Casper has been an intern at Elements for a while now. About time to put this 2nd year software engineering student through the test and ask him what working at Elements is really like. This blog will summarize his experiences and professional development thus far and might inspire you to walk the same path.
Hi, my name is Casper! My high school was not too exciting, I did senior general secondary education. Then I took a gap year to see what I wanted to do with my life. I could already do a bit of programming, but programming education was not for me because I thought that the competition there would be really fierce. After some hesitation I decided to do it anyway. I decided to follow my current course in software engineering. It soon became clear that no one knew what they were doing on the course and so with my little experience I was more than okay.
“I came in and I immediately said that I wanted to strive to become a senior intern. Even though this is a fictional role I wanted to be able to put this on my LinkedIn.” - Casper
Since I'm in my 2nd year it's pretty hard to find an internship, companies mainly look for 3rd year students because of the extra experience. One of my teachers in college, named Chris, contacted me about a company called Elements that did software development. When Chris offered me to come to Elements for an internship, I immediately accepted. I ended up at Elements through his guidance. In the end this was just pure coincidence. The first official contact with Elements was with one of the owners of the company named Barbara. She interviewed me about my goals and ambitions for the internship.We had a good click and she decided to hire me. This is how it all started.
“I remember when Casper had to submit a research paper and that it was so good they flagged him for fraud, they were lyrical about him when they found out that there was no fraud at play.” - Chris
My first impression of the atmosphere at the Elements office in Almere was that it was very informal and super relaxed. There is no hierarchy at all. You know that the senior developers have way more knowledge, but they just treat you very normally. I couldn't have found a better place than Elements.
My first week I was given a booklet to learn Swift, the programming language they use for iOS development. Prior to this Internship I had never worked with something even remotely related to iOS. So it took some time getting used to and reading up on, but then I made the following commitment: "Give me 2 weeks and I'll make a fine iOS application." I thought if I made such a promise, then I'm so stuck on it that I'd look like a fool if I didn’t make it. It worked out just fine in the end, I made a fine application thanks to this hard deadline. Well fine… at least it worked. The application gave the user the ability to add a comment to a photographed object, so you could eventually have a whole comment section under a particular object.
“When he came in, my first impression was that he was a quiet somewhat introverted guy. However, when we started talking I was surprised by how open he actually is. A very authentic person, super friendly and super smart." - Barbara
Currently, I’m working on porting a proof of concept application from Android to iOS. This is a process where I really notice the workload from my school. I have to write so many reports and reflections for my course that I don't get around to doing the amount of iOS development that I would like to. I'm mostly doing a lot of research for my school report, so I don't get as much time to work on the application that I really would like to work on.
On one hand, it doesn't connect at all because I chose something completely different, namely iOS development. For my education I have been doing web development, which is also the area I had experience in before I started the education. At Elements I am doing application development, which is completely different. On the other hand, programming is still programming. One programming language has different syntax, but the logic is all the same. The general architecture is directly in line with my education. In school, I learned programming and learned to build applications using web development. Now it's just a matter of learning a different syntax and a different platform. If you know how to apply the knowledge you've acquired, it's a wonderful fit, but if you expect to continue doing the same things you did at school, you'll have to switch gears.
My free time is a little issue now. With all the energy and effort that the internship takes, including things such as the travel time to the office, I notice that I have little time left for my own projects that I would like to do in my spare time. The motivation to work on my own projects outside of school is present, but the time and energy just aren't there. I make sure that I work my 40 internship hours a week, but the interpretation of this can sometimes vary. Sometimes I prefer to work a little longer in the evening and sometimes during the day. Fortunately, Elements is very flexible in this respect.
The atmosphere here is just excellent, so if you're worried about your internship placement or whether you'll fit in well with the group, you certainly don't need to worry about those aspects at Elements. The atmosphere ensures that everyone continues to develop themselves within the company and that beautiful applications are built. I really enjoy my time here and the tasks I take on are also tasks that I want to do. Which in the end is a very important part of your internship; ‘Do what you like and what you want to become better at.’ It's so flexible and informal here, if you have feedback on certain points they actually pick it up instead of just ignoring it. Your feedback is appreciated and they listen to you as if you were a regular colleague instead of just an intern.
"The great thing about Elements is the atmosphere; this word sums up all my experiences with the company." -Casper
I will continue my education and go through the necessary pathways to actually pass my degree. On the one hand I am considering continuing at Elements, it's just that I will have little time for my own projects. Before I joined Elements, I started my own start-up, which is now a bit diluted due to the lack of time. So I'm hesitating between continuing on my own and joining Elements. Elements is a very stable company and you can develop yourself well. A start-up is more risky and therefore a bigger gamble. My future path has yet to reveal itself…
Did you like reading this blog? And would you like to have an internship at Elements yourself? Check our career site and send your contacts to firstname.lastname@example.org
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May 31, 2022