Life As An Outware Intern

Walter representing Outware at a Careers Fair.

I can remember it like it was yesterday. I had arrived at 3/469 La Trobe street — this was it. This was my first day of work. I walked towards the lifts and waited nervously with plenty of others around me. *ding* the lifts opened. I entered the lifts and reached out to press the button for level three, only to find that it had already been pressed. This meant that somebody from Outware or InfoReady was in the same lift as I was!

The lift stopped at level three, and I walked towards the doors, but they wouldn’t open. A woman (who I now know as Jenni) got out of the same lift as me and opened the door. I thanked her and immediately approached the receptionist. I was greeted by Claire (the person who helped me throughout the entire interview process) and things were starting to move.

I was introduced to my mentor, given a brief overview of the project I was going to be working on, and given a tour of the office. Then it was time for the company wide standup. I was required to give an introduction of myself to a giant pool of people I’ve never met before. I was so nervous, but it had to be done! We all have to get over our fears somehow, right?

I just went for it. I introduced myself to the company. “Hi my name is Walter, I’m a Software Engineering student at RMIT, and I’m going to be an Android intern. I look forward to meeting/working with you! Oh! And I like playing volleyball!”

After the company wide stand-up, I was introduced to my project team, and was immediately shuffled into one of their client-facing meetings. I didn’t know what the meeting was about at first. I sat quietly in the corner listening to every word being spoken. The word “showcase” popped up at one point, and that was when I knew what the meeting was about. The project team was demoing (or showcasing) builds to the client to get approval! Oh how much I’ve learnt since my first day at work. From knowing very little about development processes such as waterfall/agile to developing a deep understanding — the process of being able to experience the lifecycle myself to gain such knowledge is an indescribable feeling. This allows me to pass on the knowledge to newcomers if needed, as I was once in their position.

Working at Outware is great. The day starts off with free breakfast in the kitchen — a serving of fruit, cereal or toast (depending on what you like), and a big cup of coffee. You have to be Swift (why am I even making Apple jokes? Go Android! Beep boop.) when it comes to the fruit. It’s every man for themselves. Not to even mention the peanut butter! Everybody loves peanut butter at the office!

After eating your fruit and peanut butter on toast, it’s time for project stand-up. I remember my first stand-up. I had absolutely nothing to report other than the fact that I was new and that I had nothing to report! But as time went on, the more I’ve learnt, the more cards I’ve delivered, and as a result, I have more to report!

Learning has been one of the biggest focuses for me at Outware. I’ve worked with many types of tools and technologies that I had never used before. Sure, you learn about S.O.L.I.D principles and whatnot during your time at uni, but applying them to a real world application is a whole other story. I find that the hands-on approach is the best way to learn as you’re constantly exposed to making mistakes. That’s what learning is all about. Making mistakes, overcoming them, and learning from them so that you don’t make the same mistakes again.

That’s how I like to describe my learning experience here at Outware: instead of making mistakes (which we all do occasionally), I like to think of it as encountering problems. Sure, there are answers to the problems we encounter (thanks StackOverflow), but the real learning experience lies in understanding how and why those answers solve the problems we encounter.

How and why are the two most important questions to ask when learning. Maybe add what to the mix as well. Why are we using this architectural pattern? Why are we separating everything into layers? What libraries are we using to implement x? How does functional reactive programming improve the maintainability of the project? By asking how, what and why, I was able to learn about why we use MVP, what CLEAN architecture was and how it was implemented, and much more.

If you ever need a break from your screen, you can always hit up someone in the office for a round of table tennis. If the table tennis table is taken, you can always sit on the balcony to relax and enjoy the sunshine. Bonus if it’s the last Friday of the month as there’ll be delicious catered food for the office to munch on.

My first three months at Outware have been amazing. I’ve both started and stopped drinking coffee, gained a bit of weight (working on it!), made some awesome friends, learnt heaps of cool new technologies, and much more! I don’t know what the future holds, but I’m excited to see what the rest of the year has in store for me at Outware!


Walter Ngo is an Android Software Engineering Intern at Outware Mobile.


Originally published at www.outware.com.au.