This past summer, the summer between my senior year of high school and my freshman year of college, I did an apprenticeship with Codence. I had been looking for a work opportunity in the field of computer science to get some experience before going to college to study it, and I much preferred the apprenticeship to a technical support job at Office Depot. Throughout the summer, I not only got the valuable experience that I wanted, I learned skills that will not only help me throughout my time in college but throughout my entire working career.
At Codence, I was able to work as part of a team on some larger projects, and even work on my own on some smaller ones. Because of this experience, I will likely be able to skip much of the first year of computer science classes at my school, and even be ahead of the students in the classes I do get put in. I got a functioning knowledge of FileMaker Pro through learning from true experts in the field, and I was able to get support on problems that would have otherwise been above me. I now have experience facing real-world software problems and I have been coached by professionals on how to approach them.
Another important function of this apprenticeship was that it helped me understand what I am signing up for with Computer Science. It gave a look inside what the working life of a software designer might look like. I now know that the default state of a software engineer is one of mild frustration. I learned how I might interact in the future with the programming languages I am about to learn in school. Until this summer, I thought that once given a problem to solve, a programmer just started coding and didn’t stop until finished. I found out that there is, in fact, a large amount of thought and planning that goes on before a single command is typed. Everything is well thought out before any coding is done. Interning for Codence gave me a look into how things are done and what I might expect working in the field of computer science.
It also gave me skills that will help me throughout my entire life. Until this apprenticeship, I had never really faced a problem that I hadn’t already been taught how to solve. Even if I couldn’t solve it, I had at least seen something like it before and had an idea of where to start. In the course of my work at Codence, there were times when I didn’t understand half the words in what I was asked to do. Instead of learning before I solved a problem, I was learning to solve a problem, which is much closer to how things work in the real world. I had to use all of the resources I could find and try to apply them to what I was doing. I had never not had all the information I needed handed to me before and even though there were many times that I felt like banging my head on the table, it was an invaluable learning experience that I will take with me.
The experience of being an Intern for Codence, and the lessons I learned, will serve me for life. Despite some struggles and frustrations along the way, I really enjoyed the opportunity.