside of my comfort zone even if I wasn’t completely sure how to work through them at the beginning. The benefit of doing an internship is that you get the opportunity to learn new things and apply what you’ve learned in school to real-life projects. By taking on new tasks that seemed daunting at first, I was able to expand my skill set and enhance my knowledge.

If I was faced with a task that I was unsure of how to complete, I would search for answers online. This benefited me in two ways, I would find the answer and solve the problem I was working on while improving my ability to be resourceful and find solutions independently.

This resourcefulness was helpful when I was working on the live transaction map that is now displayed in the Helcim lobby. This project was a lot of fun to work on and I enjoyed coding it because it was my first time working on a project that was this large. The live transaction map is even featured in one of our company’s vlogs!

Whenever I was working on a complex problem that I couldn’t find an answer to on my own, I would ask the other members of the Development Team for assistance. Working closely with your team members is a great way to expand your knowledge base by learning from those around you and also build a strong team dynamic. Embracing knowledge is one of the core values of Helcim, and the team does a great job of encouraging knowledge sharing so that everyone can become better at their jobs.

The Development Team works closely together both inside and outside of work. The team plans regular team building activities outside of work and I enjoyed playing badminton with a few members of the Dev Team on a weekly basis. Having a great team environment contributes to work being a fun place to spend your time. [To learn more about what it’s like to be a member of the Development Team at Helcim check out Vlog #18 Coding is Awesome]

I really enjoyed being able to incorporate the insights from the development team into my work processes. Often there are multiple ways of achieving the same result, and by consulting with someone who has more experience in development than I do, I was able to learn more efficient ways to build code. Now when I am working on a project, I can apply my knowledge and the knowledge from the team, and this has made me a much stronger developer.

Three things I learned this summer

1. New programming languages

Although my university courses have yet to touch on JavaScript, PHP, and HTML, I was able to pick up some of the fundamentals of each of these over the summer. Knowing some of the basics will give me an advantage at school over classmates who have yet to experience working with any of these programming languages.

2. Strong coding habits

As Nic mentioned in The Helcim Vlog #18, Helcim has a coding standard. He’s really strict about it so new hires often find a lot of their code gets pushed back at first, but learning and following the standard makes you a better developer in the long run. Because there is such a large team of people working on different projects, we need to make sure everyone is using the same processes and guidelines.

3. Real world experience

One of the core benefits of getting to complete an internship is that you’re able to gain practical experience in your field before you’ve finished your degree. The experience that I gained this summer working in an actual office and participating in meetings, team activities, and working on projects that impact the company has given me a good understanding of what work life will be like when I am done my degree. Working in an office environment is very different from coding in a school environment, so I am glad that I have that experience now.

If you are working on completing your degree or considering pursuing a career in computer science, I would highly recommend looking into work experience opportunities to help advance the skills you’ve learned in school. My summer internship with Helcim has set me up for success in my final year of school and given me more confidence in my development skills for when I graduate.

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