The night before my first day working at Genospace as a software engineering intern, I was lying in bed, wide awake and very nervous. I transferred into the computer science major in the middle of my junior year at Boston University, so you can only imagine the task I had in front of me -- working at an established software startup while only having the ability to offer a small set of skills. My previous work history comprised of mostly odd jobs and part-time, administrative positions on campus. Working at Genospace was the first opportunity I had to be a part of the “real working world”. Thankfully, I had nothing to worry about because my internship at Genospace turned out to be one of the best learning experiences I’ve had.
As I got more comfortable handling smaller tasks, I was able to transition from fixing bugs to implementing a portion of the application that I would be able to call my own. Because I was an intern, I never imagined myself to be building anything that would be used by customers/users, so this was an exciting task for me. I think it’s awesome that the Genospace team is relatively small and has a startup atmosphere because this meant that, even as an intern, I contributed value to the company and what I had to offer wasn’t overlooked. This also meant that if I had a question about a piece of code, or the purpose of a specific part of an application, or where to go for my lunch break -- the experts of every department were working in the same room as me. Any question I had could be answered almost immediately and I was part of a community, not just a company.
I think Genospace has the perfect mix of structure and freedom because I always had room to explore different applications and how the programs worked, while having the guidance to do what needed to get done -- and I think that is a very important aspect of an internship. I can wholeheartedly say that during the eight weeks I worked at Genospace, I learned more in the office than in any college classroom and I am taking away a skill set that will be used in the classroom as well as the workplace.
How I Got In
I still distinctly remember the screening round where my interviewer asked a very basic question about implementing a tech stack but I, having never worked with stacks, was not prepared. Thinking I had messed up my chances, I hesitantly asked if she could change the question, but to my surprise she readily agreed and gave me another question to solve and... Bingo. I was through to the next round. This was my first glimpse of how flexible and approachable the Genospace team is.
What I Learned
Being an intern on the DevOps team, I got to work with the latest technologies like Kubernetes, Docker, and Jenkins first hand. I worked extensively on a Jenkins pipeline where the sole objective revolves around making the life of developers easier by providing automation solutions. It not only helps to build, package, and deploy code but it can also be integrated with so many available plugins to create very handy utility services. For example, by using the HipChat plugin, one can get desired notifications for every job that runs. Similarly, it's very convenient to play around with git. At Genospace, this helped us in automating our release branch merge process, which merges the release branch to master and develop branches, thereby saving the developers from the pain of doing these redundant tasks manually. The level of automation that Jenkins provides is limitless and depends on the imagination of a DevOps developer. I also got a chance to work on Kubernetes, Docker, and Splunk in a limited capacity, each nonetheless very helpful in building my technical skill set, which will definitely help me going forward.
My Overall Experience
This internship gave me a sense of satisfaction knowing that long after I am gone from Genospace, people will still use my automation work to make their day-to-day life easier. I absolutely loved the work culture at Genospace where everyone contributes to make the environment very amiable and warm. People enjoy their work and are always more than ready to help others. Overall, I’m so glad that I did this internship! I would like to thank my colleagues who instilled a sense of confidence and responsibility by providing me the opportunities to take on tasks that were both challenging as well as exciting.
As a student just getting into design, Genospace was an amazing place to learn and grow my skills and design process. After my internship, I can see a huge difference in the quality of my work and the way I approach design problems. At the beginning of my internship I didn’t foresee how much I would learn over the summer and I am extremely grateful for the mentorship and support from the Genospace team.
Working at Genospace was my first UX design role in a professional setting and I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect. On my first day everyone was extremely welcoming and helped me get adjusted. Jumping into the work, I quickly adapted to the design methodology at Genospace and was constantly working on all aspects of the process - from research and mockups, to user testing and communicating with engineering. My mentor and design lead made sure that I was learning as much as I could and we had weekly meetings to set goals and check in on my progress. Through his mentorship, I was able to not only improve my UX tactical skills, but also widen the breadth of my thinking and approach to problems. I also learned how to better articulate the reasoning behind each design decision and ensure that each aspect of the design was done purposefully. Although I became a better designer through guidance from my mentor, I also learned a lot from the other teams at Genospace.
Being in an environment where I was not siloed as a designer, but interacted with other teams regularly, really helped me develop and understand the role of design. Working with product owners who prioritized features was extremely valuable, as they always took the time to explain details and provided an experienced perspective regarding the Genospace platform. The engineering teams, who bring the designs to life, were keen to collaborate and find solutions that not only gave an optimal user experience, but were also feasible within given constraints. Some of our projects involved developing internal tools with the data science team who participated in interviews and whiteboarding sessions, which were extremely helpful. Being in a fostering environment where I could be open and ask any question without feeling judged really helped me learn and see where I could contribute best.
My internship at Genospace helped me grow and develop my tactical UX skills, as well as my communication and collaboration skills, in a larger team setting. It was amazing to work with such a supportive team, including the product owners, engineers, data scientists, and management who helped me along the way. I’m grateful for the opportunity to work at Genospace - it was truly a rewarding experience.
My summer internship at Genospace provided me with valuable hands-on experience and the opportunity to learn and improve my software engineering skills. Genospace has a great work culture that encouraged me to take initiative and get the work done, with an excellent support system to guide me in the right direction. Every morning I looked forward to work and my day ahead. The sense of fulfillment, knowing that your code directly contributes to making life easier for clinicians and researchers who are working in oncology and rare diseases, was great. It was an awesome experience to learn and grow with an extremely talented and helpful team of individuals.
Working at Genospace was my first real work experience outside of a lab. I had no real web development experience and I thought ‘Groovy’ was nothing more than a word popularised by the 70s disco scene. On my first day, I came to work feeling how I assume most interns do: excited, with underlying tones of dread. I expected a steep learning curve. I expected to be challenged. And I expected to have a full plate. Over the course of the last few months, I have discovered these expectations were accurate, but in the best way possible.
Genospace is a small company. This meant that the work I did mattered, no matter how menial the task. The environment demanded that I was engaged in the process and that I participated actively. If this sounds intimidating, it was! But after the initial shock, it was empowering. I started to get involved in the planning process and contributed to designing solutions to system problems. Everyone’s voice truly mattered, and the team valued my opinion and ideas just as much as anyone else’s.
There was a great deal of personal responsibility expected, but at the same time, there was a good balance of team responsibility. Whenever I found myself stuck, or wanted to work on something that I had no idea how to start, people would offer to pair program or help me fine-tune solutions. I never once felt that I was left to fend for myself because help was always just an arm’s length away.
Perhaps the most taxing part of the internship was the code review process. There were high standards, but once I found my Groove(y), and could justify the logic behind my written code, I became a better engineer. People poking holes in code I wrote forced me to look at a solution from many different perspectives and as a result, I wrote more robust code.
During my internship, I didn’t realise that all the code revisions and participation in team meetings made me a better, more confident engineer. Looking back, I have learned so much during the last few months.
In addition to the work aspect of the internship, the whole company is incredibly kind and supportive - which is not an overstatement because I met each and every one of them in my first week. Everyone here wants to see you succeed, whether at Genospace, or wherever else you end up in life.