My Experience at SOUTHWORKS
Hey there! My name is Ned Machulsky and I am a rising Sophomore at the University of California, Irvine. I study Computer Science and have been blessed with the opportunity to pursue an internship over the summer here at SOUTHWORKS! I decided the best way to wrap things up would be to write about my experience, and some of the things I have learned in my quick time here!
I was first introduced to SOUTHWORKS in early April. I was joyfully greeted by Johnny Halife, and had a nice conversation about my interests, passions, and goals I have set for myself for the upcoming summer. Immediately, I felt welcomed to the SOUTHWORKS family. My first day started off with a welcome conversation which included Johnny, my lead Den, and other coworkers. I walked through some of the basic guidelines and procedures every employee at SOUTHWORKS needs to be familiar with, and before I knew it, I dove right into the beginning of training.
THE TRAINING STAGE
As I joined SOUTHWORKS at the end of my Freshman year of college, my knowledge and understanding of Computer Science was quite limited. I was generally aware of some basic ideas, and was proficient in a couple of languages, however, I never had the chance to see the real-world application of my skills, and was unfamiliar with some concepts. This all changed within the first couple of weeks of my internship. The Bot-Training backlog, created by fellow coworkers, provided me with in-depth exercises and explanations to many of the additional skills I was required to learn before officially joining the team. it was extremely well structured and planned, and allowed me to synchronously cover new information in an order that made perfect sense
To be completely honest, the training process did not lack its hardships and challenges. I had to learn a lot of new material, in a relatively short amount of time. However, I was luckily immensely supported by an incredible team of extremely caring and friendly workers, who immediately helped me whenever I was facing troubles. Honestly, I did not expect such unbelievable treatment. Going into this internship, I thought I would be left to handle challenges by myself. However, I was pleasantly surprised to be proven wrong. I was introduced to a network of talented, hard-working individuals, always ready to help, and always extremely understanding. Reflecting upon my time at the training phase, I believe that the fact that everyone else went through the exact same process allowed them to more closely understand some of my struggles, and helped me connect with some of my coworkers through video chats and meetings.
FIRST (REAL) DAY
Before I knew it, I completed training and began working with the team. I guess time does pass quickly when you are having fun! Luckily, the transition between the training stage to the working stage was extremely smooth, as I was already familiar with the majority of the team, and worked with them on numerous issues I have encountered until that stage. I was able to start off fairly quickly, and found out that many of the topics I covered in training were heavily integrated within many of the issues our team faced on a daily basis. For me, this was especially interesting, as I was able to see how I can apply some of my knowledge into a real world application, which directly impacts the functionality of a larger-scale program.
One of my favorite things to do during this internship was to work with the client and see how our small team creates a big impact. Frankly, I did not expect to have such a big exposure to our project, and was delighted when I had an opportunity to bring in my own input and attempt to help finish tasks for our client. It took me a while to understand the overarching of the code I am writing. At the end of the day, it was sent to our client, who then included it. The idea that some of the code my team and I wrote impacts millions of people on a daily basis is still astounding to me. Looking back at the internship as a whole, I think one of the most exciting moments for me was to publish my first ever PR. I think that it symbolized the process I have gone through, and all of the knowledge I have acquired in such a short amount of time. In just a few weeks, I was able to experience and practice many new skills, and was able to eventually bring them all together when creating this PR.
Lastly, I think it is important to acknowledge the extremely impressive way SOUTHWORKS handled the horrendous impact of COVID-19. Originally, I was supposed to intern in person, living in Israel for the summer. Due to obvious reasons, I had to take on this internship remotely. At first, I was nervous that I won’t be able to maximize the full potential of the program. However, the constant availability of everyone made me almost forget I was in fact thousands of miles away from my coworkers. It seemed as if even though I had physical limitations, I was able to learn and experience just as much, and the majority of that is due to SOUTHWORKS’ excellent communication and work environment.
Sadly, I only have a few more days remaining at SOUTHWORKS. I am more than grateful for the incredible opportunities I was presented with, the neverending support from the team, and the hours upon hours spent on helping me progress and improve as an aspiring computer scientist. I would like to thank everyone who made this experience as enjoyable as it was. Without the family-like unity SOUTHWORKS presented me with, I would have never been able to successfully complete such a rewarding challenge. Thanks for everything!