At Productive Edge, one of our favorite times of year is the summer when we get to meet a new group of interns! This summer was no different, although a unique experience working through a 100% virtual format. Our intern program offers students real client project experience, personally matched mentors to help in successful knowledge transfer, and the chance to collaborate over the latest technology on an exciting internship team project!
This year’s intern project centered on a situation that has become all-too-familiar to those who have adjusted to a work-from-home environment: perfecting a virtual team-building game! Guided by full-time employees who have had the experience of being past interns of PE themselves, the 2021 intern team worked together to build a Jeopardy game that would utilize technology to create a unique trivia experience for every playthrough.
Below, find out all the details from this summer’s internship experience, directly from our interns themselves!
Valeryia Pilchuk – The City College of New York, Computer Science
Jacob Slutzky – Purdue University, Computer Science/Data Science
Angelo Straight – University of Illinois at Chicago, Computer Science
Antonio Juric – Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Software Engineering
What has been your favorite part about interning at Productive Edge?
Angelo Straight: My favorite part about interning at Productive Edge has been learning new tools and meeting people.
Antonio Juric: Coming up with our own solutions to the problems presented to us in the Intern Project has been really fun. Usually, projects have a set of predetermined technologies to use, but we’ve been using whatever we wanted/needed to solve the problem, which has let us try out new software and technologies that we’ve never used before.
Jacob Slutzky: My favorite part about interning at Productive Edge is how much I have learned and grown over the course of one summer. Whether I was working with my delivery team mentor, intern team, or in a weekly training, everyone has been extremely insightful and dedicated to teaching me about a wide range of skills ranging from technology to consulting practices.
Valeryia Pilchuk: I enjoyed meeting new people in the industry and learning about their career paths. I also liked learning about a variety of projects that Productive Edge works on and even having the opportunity to work on some of those projects. PE provides a great feeling of a community where everyone is always ready to lend a hand.
What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned?
Angelo: The most surprising thing I’ve learned is that production-level software grows fast and you should stay connected with your teammates during the process.
Antonio: I was surprised at the number of meetings I would usually have in a week or even in a day. I was used to the idea of daily check-in meetings, but some teams have 2 daily meetings, as well as meetings for different projects, and then sometimes monthly update meetings. Some days my entire schedule was entirely taken up by meetings! I ended up enjoying the constant flow of info, but it was a shock to see how many meetings I would have to attend every day.
Jacob: The most surprising thing is how much our team has been able to learn and accomplish while working remotely.
Why did you choose to intern at Productive Edge?
Angelo: I chose Productive Edge because I wanted to work on new technology, connect with people and gain experience.
Antonio: I wanted to see what it was like to not only work with a software consulting company, but a smaller, more connected one. I’m a very social person, and I have a much better time working with people that I know more personally, rather than working with a large team of people I barely don’t know as well.
Jacob: I interned at Productive Edge last summer and fell in love with the culture, projects I worked on, and how helpful everyone was. It was an extremely memorable and impactful experience and I wanted to work on more cool projects and see how much more I could learn from the amazing teams here.
What team did you intern for? Did you learn anything new from helping out with specific projects from that team? What challenges did you face?
Antonio: I interned with the Federation team. I worked on an internal project for PE, in which no front-end frameworks were used. This forced me to remember and use my fundamentals, rather than relying on pre-made tools, which was a great refresher. I am also much more efficient when focused on a single task, so switching between that project and the intern project was difficult for me.
Jacob: I interned for the D3 team. Through working with this team I learned a lot about front-end and back-end web development. Specifically, I learned how to write and optimize test code in C# in order to improve the test coverage and readability of the project. The main challenge I faced was joining a project that was already far along and had a large codebase, however, my mentor helped to give me all of the knowledge and support I needed in order to contribute and learn.
Valeryia: I interned for the Mobile & More Team. I was given the opportunity to learn C# while working on one of their projects. It was exciting to be able to learn a language and not only see how it is implemented in a client-based project but be able to take part and write code for something that will be used by a large client base. There were also many challenges that I’ve encountered going into a project that big, from getting lost in the code, to simply being unfamiliar with syntax, but my mentor not only helped me along the way with my tasks but taught me techniques and principles that I will use throughout my career.
What are some key takeaways that you have gained from this internship?
Angelo: The key takeaways that I have gained from this internship is to keep learning every day, communicate with your teammates, and have fun.
Jacob: In the intern project we worked with a lot of new technologies that none of us have ever worked with before, however, we learned that through lots of communication and a willingness to help each other we could accomplish everything we set out to do and make a pretty cool project in the process.
Valeryia: One thing I’ve learned is how helpful it is to break down a project into smaller tasks. It was something that allowed me to focus on the task at hand and slowly build up and connect the project together from the ground up. Another great thing I’ve learned is the principle of least surprise. Now, whenever I write a method or a function, I try to take a step back and read the code as if it was my first time seeing it.
Have you learned anything new from the intern team project?
Antonio: I got to learn a lot more about Python, which I had only used at a basic level previously, and I got to learn about using different Microsoft services
Jacob: Some of the technical skills I learned are how to implement Azure Speech to Text and Text to Speech in a project, utilize Selenium to simulate a web browser, and how to web scrape using python. I also learned how to use Agile development with my team to make us more efficient and effective.
Valeryia: The intern project taught me a lot. The project gave me an opportunity to dive deeper into Python Web Development and many other aspects of Python. It also taught me the benefits of working in a team and how crucial communication is.
Does the internship differ at all from what your teachers/mentors have prepared you for?
Angelo: Yes, the internship is different. My professors did a great job at teaching me the fundamentals of computer science but this internship has taught me how engineers work together to build software.
Antonio: I had never used a Kanban board or anything similar for the assigning of tasks. We had simply resorted to verbally assigning tasks and then meeting back together in a few days to ask about progress. Having an idea of what everyone is working on and their progress is great for team coordination and keeping people responsible.
Jacob: Most teachers I have had prepared me to write code that works, however, this internship taught me how to make my code clean, readable, and scalable. This internship also focused more on working efficiently and as a team, as we learned about and practiced Agile development.
How were you able to stay connected with your team while being completely remote?
Antonio: The Interns and I used a Slack Direct Message Chat between the four of us for quick, informal communication, and we had a slack channel for more official communication, as well as talking to our managers. We also frequently had impromptu meetings when text wasn’t enough.
Jacob: My team communicated every day via Slack and also had daily stand-ups where we would update each other on what we did the day before, what we’re working on currently, and any roadblocks we may have.
Valeryia: Slack and Google Meet provided great help in communicating with my team. Slack helped me get quick responses and updates from my team, and Google Meet allowed me and my team to video call which helped me connect with my team and resolve issues within the project together.
After what you have experienced this summer, do you have any tips for anyone who is starting a remote position or internship in the future?
Angelo: Communicate with your teammates and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Antonio: Designate a place for working, and set up a ritual for getting into the groove for working. It’s all-to-easy to get distracted when you are not in the office. And make sure other people who might interrupt you during the day know when your working hours are, and let them know to not distract you during that time.
Valeryia: The number one tip I would give them, is to not shy away from reaching out to others and asking for help.
Any after college plans?
Angelo: I’m pursuing a master’s in Computer Science.
Antonio: I hope to work for a software consulting company, as working with other developers for clients is very engaging to me, and the variety in projects is nice for always learning more. I wouldn’t be against returning to Productive Edge in a more permanent fashion!
It has been a pleasure having you all join us this summer! Good luck in your future endeavors, We look forward to seeing how you continue to grow and impact the technology field!