Zac Lochhead | Part-time Software Developer (Airports) | Auckland

Qualifications: Currently studying Bachelor of Computer Systems Engineering at Auckland University 

Why did you apply for an internship?
A course I enjoyed before the internship was in software design, so I was curious to see what working as a software engineer would be like. I was looking to work in a complex and challenging environment — Gentrack ticked that box.

What did you get involved in as an intern?
I worked on two major projects, the first of which was to develop a mobile app that ground staff at airports could use to manage flights. This involved researching mobile development tools and a trip to Auckland Airport to meet future users of the app. It was eventually deployed to the Google Play Store and was even showcased at overseas trade shows. The second project was to give keyboard navigation and screen reader support to Gentrack’s Airport 20/20 application, which entailed web development work and provided valuable experience in working with legacy code. These projects were separate from what the wider development team were working on, but they provided plenty of support and shared their expertise

How has the internship impacted your professional development?
An important skill for any software engineer is the ability to quickly understand and work with code someone else has written. As an intern, I learned techniques to understand and work with legacy code — something uni projects don’t cover. I also gained experience in writing cleaner, more extensible code and honed my collaboration and communication skills.

Did the internship meet your expectations?
It exceeded my expectations. Many companies give tedious or unimportant tasks to interns, but Gentrack is the opposite. A fellow intern and I worked on exciting projects and were given the freedom to make development choices. We were trusted to make smart recommendations throughout the development process.

What do you love about working at Gentrack?
The best thing is the culture. There isn’t any feeling of hierarchy at Gentrack, and it has a casual work atmosphere and dress code. One of my most memorable moments is when our general manager shot a game-winning three-pointer against me on our basketball court.

Do you have any tips for future Gentrack interns?
Ask as many questions as possible. There’s plenty of talent here, and you can really get a lot out of the role if you’re passionate about tech and love to challenge yourself.