This year at Datalogics we had our first virtual Engineering internship program. I spent some time with our Engineering interns Dana, Jackson, and Dhinesh, and asked them a few questions on their virtual internship experience and what they learned! Here are their responses:
How was your experience participating in a virtual internship?
Dana: It was definitely new to me; although I was already used to doing schoolwork online from three semesters spent virtually from the pandemic, needing to learn a new set of skills was definitely challenging. Despite this, my experience with the internship was very rewarding – I learned so much and I felt like it gave me that extra reassurance to continue in this field.
Jackson: I had never worked a job that was entirely remote before, so I really didn’t have much of a clue for what to expect going in. I can say that my few expectations were thoroughly smashed, however. Everyone at Datalogics made it easy to accommodate some of the downsides that come with working from home, so it really felt just as comfortable as it would in an office.
Dhinesh: Working a virtual internship had its advantages and disadvantages. Some of the advantages were a lack of commute and comfort during the workday. I also think that software engineering is well tuned for remote work, other positions require more face-to-face communication and are centered more around back-and-forth conversation rather than maximizing individual productivity. One of the disadvantages was the lack of relationships built; by not being in the workplace, there was very little getting to know one another outside of work. However, I think the culture at Datalogics mitigated this, everyone was willing to chat or help and even though I didn’t get a breadth of relationships built, I connected with the people I directly worked with deeply.
What was your favorite part of the internship?
Dana: My favorite part of the internship was getting to work with a wonderful team of fellow interns, and being able to build our ideas off of each other to make our end product something we are incredibly proud of. 🙂
Jackson: One of my favorite parts was the opportunity to come into the office for sure, it’s a beautiful space and was super fun to meet the other interns and some of the Datalogics employees in person! Plus Chris Green paid for lunch, so that was an added benefit haha. Other than that, the sprint demos (and especially our final demo) were all really fun. It always felt awesome to show off all the hard work we put in and feel like it all paid off when Eric (VP of Engineering) was at a loss for words.
Dhinesh: My favorite part about the internship was presenting our work to the company, including upper management. Certain programs can fly by without interns feeling as if they had value, this was never the case at Datalogics. They gave insightful responses and asked thoughtful questions about our project, making us and our work feel valued at the company. I also think having to demonstrate the ability to explain incredibly technical things to a non-technical audience was a great experience. This sort of presentation will occur many times throughout my career where I’ll have to keep an audience engaged regardless of their department at the company.
What was the most challenging aspect of your internship and how did you overcome it?
Dana: Learning to code in a more professional environment with less immediate feedback was probably the most challenging aspect of my internship — communication becomes a little bit less frequent when you’re remote as opposed to being in an office together. With the help of extensive internal docs and resources, and access to an abundance of new coworkers and mentors who could offer their advice and expertise, I was able to overcome that learning curve.
Jackson: Apart from specific problems I ran into when it came to actual development, I’d say the biggest challenge with this internship was putting in 8 hours a day of solid coding. School tries to prepare you for the real world, but even then school doesn’t typically put you to work on one specific thing for that long every week. At the same time, it was probably the most rewarding thing about the job as with school and other jobs, I never had the time to work on one project for 8 hours every day. I’d say after my first solid week of coding every day and just sticking with it I got into the groove, but that’s just what worked for me.
Dhinesh: The most challenging part of my internship was adjusting to a full work week. Waking up early every morning and clocking out at 5 initially felt as if it was restricting my activities, however after a couple of weeks I learned to adjust my schedule around work. I think taking this consideration early on is very important because a healthy work-life balance will make both work and play more enjoyable.
What advice would you give future DL interns?
Dana: Ask lots of questions, and don’t be afraid to reach out to people whom you are curious about!
Jackson: Come in with an open mind is the biggest thing in my opinion. Also, learning how to collaborate as well as when to give other people the spotlight when they deserve it are definitely skills I’ve only begun to build from working here. Working on a team is something you can sort of learn from class projects and school, but it’s never the same as the real world. Treating every day as if it’s a new lesson to learn is the best way to succeed and guarantee you come out the other side a better person, in my opinion. So have an open mind and be friendly, it won’t hurt you! Also, telling someone they did a good job when they deserve it is far too uncommon. In the words of Dale Carnegie, “Be hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.”
Dhinesh: I would advise future DL interns to not be afraid to reach out to full-time staff! Every engineer my internship team has reached out to has been incredibly kind and willing to help. Along with the finance, administrative and executive, every member of the company wants to help you. I know it is tough as you have never met these people before, however the company culture exudes cooperation and a lack of ego.
We thank our 2021 interns for bringing their great ideas to the table and bringing it to life! Also for adapting to this new way of work! Every summer Datalogics offers an internship program so stay tuned for updates for next year’s recruitment!