Meet our brilliant summer interns from 2021

This summer, two talented computer science undergraduates, Khadeja and Alex, successfully completed our popular paid internship program.

So how did it go? What did they learn? What did they enjoy most? How did they handle remote working?

Before they headed back to university, I caught up with them to hear all about their Cambridge Intelligence internship experience.

Meet Khadeja Sajjad

Khadeja Sajjad software development intern
Loughborough University student, Khadeja, was one of our summer 2021 interns

Why did you apply to Cambridge Intelligence?

I’d already secured an internship with another company, but I was still looking around for something more exciting. I saw your internship program for developers and thought ‘this is so interesting’. I had experience in web development and JavaScript already, but I really wanted to work with data visualization software because I knew it could help with my final year research project at university.

What were you working on?

I joined the development team responsible for KronoGraph, the timeline visualization toolkit. One of my projects was helping customers build applications that used KronoGraph together with the graph visualization toolkits. I worked on the integration code and the core code, developing an API to save customers time if they’re using KronoGraph with KeyLines.

“Someone’s always ready to jump on a call if you need extra help”

How quickly did you settle in?

Pretty fast! It didn’t take long to learn about the team’s agile processes. The codebase is huge, but you just have to dive in and understand how it all works. Although I was an intern developer, the rest of the team really valued my input and feedback. It was great to know that they listened to me and used my contributions to improve the product.

How did remote working suit you?

Working remotely was easier than I thought thanks to the team’s great support. I stayed in Loughborough during my internship and only got to see my team face-to-face once, but I always felt part of the team. I was assigned a ‘feature buddy’ to help me understand everything about the product. They’d be the first person I’d turn to if I needed any help, but everyone was really helpful. Whenever I posted a question on our team messaging service someone always responded really quickly. And someone’s always ready to jump on a call if you need extra help.

There were lots of other ways to keep in touch too. We had regular coffee catch-ups where the team would hang out to chat about random stuff, not necessarily work-related.

What did you enjoy most?

Every Friday, the entire development teamwork on their own ideas for improving the products. These Friday Projects are great because everyone shares what they’ve done and you see lots of cool stuff.

For my Friday Project I used KronoGraph and KeyLines to detect patterns in product review data to see if it was possible to detect fake product reviews on Amazon. I built a demo application and shared my analysis with the team, and then wrote a blog post about it too. It was a fun project and I managed to learn some React.

graph visualization of Amazon product ratings
Khadeja’s Friday Project: Building a data visualization app to spot fake Amazon reviews

What advice would you give to future interns?

I’d say: get used to writing high-quality code. Cambridge Intelligence creates toolkits for other developers and, naturally, we obsess over the code quality – they have extremely high standards. It’s strict in a positive way though, and it’s a good practice which I’ve now adopted.

What’s next?

I’m looking forward to finishing my degree and the internship has given me great ideas for my research project. Once I graduate I’ll apply to do a Master’s degree at Cambridge or Oxford.

I’ve enjoyed my experience so much at Cambridge Intelligence that I want to come back next year, so fingers crossed, I may return!

Meet Alex Ramsay

Alex Ramsay software development intern
Cambridge University student, Alex Ramsay

What attracted you to the internship?

I’d just finished my 2nd year studying computer science at the University of Cambridge and I wanted to get some hands-on experience of software development and learn more JavaScript. I was really keen to experience life as a software developer because it’s one of my future career options.

What was it like to work in a development team?

I was in the KeyLines team and the work was interesting and varied. They have daily stand-ups and fortnightly sprint planning and reviews, with plenty of catch-ups in between, and pairing on certain projects. There was always something different to work on. The tasks were really well structured and I got a good understanding of what the other development teams were working on too. You’re never working in isolation.

“I can certainly recommend an internship at Cambridge Intelligence, it’s been excellent”

What were your favorite projects?

One of my projects was replacing missing CSS or HTML code in our product documentation.

For another project, I worked on implementing a playground prototype for KeyLines. I paired up with someone from the team and it’s been quite a tricky project from investigation through to implementation. The first attempt didn’t work so we had to look at other options and really try to problem solve to get it working.

Did you love Friday Projects as much as Khadeja?

Yes! They allowed me to really explore the mechanics of KeyLines. I got to recreate the basic elements of KeyLines from scratch using HTML Canvas, then WebGL, then WebGL 3D and then adding some layouts. Friday Projects gave me the space and opportunity to try out and test new things.

graph visualization of Amazon product ratings
Alex’s Friday Project: Data visualization using KeyLines

What was it like to do a ‘remote’ internship?

It was great. I’m based in Cambridge so I was able to catch up with everyone through one of many social outings. It’s clear that the company really takes care of its staff.

The first event was very memorable and really fun. We planned a long punt along the River Cam (a summer tradition at Cambridge Intelligence), but one of my teammates fell in!

What did you learn from your time here?

The big success of my internship was seeing the whole development process of a commercial product. I’ve learned a lot from writing the code, and it’s great knowing that I’ve contributed to a real commercial product. I now have a great understanding of how developers write code, from build steps and processes to sprints, QA testing and pull requests. It’s been a fantastic learning experience.

What does the future hold?

I’m looking forward to my final year at Cambridge. I’m not quite sure what I’ll do when I finish, but I can certainly recommend an internship at Cambridge Intelligence, it’s been excellent.

Interested in joining us for 2022?

It’s a great opportunity to work with an awesome team, learn real-world coding and business skills and get some excellent experience.

Applications are now open for our 2022 summer internship program. What are you waiting for?

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