My Time as a High School Summer Intern at the IOL

Nearing the final week of my internship I can say that I am amazed by the quality of my experience at the IOL. Not only have I been able to visit a number of companies ranging from larger corporations like Liberty Mutual and Verizon to smaller startups like QA Café, but I was able to use the knowledge learned in high school and put it to use in a real world application. On top of putting my skills to use, I have also learned many new skills. All of the benefits of this program were incredibly helpful, not only in helping me decide on a career path to pursue, but also in helping me build my experience and knowledge of computer science before entering college.

Being able to visit all of the companies was amazing. Not only did it provide me with great networking opportunities that will certainly help me get a job in the engineering field after college, but it also got me thinking in more detail about what type of company I would like to work for when I am looking for a job. There is a major difference between working for a startup and a developed company, going on these site visits showed me many of the pros and cons of working for each. Another benefit of these site visits, is the exposure to companies that had career opportunities in the tech field that someone might not expect. For example, I never would have thought I would be able to get a job at Fidelity as a software engineer, however I realized there are many career opportunities in software development at companies like this.

In the lab I’ve had many great learning experiences. For example, when I first came to the lab I had no experience using an SVN. However, after a few weeks I felt very comfortable using the SVN used at the lab. This internship has also given me a good amount of experience working with a group of developers. This invaluable experience is something you can’t get in a classroom setting, so I believe having this internship is going to open up many great doors for me in the future. Although many of these skills may not help me in college, they are skills that I will need in the real world that I would most likely never learn at school.

One of my favorite parts of the entire program was being able to use the skills I had learned in the classroom and put them to use in a real-world setting. The programming that I did at the IOL was far more complex than anything I had previously done in class. However, I didn’t feel like I was in over my head. Being able to see how relevant the skills I learned in high school were to the skills I need to write complex programs was unbelievably exciting. I know I have a lot to learn but it is good to see that I have a good base of knowledge going into college.

In my Junior year of high school when I did my job shadow at the IOL, I never could have imagined being the one behind the screen writing code. However, thanks to this program, that dream was made a reality. During my job shadow I was told that I should do whatever I could to get the most experience with computer science as possible before I got to college. Thanks to this internship, I feel that I am at a great starting point to begin my college experience in computer science along with a better understanding of where I might want to work after college.