For my STEP Signature Project, I completed a computer science internship with Battelle in Columbus, OH. The main component of my internship involved working with a team to help develop and maintain a Lead Poisoning tracking software contracted by the CDC.
The internship with Battelle gave me exposure to working on a real-world project with other software developers. I was able to see what my career might soon look like and I got hands-on exposure working on something that will be used all across the US. I feel that before completing this internship, I didn’t have a clear idea of what it might be like to work in the computer science field and now I have direct experience. I learned a lot about work expectations and about developing code with others and how that is all managed and I believe that I am now a better team member and coder because of it. I was also able to meet other Battelle interns and I believe that getting to know others that are in a similar field has helped me expand socially.
During the internship at Battelle, I had semi-weekly project meetings to help gauge where each team member was at and to get an idea of how the project is developing. During each meeting, each team member was asked to share their general progress on the project. These meetings helped me better develop my communication skills so that I might be able to convey an issue I was having with the project or better put in to words a solution I had come up with that week. Being able to better communicate what I was working on helped me work more effectively and I believe will help me be a stronger team member in future positions.
In order to keep track of issues and future improvements for the project, the team used a tool called JIRA. JIRA essentially allows a programmer to open and close problems that they find in a project, write descriptions of fixes, and just generally make clear what has and has not been done for the project. I believe that using JIRA and writing up fix descriptions has helped make me a better writer and communicator through written text. In order to fully convey what is wrong with the project or what has been done to fix an issue can be difficult and so having hands-on experience writing these descriptions has helped.
Throughout the internship at Battelle, there were several intern events where interns from all different departments would meet and socialize. Getting to know others from different backgrounds gave me a chance to make new friends and become a more social individual. Because many of the Battelle interns are of a similar age to me I was able to relate with many of them as they are in a similar situation of finishing up school and getting ready to look for jobs.
Learning to work better in a team and learning to become a more social individual are both hugely helpful when getting ready to enter the work force. I believe that because of the change I have undergone due to my time working at Battelle, I have become better equipped for finding a future job. I feel that companies will view me as a stronger candidate thanks to the skills and experience I garnered when working as an intern for Battelle.