Internships are a very interesting part of the college education experience. While they are not mandatory, I was told that they are the key to success for one’s future career. Hearing that two years ago, as an incoming freshman, definitely put some stress onto my shoulders. I am now a Junior in Computer Science at Purdue University, and just completed an internship with The RND Group, Inc. My position title was “Engineer Intern,” and in my case, my experience exceeded the title.
When most people think of an intern, they get a mental image of a 20-year-old kid, ordering coffee for their employers. While this image is certainly influenced by today’s entertainment, the reference to reality is still there. From speaking with my peers, other internships include a lot of busy work, or work that is secondary to the company’s actual workflow. I am not saying that this is a bad thing by any means. Different companies have different needs, and I’m sure those needs are outlined when applying for the internship. This is the kind of work I expected to do when beginning my summer at RND. And I am happy to say I was dead wrong.
Walking in on my first day, I was immediately greeted by RND employees. I was in the building for five minutes and I automatically felt like I was a part of the team. After we set up our laptops, I checked my email and saw that I had already been assigned to a project. On top of that, I was also assigned a Tech Lead. A Tech Lead is an employee who is there for you to answer any questions, and/or help you with any problems you are facing.
The first two weeks of the internship, I was solely working on test cases for my project. For those who don’t know, test cases are a set of tests that are designed to make sure that the code is working how it’s supposed to. While they might not seem important, I now realize their impact as making them helped me learn about all the different files for the project. This became vital as I moved onto my next tasks.
Following test cases, I started to get assigned tasks such as fixing defects and making features for the project. At that point, all my expectations for the internship had been exceeded. This is where I believe RND stands out amongst other software development companies. They provided me with endless opportunities to improve my skills with User Interfaces with XAML, Object-Oriented Programming (C#), SQL database work, the list goes on and on. In these past two months, RND has made me feel confident with my decision to pursue a career in software engineering. Not only did they teach me content I didn’t even know existed, they then followed up to have me implement my learning and use it to help the company.
The experiences I gained from this internship, in my opinion, are incomparable. I walked in thinking I would be assisting the fulltime employees for the entire ten weeks. While this was true in some scenarios, I also had time to work on independent tasks. These were the times where I learned the most. Though such tasks can seem scary, the support RND gave me ensured that I was learning and completing tasks to their high standard, and this made my time nothing short of exceptional.
On top of a great learning experience, I noticed that RND makes sure to be super inclusive with their interns. Their hosted social events included a golf tournament, top golf outing, euchre tournament, and more. These events were not only a way for me to get to know my coworkers, it was also a networking opportunity. While working at RND, I was able to gain a relationship from most employees there, including the President of the company. This is not something every internship can provide.
My goal is not to persuade you to exclusively look in RND’s direction, nor is it to say that RND’s internship program is better than the rest. My intention is to tell you my story, my experience, which was nothing short of amazing. I truly don’t have a single bad thing to say about this internship program. If you are looking to push yourself to new miles you’ve never experienced, this is a great place to do so. You just have to be willing to put in the work.