Tim Meyer-Smith | Software Engineering Intern (Utilities) | Auckland

Qualifications: Currently studying Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) and Bachelor of Commerce conjoint, majoring in Software Engineering and Economics

How did you secure the internship?
Gentrack visited the University of Auckland during the middle of the year to promote their internship programme. I went along to this evening and thought the company looked like a promising place for a software student to learn while still having an enjoyable company culture. Thus, I applied online and was invited for an interview. The interview was just as much them describing the company to me as it was me selling myself to them. A week later I got the call saying I had got a place in the internship programme.

Why did you apply for an internship?
I was in the last year of my Software Engineering programme, and I was looking to apply the skills I had learnt to greater challenges than those I had faced at university. Gentrack proposed the idea of working for three months on a project which would bring value to the company while enabling me to learn about some of the latest technologies. These goals fitted with what I was trying to achieve, and the rest is history.

What did you get involved in as an intern?
In a team of three interns, with support from a senior supervisor and two developers, we created the backend for a single type box functionality (think Google) for searching for customers in the Velocity database. We used the open source search engine Elasticsearch and its compatriot tool, Logstash, to pipe information. We ported the tools onto Docker images, which we then ran on AWS using the Elastic Container Service.

How did the internship impact your professional development?
The skills I have learnt in my time during the internship can be split into technical development and interpersonal development. For technical, I have been working with technologies such as AWS, Docker, Elasticsearch, Logstash, Python and Ruby, which has upskilled my knowledge of how to set up a production ready architecture. On the interpersonal side, I used agile principles for the first time in a workplace environment – using scrum processes such as daily stand-ups, sprint reviews and sprint retrospectives to help elicit communication amongst all the team members and support the progress of the project. These skills are important in the workplace, and investing fully in them will continue to support my career.

Did the internship meet your expectations?
I had heard from a previous intern, who had done their fourth-year university project as an intern with Gentrack, that it was an enjoyable place to work due to the great company culture, and so it set my expectations. But it is hard to know what to expect when starting at a new company because often people’s reported experiences about a company can be affected by how well their own values match those of the company’s. Fortunately, my expectations were met and exceeded in terms of the people and culture, and I have learnt about many new technologies along the way.

What did you love about working at Gentrack?
The challenge of solving software-oriented problems is always enjoyable, but the other part is the company culture. Here is a list of things I did during my internship at Gentrack: tennis, soccer, Giant Jenga, dumplings, Escape Masters, Mr Whippy, Double Dutch Fries, PS4 (Tekken and FIFA), Nintendo Switch (Super Smash Bros), weekly quiz, Secret Santa, darts, table tennis, ultimate frisbee, basketball, pool, water balloon fight and a BBQ.

Do you have any tips for future Gentrack interns?
“You win some, you lose some.” Not all days as a software developer are going to go well, but some days you will have amazing success.  Remember that when things aren’t going well, there will always be people here at Gentrack that can support you.