2016 High School STEM Intern
My high school offers a unique opportunity to graduating seniors like me: instead of taking classes for the last four weeks of school, we are able to participate in a month-long “senior project” to learn more about an industry in which we might be interested in working. Some of my fellow classmates are using this time to record studio albums, learn about financial investing, and work at bakeries. I chose to gain experience in IT and spent a month interning at Sparq in Albuquerque.
I had been interested in software development for a little more than a year before I started my internship. I remember the excitement of using Python to get the phrase “Hello, World!” to appear on my screen, and the satisfaction of creating multi-class inheritance hierarchies in Java. I knew that I’d just scratched the surface; there was so much more to be learned. My goal was to pick up enough programming knowledge to create something useful to others, so when my Java teacher shared an email with me about interning at Sparq’s Albuquerque Development Center Director, I jumped at the chance. Below are a highlights from my time at Sparq.
In addition to creating the web site, I shadowed team meetings and was able to see how Scrum was used in a real-world setting, as well as how a project manager of the team, interacted with his coworkers and clients.
Week 3: I started making adjustments to my website. At first, my progress was slow. The code seemed overwhelmingly large, and I felt like I didn’t understand the majority of it. Combining trial and error, experimentation, and help from the Sparq team, I started to understand the code, piece by piece. Two things about the framework surprised me. Although some of the properties had long, confusing names, the roles they played in the website were fairly simple to understand; second, everything was interconnected. All of the program’s files interacted with each other to form a living, breathing network, whether they contained HTML, CSS, JS, Bootstrap, or database entries. By the end of the week, I felt very familiar with each piece of code and my head was spinning with all of the possibilities for the website that were literally at my fingertips.
I was also able to meet with members from the QA team this week. I hadn’t really considered that aspect of software development, so it was interesting for me to see just how important QA is for a client-based company like Sparq.
Week 4: In my final week, I added the finishing touches to my website, prepared a presentation of my work for the Albuquerque team and updated my resume. Overall, I’m very proud of the amount of information that I learned in these few short weeks, and I feel indebted to everyone at Sparq who’s helped me get to the end of my internship.
I’m glad that I chose this internship as my senior project. Although I’m still not sure what I see myself doing after college, working at Sparq has helped me to realize what I enjoy doing most and how I can use this to shape my future.
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