Chris Moore and Tom Smith both joined Red Gate on an 8 week summer internship programme in 2012. For Chris, this was his first experience of Red Gate, but for Tom it was his second. What was it about Red Gate’s internship that made it stand out amongst others; was it free food, nerf wars and foosball, or knowing they’d do useful work and learn along the way? We speak to them in the few months before their return to Red Gate as Graduate Software Engineers.
“Red Gate has given me the perfect amount of support over my internship to prepare me for a career in software engineering and the technology sector in general.”
Chris: Having never worked in software engineering, I could tell from having already visited Red Gate for an interview that I was in for a relaxed, fun working environment and I wasn't wrong. Learning was the most enjoyable aspect. Software engineering has a rather vast body of knowledge to go with it and they’ll always be so much to learn!
Tom: I think as an intern it's great to know that you're actually doing useful stuff and haven't just been pushed to the side – this is why Red Gate stood out for me. On a typical day at the office you’ll obviously spend a lot of your time programming, but there are lots of other things to get involved in as well. This could be helping to plan new features for a product, code reviews, daily stand-up meetings or the lightning talks [short technical talks] which take place regularly.
Tom: Of course, they’ll always be challenges too! Learning to work with the existing codebase was probably the hardest part for me - it was much larger than any project I'd seen before, and you can't find all the answers online. While this will always be a problem with joining a large project, it shouldn't be a lasting problem, and there will be plenty of help.
Chris: I expected my biggest challenge to be bringing my base knowledge up to decent level having come from a mathematical rather than a computer science background; however, I soon got up to speed with the support of my mentor. More challenging was actually forcing myself to have some downtime when I got home, rather than picking up one of the many books I'd borrowed from the office to keep learning!
“Actual experience in a software company, and learning to program as part of a team is second to none.”
Chris: I know Red Gate has given me the perfect amount of support over my internship to prepare me for a career in software engineering and the technology sector in general. It’s fostered my interest in areas of software engineering I hadn't even heard of!
Tom: Having actual experience in a software company, and learning to program as part of a team is second to none. For those wanting to pursue this career, I would definitely recommend getting some programming experience, whether it be through an internship or just in your spare time. Don't worry about learning specific programming languages – as long as you show the passion and aptitude, most companies know that you'll be able to learn their predominant language fairly quickly.