How Isabelle Atkins rose to the challenge of an internship in our Bristol office.
Isabelle is studying Mathematics at Oxford University and spent her summer internship in our Bristol office.
She first decided to explore technology as a career opportunity after coming into contact with bash scripting, Matlab and Python at a previous internship. As a mathematician, she was instantly drawn to the problem-solving nature of technology and wanted to experience working in a tech-focused environment.
Isabelle discovered the Scott Logic internship when exploring software development companies based in Bristol. At first, she was hesitant about applying for the role, assuming it would require more computational knowledge than she had, but she was pleasantly surprised:
“Scott Logic seemed to value other degrees as well as computer science, so I decided to apply. Also, the reviews on GlassDoor implied that the work environment was inclusive and friendly, which I deem an important factor in choosing a company to work for.”
Before starting the internship, Isabelle had a long list of experiences she hoped to achieve:
“I wanted to learn new programming languages, using both front-end and back-end technologies, and to become comfortable integrating a variety of systems. I also wanted to know what it really means to work in an ‘agile’ way and to experience working in a team on a computational project. I hoped to understand more about how mathematics was relevant to a software development role, and whether I could see a career in that area.”
From day one of her internship, Isabelle was helped to relax, feel part of the team, and start developing the knowledge and skills she was interested in:
“I was approached by lots of people who checked I was okay setting up my environments and to see how I was finding my first day, which was very reassuring. ‘Friday Lunch’ and after-work drinks were also a great way to get to know my co-workers better. I was taken aback by how quickly I felt at ease and how approachable everyone was.”
Isabelle’s main project was to make a computer game, which involved implementing AI to make intelligent computer-player opponents that could select a card and pick a relevant word to describe that card. Isabelle developed and then improved the system so that the AI could learn new words associated with the cards, based on words other players chose themselves.
Coming from a mathematical background, Isabelle reflects that she faced a steep learning curve during the first few weeks, but this made the internship all the more rewarding.
“Initially, the technology was not familiar to me and I’m still picking up on the vocabulary surrounding it all. But after a short period of time I felt increasingly confident in my work and I now feel a great sense of accomplishment about what I have learnt.”
Isabelle is an advocate for technology as a career choice for others studying, or with a background in, mathematics.
“This internship was a great opportunity to learn new technologies with a huge amount of support. For example, when I expressed an interest in more back-end technology, I was allocated a mentor to explore implementing AI to our project, so that I could explore an area of software development that caught my eye.”
The internship has also had a significant impact on Isabelle’s future career plans and the kind of company she aspires to work for after graduating:
“I now feel that I have the insight and basic tech experience to truly consider a role in software development, something I feel would not have been possible otherwise. Also, I now know that I really enjoy working in a team, so will look for this in a potential career. What’s more, having had the opportunity to attend Scott Logic meetings on topics such as maternity leave, I know the value of empathetic and communicative management which will impact my decision as to the sort of company I would work with in the future.”
And Isabelle’s advice to other undergraduates considering internship options?
“My piece of advice would be to really consider an internship, particularly if you don’t study computer science. It will be an intensive and immersive experience, and you will learn quickly. What’s more, as a student it’s difficult to know what to look for in a company when you’re applying for a job. An internship provides you with a unique insight into a company and its values and you can see if they align with your own. A healthy work environment and good management are hugely formative in an employee’s experience, and an internship offers you the chance to get a taster of that.”
Scott Logic transforms its clients’ businesses by engineering innovative, bespoke software solutions that drive measurable value, while also enhancing the core strengths of their technology delivery capability.
With our annual internship you can enjoy a summer season being paid to sample a challenging and rewarding career in software. For more information, and to apply for one of our 2020 internships, visit our Paid internships page.