Matthew Dawson reflects back on his internship at Flux Federation, where he now works full time…
Most prospective interns would agree that it’s hard to define what qualities you look for in an employer when you have no professional experience. When you are faced with a competitive and often cruel job market, you are extremely grateful for the opportunity to be an intern, regardless of the employer. Within the Technology industry, there is a lack of employment opportunities for graduates. This is fuelled by an interesting problem where there is a shortage of experienced developers with a surplus of IT graduates. The solution seems obvious: train and invest in juniors so that they can gain experience. However, there is a pushback from many employers who are hesitant to take on ‘newbies’.
Summer of Tech aims to close this loop by making interns more accessible and appealing to employers through bootcamps and networking. In my opinion, most of the pushback from employers hiring interns is from the risk associated with hiring someone with no quantifiable skills beyond tertiary study. By exposing employers to prospective interns and their respective qualities throughout the year, Summer of Tech mitigates this risk for employers. As a result of Summer of Tech, events trust is built between employers and graduates. Employers can see the enormous capability of students and their excitement and enthusiasm for the industry.
After a year of bootcamps, Create Camp, meet and greets and finally, interviews, I received an Internship at Flux Federation as a Test Analyst. In my role, I work within an agile team to ensure that we are delivering quality code which fulfils business requirements. As a test analyst, I use my growing domain knowledge to ensure that there is minimal risk of bugs. It’s only as my internship is coming to an end that I know what an intern’s ideal employer looks like to me.
My top priority when looking for an employer was finding an environment where I could be constantly learning. Flux Federation has provided me with a positive learning environment which exceeded my expectations. I am supported and encouraged to try new things with the help of my Crew Champion, who facilitates my growth and career progression. The aim of an internship, in my opinion, is essentially to learn and gain experience. Therefor interns should be focusing on their learning which Flux has facilitated.
Having no industry experience can seem scary at first, however, during my internship I have been exposed to so much opportunity. A feeling of imposter syndrome was swiftly replaced with excitement, with respect to how much opportunity for learning and networking there was. Being surrounded by so many talented and wise people at Flux allowed me to gain skills which seemed out of reach learning on my own. It is easy to find someone who is willing to help and mentor you in any tech-related discipline. I hope all interns value and take all the opportunities presented to them.
Making mistakes is a normal and essential part of the learning process. During my internship I have learnt and gained a lot more from my mistakes rather than my successes. There is a positive environment at Flux Federation where mistakes aren’t punished or dissuaded. Within an agile team, everyone is responsible and accountable for their vertical slice of the Powershop application. If an incident occurs blame isn’t placed on a single person. Individual team members can feel comfortable to explore and innovate, without fear of negative criticism.
Matthew and Flux mentor, Kelly Munro, at the 2017 Create Camp
Looking back on the past three months, I have come to ask myself, “What made my internship so special?”. I believe the opportunity to gain experience and meet so many fantastic people in a positive working environment has contributed enormously to the success of my internship. Flux has made my transition from university student to professional employment as smooth and enjoyable as possible. A huge thank you to both Summer of Tech for their awesome program and Flux Federation for an amazing internship.