Interns have played an important role in Vanitee and will continue to do so. This post is dedicated to all our interns for their hard work and dedication. Special shout out to Amelia, Ruifeng, Marisa, Aiden, Xiu Fang, Hwee Shan, Stephanie, Sze Ming, Samuel and Jiahuang.
Jiahuang was from Raffles JC and is currently a 1st year student at Princeton. He worked with us as an intern between June and July 2015. As Jiahuang is our first tech intern, I wanted him to write about his experience. He did and here it goes…
Approaching the end of my first year in University, I still remained undecided over my choice of major. Hoping that my summer experience would provide me with a nudge in the right direction, I applied for various positions across a number of industries. A while later, I received an email from Douglas informing me that he would be happy to have me around. That was how I came onboard. To this date I remain pleasantly surprised that Douglas, an entrepreneur who has founded over five companies, would place his trust on a first year university student who has little technical background. Thank you Doug.
The first week of my internship at Vanitee was overwhelming. It took me almost a full day to completely configure my computer to meet the minimum requirements for writing usable code for the company. There were multiple programs and packages that I had to familiarize myself with; I felt like I was drinking from a fire hose. In order to accomplish the tasks that PK, my mentor, gave me, I stayed well beyond 7pm every day. On the train back home, I made an effort to read Wikipedia articles and language documentations. While at home, I watched YouTube videos on the topics and concepts I came across during the day so as to accelerate the learning process. Despite my persistent effort, my progress remained slow. Amidst the frustration, for a while I thought if programming was really my cup of tea. Fortunately, PK never failed to offer his guidance and advice in times of need. Throughout the two months, never for once did he express his displeasure at my incompetence. Instead, he would constantly give me encouragements and provide constructive and meaningful suggestions. It was this that made me realize that having a good boss really matters. The quality of the person I work under has never been an important factor when it comes to career considerations before this internship. To me, as long as I fulfill my duty and do my part, the competence of my boss is a nonfactor. My perception has since thoroughly changed after the internship. For this, I feel that I owe a great deal to my mentor. Thank you PK.
One of the most striking observations that I have made during my time at Vanitee is the understated importance of self-learning in software development. Interestingly, none of the developers in Vanitee underwent the usual 4 year university computer science route typically expected of software developers. Yet, this seeming deficiency is far from being a hindrance; instead, it appears to have propelled them towards greater heights. The lack of a usual computer science degree experience inculcates in them the habit of self-learning. Without the rigidity of a structure program, they tend to rely a lot more on finding answers for themselves, whereas some 4 year university students are probably more accustomed to being spoon-fed by their professors. Furthermore, this seeming deficiency also trained them to solve problems in very practical manners. Consider this example: for a while I was trying to create a way of mapping two distinct numbers to a third value. Coming from a mathematics background, Cantor’s Pairing Function came to my mind. Just as I suggested that to PK, he immediately told me a much easier way to do it. (We could just put a dash between the two numbers and store them as a string.) This experience makes me reconsider how software development can and should be done, and how I should spend my remaining three years in college.
Beyond the codes, programming techniques and frameworks, I must say that the most valuable experience that I have had in Vanitee is the interaction with my co-workers. I saw a great deal of individuality in almost everyone whom I have met; many of them have interesting perspectives to offer and insights to share. It is difficult to estimate how much these personal points of view will shape and influence my thinking in the future.
Lastly, I sincerely wish Vanitee all the best in the upcoming years.
If you like to join a tech startup in Singapore and want to take up an internship at Vanitee, email us! We promise long hours, hard work and an experience worth every bit.
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