Meet the Interns: A special day at the office

We’ve had the joy of welcoming four special interns into the Uptrends office: Daniel (16), Koert (15), Mart (16), and Myrte (15) from GSG Leo Vroman in Gouda (The Netherlands). The interns spent the day working on a special project for us at Uptrends. With the guidance of our development team, the young interns experienced a Scrum meeting, where they discussed the project, delegated tasks, and wrote and implemented the code. We are quite proud of the work they have done, and now we want to hear their honest thoughts about the project and their experience.

First Impressions

Of course, we wanted their first day in an office environment to be special, and there is always nervous excitement when starting a new job, and it wasn’t any different for our four interns.

We were very excited, but at the same time, we had no idea what to expect. We found the office very vast and light. The office is a very nice working space.”

The interns were ready to get to work, so we did what any reasonable employer would do, and we tossed them into their first development meeting.

The Project

Our developers had a project ready for the new team to tackle, and the development team didn’t waste any time putting the new interns to the test. The development team started their development studies right with the traditional “Hello world” coding assignment before they gave the newbies an assignment to gather system information from our 184 worldwide checkpoints. In the intern’s first Scrum meeting they were introduced to the project.

“We needed to write code to detect information about computers. We had to detect the brand, the RAM, the storage, and the CPU of the computer.”

Now that the interns had their goal, they had to work as a team to see the project through.

Planning

Our development team uses the agile development style know as Scrum. Scrum is a… well, let’s have the interns explain it.

“Scrum generates a lot of progress and saves a lot of time. You can’t lose time on a project that never finishes. The daily meetings prevent misunderstandings. It also helps to tackle problems in the beginning. The developers work in sprints of two weeks. After these two weeks, everything they have made will go live. They have a daily meeting for about fifteen minutes where they discuss what they did the day before and what they want to do that day. If they see any problems, they report them and try to find a solution. They didn’t tell us anything about the rest of the Scrum process, but they did say there was more.”

So, now you have Scrum in a nutshell, and the team of interns took to it quite quickly. The team delegated the tasks and got right to it.

Implementation

Each intern set off to complete the assignments given to them in the Scrum meeting as Junior Software developers. Of course, you can’t build something without tools, so we armed the interns with a basic set of tools to help them through the development process.

“We split up into two little groups and divided the work. Therefore we achieved more. We used Trello for the planning and communication, Microsoft Visual Studio 2017 for programming in C#, Uptrends to explore what kind of organization it is and what kind of product Uptrends sells, Google, and Stack Overflow.”

We honestly can’t choose which tool is our favorite.”

Having the tools and using them are two different things, and the team did struggle a bit at first.

“In the beginning, it was a hard challenge, but with a little help from Jan Willem and Hugo, we managed to make some progress. It was very hard to find out how Microsoft Visual Studio 2017 worked, and this took a lot of time. What made it easier is that we could copy a lot of code from Stack Overflow.”

Delivery

The team overcame its initial struggles, and they did eventually deliver a finished and thoroughly tested product. Their hard work has paid off, and their code will now go through peer review before going live at the end of the current sprint.

Reflections

With the code tucked securely into bed and the workday nearly complete, there was time for reflection both from the interns and the development team.

We liked working on our own project, writing of the code, and developing our own part of the software. In our opinion, we did a great job.”

Their day over, the interns return to their high school duties the next day. We asked them if they are inspired to pursue software development and how they compare their life in school to life in the office.

“This day was a lot more relaxed than our days at school. It was a very nice day and really worth repeating. When we are back [in school], we have to study another two years before we can choose our future direction. That will be a lot more fun, but then we also have to study another five years before we can actually start with a real job.”

The interns didn’t feel that the development team learned anything from the experience, but they couldn’t have been more wrong. When asked about their experience, the development team provided the following statements:

“We saw that they are much more of an Internet generation than we were, obviously. We totally didn’t have to explain that they could look for help on the Internet. We know that as well experienced developers (surely we know how to use StackOverflow), but the younger generation has that capability well incorporated in their tool belt.

“We loved to see the way they cooperate. Software development is all about cooperation. The kids learn to cooperate in school projects a lot (much more than our generation), and that definitely shows on days like these. By working together, they managed actually to get stuff done.

“Coding is fun. Yes, we did know that already, but for us, it was a nice experience to share the joy we have in our jobs with a new generation. We only had one day, but it worked out well, and we know that we created/reinforced a spark of enthusiasm. Both for the students as for us, the best part of the day was when they actually coded and added new functionality to our product.”

Closing thoughts

The interns told us that their most important takeaway of the day is to, “Work really hard, and discuss and evaluate everything.” That is a great idea we hope they can carry with them no matter which direction their studies and careers take them, and it is an idea that we hold dear here at Uptrends.  We don’t know if we could be more proud of the work the interns did today. Their enthusiasm is infectious, and we enjoyed every moment with them. This was a new experience for them as well as our development team, and we hope to do it again. The interns left this advice for any future interns we may have:

Definitely try to make everything out of your day because it is a very special experience.”

We can’t agree more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *