How Adam McDevitt found his summer internship in our Edinburgh office.
Adam is studying Computer Science at Edinburgh University, and spent his summer internship in our Edinburgh office.
He chose to undertake his internship at a consultancy as he believed the work would be more varied than at product-based software developers. Scott Logic was particularly appealing to Adam due to our technology-agnostic approach – choosing the right tool and language for the job, rather than being tied to any particular technologies.
“I liked the fact that the job requirements didn’t require any specific languages or technologies. Instead, there was an expectation of flexibility and willingness to learn, suggesting that employees can learn new languages and technologies on the job. Other companies require applicants to know a specific language, say C++, which I know I could learn, but I don’t know at the time of application. These kind of job ads make me feel that the company values specific knowledge over long-term development and learning.”
Adam’s main hopes for the internship were to work as part of a team in an industry setting, and to improve the quality of his coding, both of which he was able to achieve.
“At university, our code is generally auto-marked, and there’s very little human marking to critique the style of our code. I knew how to write software that did its job, but the advice and code reviews from Scott Logic mentors has really helped me to improve the quality and maintainability of my code. In fact, the amount of time that our mentors and internship co-ordinator gave us throughout the internship was far more than I expected, and was hugely appreciated.”
Adam spent most of his first day reading introduction documents but on day two the real work started, and by the end of the first week he already felt that his internship was being taken seriously, and that he was a valued part of the company. In terms of his greatest achievement, Adam reflects on the major difference between work at university, and in a real industry setting.
“Learning to work as a team with my fellow interns – in an agile environment – has been a great learning experience. Previously, group work at university has been quite chaotic and unstructured, so the support from the consultants at Scott Logic on how to manage our team and project was much appreciated. When I compare my work at the start of the internship, to my work at the end, it’s like night and day.”
But as well as improving his code and learning best practices for project management, the internship also threw up challenges for Adam and his fellow interns.
“About halfway through, our React.js application began to suffer from too many performance issues and was becoming nearly unusable. Many of us were new to React, and performance had not been in our mind during these early weeks, as we’d been focused only on learning the framework. Refactoring the codebase and optimising performance was challenging, but we managed it by splitting the workload between the four of us and researching common solutions for high-performance React applications.”
By the end of the internship, Adam realised that he definitely enjoys commercial software development when it’s done in the right way, with the right people, for the right company.
“I’ve learnt that I value pair-programming for particularly challenging problems, or for problems where the solution will have a large impact on the project; but I also understand the value of cracking on with a big piece of work individually. It’s important to balance these two methods of working to get the best outcomes.”
And Adam’s advice to other undergraduates considering internship options?
“Try to get a breadth of experience in different environments. Different companies have different cultures, and you might like different areas of the industry more than others. Product-based development might be right for some, yet game development or consultancy, for example, might be right for others.”
Adam wrote a blog post about the project that he and his fellow interns worked on – read his ‘Looking at you’ blog post here.
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.