Interns: The Next Generation of Software Engineers

Red Dog Media is a forward-thinking organization with a keen eye towards finding and developing the next generation of software engineers. For many young aspiring programmers, the opportunity to work directly with some of the top professional developers is a dream come true. In today’s dynamic technology sector, both intern and professional stand to benefit from a myriad of useful experiences that come as a result. Wide-ranging experience and newfound perspectives await those who accept internships, and according to the most recent National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) survey, an average of 59% of interns nationally will receive employment offers. Red Dog Media is proud to offer a robust internship program designed to pair up-and-coming talent with one of our senior developers.  

Very recently, Red Dog Media was excited to accept a high school senior into their internship program. David, a Red Dog Media Senior Developer, was chosen to mentor and guide the student through his first experience working with a professional team. Among the goals for the intern included further developing his skills, gaining experience working with other top developers, and helping him to decide whether a future in technology was the right choice for him. 

For any high schooler, balancing the demanding responsibilities of senior year, extracurricular activities and an internship can be a true test of character. Coming into a fast-paced environment with only a baseline, self taught understanding of C# certainly adds to the difficulty. Senior developer David was nonetheless impressed with the young developer’s dedication to building his skills. According to David, “The initial phase of the internship was the most challenging, but when school let out, things began to pick up.  During the summer break he was able to spend more time working and I think he grew a lot.” Not only did he grow, but he was able to have real, tangible effects upon Red Dog Media. 

The internal testing site at Red Dog Media was the first thing David tasked the young coder with. As a non-customer facing element of Red Dog Media, it often does not receive the attention it otherwise would, and the high school senior had the opportunity to dive right in. A number of impressive improvements were accomplished, including converting JavaScript to TypeScript, updating the build system so the site can be deployed through automation, improving usability by tweaking the user interface to work better with a keyboard and significantly improving the speed of the site by adding a layer of caching. In addition he was able to locate and resolve a number of existing bugs in the test site. “He had the opportunity to work with several different technologies and improve his skills. We ended up with a tool that is much more usable than it used to be.”

Towards the end of the internship, the student was entrusted with a much more serious task; working on the customer facing site. With a surprisingly small amount of coaching from David, he was able to successfully convert legacy JavaScript files to TypeScript. About this accomplishment David remarked, “I was particularly impressed with the work he did on these because he required a lot less coaching than I was expecting and produced excellent results.” 

His mentor, David, was very impressed with the intern and summarized his experience with him as a mutually positive one.  “It was a very rewarding experience for me personally. It was awesome to see him connect the dots between an abstract concept he’d heard about to how it would be used in the real world.” David was able to reconnect with the experience of being a new developer while at the same time having the opportunity to help shape the next generation of software developers.

At Red Dog Media we are excited to offer students the opportunity to further their ambitions and explore the wide ranging possibilities that can come from a career in the technology space. Interns are given the opportunity to learn from actual practice prior to being placed in a classroom with a complex structure, allowing them the chance to enjoy the premise of the job beforehand. While it may serve as an invaluable experience for the intern, our professional programmers also yield the benefits of sharing their years of expertise with passionate, ambitious students. We look forward to welcoming more interns in the future and playing a small, yet important role in the future of software development and technology.