Michael Schiff (Star Group, Philadelphia, PA)

I spent the summer as a web development intern at Star Group in Philadelphia. During that period I gained firsthand experience working in a modern development environment. Web development requires knowledge of a variety of web technologies, and as such, I developed skills in PHP, HTML, CSS, SASS, JavaScript, jQuery, MySQL, and MongoDB. I also gained experience working with content management systems such as WordPress and Drupal.

I learned the importance of version control, and how to work on large-scale team projects. During the course of my internship, I worked on a variety projects. The primary project was a large-scale survey system for use by PepsiCo of South America in Mexico, Brazil, and other countries. This was designed as a web application that could be used online in desktop browsers and offline on android tablets for survey administration. The project brought with it a large number of challenges with regards to data organization and migration. I also worked on a number of WordPress sites, and a website built upon the CodeIgniter framework.

I went into the internship with some web development experience, though I was not proficient, nor did I know modern practices. The team at Star Group was extremely understanding with regards to my skill-set. They assured me that they brought me on because it was apparent that I was driven to learn, and that I could quickly become an asset to their team. In the early weeks the developers took turns breaking off from their tasks to give the interns lessons on modern development practices and tips and tricks for various languages. They would also occasionally assign us minor tasks on which to work, aside from the current development project, to strengthen our abilities. I appreciated these extra steps that the developers took, and I came out of the internship much more capable than when I started.

I highly recommend an internship to any computer science student. It is a perfect way to complement the education that is received in the classroom, and to gain experience developing in a real-world environment.