I’ve had the privilege of having great mentors over the course of my career. With our internship program, I’ve been able pay that forward by overseeing the program since its inception over 4 years ago. It continues to be a great experience year after year.
Deciding on the Right Candidates
The individuals we look at for the program for the development department are generally amidst their studies in Computer Science, or a closely related subject. The qualities I look for the most in a possible intern is a genuine curiosity, the drive to quench that curiosity, and a passion to be great at what they do.
The Learning Environment
I believe in giving our interns their space to learn and grow at their own pace, but I am available to provide any help or direction when requested. We have reviews during the crucial early iterations of a project which allows for quick changes in direction. We may decide that much of the work needs to be adjusted and that’s perfectly acceptable in the fail-fast process that Scrum provides. The goal of the program is to have our interns learn and gain valuable experience while providing quality and value to our customers.
One of the things that I believe makes our internship program successful is that we don’t have interns come in and write test cases, perform maintenance, or other mundane tasks. They actually work on an application that will be put in production and contribute to the success of our students and educators.
The biggest “eye-opener” I’ve noticed that our interns have is the exposure to a formal development process. Most of our interns enter the summer with a pretty firm grasp of a programming language and perhaps some experience with a development tool, but their exposure to the process is most likely where they will learn the most.
In the Development department, we implement Scrum as our methodology, so our interns learn the value of time-boxed iterations, acceptance, “definition of done”, and other aspects of being a part of a Scrum. They learn that being a Software Developer isn’t just about writing code; it’s also about being a part of a team.
Overall, the program is a rewarding experience for everyone that is involved and being a part of the growth of these interns is an honor!
Here is what our interns are saying about the program:
“Both of my summer internships at Edmentum have been tremendously educational for me on a variety of levels. During my first summer, we worked to convert a standalone physics application […] into a web experience, while this summer we’ve been working on a collaboration platform to bring teachers and students together in real time. Having the opportunity to further my programming skills by getting developer feedback has helped to prepare me for professional work in ways that school could not provide, and being able to contribute to actual projects in a meaningful way has increased my desire to learn even more. I have had numerous valuable experiences which have helped me learn how to work as part of a team in an agile environment. Overall, the most rewarding aspect for me is to see something go from a simple idea to a full implementation. I’ve loved being part of the Edmentum community, and I’m very thankful to have been offered this opportunity.”
- Christopher Harman, Computer Science Student at UMN CSE, 2 time Edmentum Software Development Intern
“My experience at Edmentum this summer as a software development intern was very good. The project […] I worked on, a collaboration space where students and teachers can chat and share a virtual whiteboard, was very interesting and provided many opportunities for innovation. I personally feel very satisfied with the work that I’ve done this summer and I’m excited by the idea that the work we’ve done could be integrated into existing products and deployed for customers. The experience I gained with the Agile development model was also very good for me personally, as was getting more exposure to a professional workspace. I’m very thankful for the opportunity I’ve had this summer.”
- Michael Tetzlaff, Graduate Student pursuing a Ph.D in Computer Science at the University of Minnesota, 2 time Edmentum Software Development Intern