Austin Sutherland | Part-time Software Engineer – Intern (Utilities) | Auckland

Qualifications: Studying Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) specialising in Computer Systems Engineering at the University of Auckland

How did you secure the internship?
I heard about the role from the Employer Liaison Manager at my university. He sent out an email that let the penultimate-year ECE students know about the opening. I researched the company and applied online. Shortly after, I was invited to complete a phone interview. This phone interview was around 15 minutes, and a few days afterwards, I was invited to attend an on-site interview. This interview was with my line manager and a member of the development team. A few days later, I was informed that I had been offered a place and began working that November!

Why did you apply for an internship?
The internship looked like a great opportunity to gain some valuable experience in developing tools that matter. There was a range of projects included in the role description, from mobile apps to performance testing. This looked like a great way to get some hands-on experience of using new technologies such as AWS — and do so in a rapidly growing, agile environment.

What did you get involved in as an intern?
I was in a team of three (later four) interns on the utilities side of the business. We primarily worked with a tool developed by last year’s interns, which utilised AWS for automated deployments of nightly builds. Firstly, we worked on modernising the tool and making it compatible with multiple platforms (Windows Server alongside the currently supported CentOS). Next, we expanded the tool to be able to run a set of performance tests on a deployed build and display the results on a graph. We worked closely with veteran developers of Gentrack’s Velocity software to create a good interface between the tool and the Velocity system.

Our team, which also included mentors and last year’s interns, used the Agile ‘Scrum’ methodology. We had daily stand-up meetings, organised tasks into ‘user stories’ and worked in bi-weekly sprints.

How has the internship impacted your professional development?
This internship gave me invaluable experience working with new technologies and doing so in a team-based, agile environment. I am now confident working with AWS as well as the other tools and systems used as part of our development process. I enjoyed working in a small team and being able to draw on the expertise of the wider company for insight and support. I enjoyed the challenge of working with new tools in new ways. This internship gave me practical experience, which is difficult to replicate in the classroom.

Did the internship meet your expectations?
Absolutely. I am very happy with the environment and support I received from people within the business, and I am pleased with what I learned and accomplished by the end of it.

What do you love about working at Gentrack?
Gentrack has a great environment where you can approach just about anyone for insight or support. There is a large amount of cross-team communication and sharing of expertise. Gentrack has a really friendly workplace culture, hosts lots of social events and provides facilities and perks for employees. People here are proud of what they do, and that is quite apparent as soon as you step foot inside.

Do you have any tips for future Gentrack interns?
Don’t feel daunted by tech jargon or big technology sets that you have never used or heard of. There is a ton of support here, and you learn amazingly quickly just by working with the tools and taking things one step at a time. I would advise anyone interested in an internship to do some research and decide if it is right for them — and if so, apply!