Williams Students Online, Williamstown, MA
This summer I interned as a backend software engineer for Williams Students Online (WSO). I did this internship remotely because of Covid-19, so I mostly contacted my supervisor via Slack. I started my internship by learning the Go programming language and by designing and implementing a program to output Williams’ dining menu into a JSON file. Then I spent some time getting familiar with the large codebase that is the WSO backend. After that, I worked on a small project that involved outputting event data from Williams’ daily messages into a JSON file. Toward the end of the internship I started a larger project that consisted of creating a service for students to order from the Goodrich Café remotely. I worked daily with a partner—writing code and considering different design techniques to ensure that our part of the project could be finished by the end of the eight-week internship.
I’d say the biggest challenge of my internship was getting stuck on some concepts and being very unsure about the implied way to implement said concept, but usually, taking a look at what other engineers at WSO had done usually helped me overcome that challenge. Overall, this internship has helped me learn about what the development process actually looks like in industry and has helped me learn a whole new programming language.
Interning at WSO has really shown me what the development process will resemble at a tech company. It has impacted me personally by affirming that I really do enjoy coding. It has also forced me to be more disciplined and careful about the code I write—I can no longer just write some line and test it quickly in an environment that relies on many other people doing their parts. It has impacted me professionally by showing me that I want to continue doing this. I am passionate about being one part that helps the whole machine function. It has impacted me academically in that I was able to learn the ins and outs of another coding language—which may prove helpful in later CS courses. Finally, I’ve learned that I’m not as productive as I could be when working from home. This internship consisted of writing and pushing code often, and my supervisor was good about checking when my team pushed code and making comments on it as necessary, but I feel like if I were in a physical space with other engineers, I might have been able to be more productive. I realized that I would thrive with community and a schedule set by a supervisor.
That being said, I am so grateful that I was able to have an amazing opportunity like this one over the summer and I would like to thank the ’68 Center for Career Exploration and the Carlson Family for making this possible. I will definitely take everything I learned at WSO back to Williams and use the skills and knowledge I gained for the rest of my career as a software engineer.