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Knowledge Beyond the Classroom

Breaking Stuff, all Part of a Day’s Work as a Software Engineering Intern at Intermatic

Knowledge Beyond the Classroom

A 2017 Summer Jobs and Internships Survey conducted by TD Ameritrade revealed seven in 10 teens, 73 percent, expect to have a paid internship during their college years. For Eric Wagner, a junior in computer science at Aurora University, an internship at Intermatic provides the skills needed to enter the workforce. “Working on something 40 hours a week for three months at Intermatic has taught me a lot of tricks of the trade and that makes my classes easier. There are so many mentorships with co-workers – people who have been in the industry for 20 years and are happy to help you,” states Wagner. He has found this type of access different than a professor/student relationship and integral to lessons learned in the classroom.

Breaking Stuff, all Part of a Day’s Work as a Software Engineering Intern at Intermatic

Wagner works in the engineering testing department where, as he puts it, “my job is to essentially try to break stuff.” The time he spends debugging software applications before market release is “a really important job due to the fact that I’m basically the barrier to the consumer and product. My discoveries have a direct impact on an app’s release date. If it’s not prepared enough for our customer, it won’t be successful in the market,” says Wagner.

Another aspect of the internship program Wagner finds beneficial is working side-by-side with another intern to get an idea of “how they think.” Last summer, Wagner partnered with an intern (and now full-time Intermatic employee) to update the interface of an older timer. They then made a video demonstrating the timer’s faster and easier programming functionality. “Having someone somewhat close to where I am helped me get my footing and solidified for me that I am in the right major and on the right path,” says Wagner.

A Successful Program Based on Professionalism and Growth

Throughout the summer, Intermatic Human Resources Administrator, Teresa Pilcher, and the interns check in regularly and together work on a final project: a presentation highlighting their accomplishment to the company’s executive board.

Pilcher’s advice to potential interns is to treat an internship like a job search. “We expect professionalism and want them to grow,” she states. Interns follow the same application and hiring process as a full-time position: positions are posted on the company’s website and candidates interview with human resources and the department’s hiring manager. “Just like landing a real job, if a student wants an internship, they need to make it happen,” Pilcher states.

“Internships are a great opportunity for students to stand out by showcasing what they know and what they can bring to a company. We try to keep a relationship open with our interns and should there be a future interest, it’s nice to have them return. In fact, one recent grad just joined the company as a full-time software engineer,” she adds.

Pilcher would also like to expand the program into a year-round co-op program in partnership with a school. In a co-op program, students work 10-15 hours a week as part of a for-credit class while the employer provides a mentor. “We’d like to provide more opportunities to help students attain real work experience and build employable job skills,” says Pilcher.

Do you have a college internship or co-op experience you’d like to share, or advice for recent grads entering the job market? Connect with us. We’d love to hear your thoughts.


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