by Jesse Lloyd, Senior CS Major
Over the course of the summer of 2015 and the Fall 2015 semester, I had the opportunity of working with 8th Day Software in Henderson, TN. I worked with a group of hardworking and dedicated individuals who I am now able to call my good friends.
To be more specific regarding my duties, I was responsible for recreating an entire website for commercial use, redesigning the user interface for the end-product, improving user functionality, and, at the same time, keeping it simple and user-friendly on a range of devices (i.e., responsive). This was no easy undertaking. At the beginning of my internship, I was quite daunted by all the new systems I had to work with and the speed at which my peers were working. I was not used to an environment where it was so vital to deliver a product in such a deadline-focused way. Of course I had completed assignments on time before, but this was different. The company projects were more a series of living, breathing services with many different layers to manage.
The CEO of the company, Dave Loschinskey, comes from a very successful career in enterprise software development in the medical industry at Accredo Health. I knew that there would be high expectations, given the level of experience Dave had not only with programming but also the medical industry. This helps to keep the standards for quality high, and a passionate drive to help people with the products we are making. Working with the a team of around 6 software developers, I eased into the development process, learning more about sharing code and keeping it safe with online source code management tools. This was not an entirely new concept to me, but working in a larger environment helped me to become much more comfortable using the system.
After some time learning the ropes, I quickly found myself a dependable part of our team. I have always been very surprised at how involved I have ended up being in the internship process. Often,internships are seen as, “Go make the coffee and pick up my suits from the dry cleaners.” My experience at 8th Day was a completely different story;, I had real responsibilities, real deadlines, and real work to be doing. Working on the company's in-house project-management system was exciting, and seeing my code and front-end designs integrated into our product made me very excited to be a part of it.
During my time with 8th Day over the last 6 months, I have learned more than I ever thought I could. My understanding of web applications has increased in so many ways, from the basics of client/server communication to more advanced topics, such as how to handle these communications in a more efficient manner on the back-end. Most of my work took place in the Presentation and Orchestration layers of our system, working with front-end logic and REST API calls that would result in displaying dynamic data. These are just a few of the skills that I have acquired while working at the company. I learned so much about software development as a whole, and specifically the Agile software development process. It was valuable to work with an official development paradigm, as I was then able to compare it with the Waterfall process that I studied this semester in my Software Engineering class. It has really been a privilege to be a part of a company that is still in its early years and to see it grow and to be a direct part of that growth.
The internship experience was probably the most important part of my college education so far. I had worked in a corporate environment before, but having my own desk and my own space, and my own responsibilities really encouraged me to learn and grow. My development skills have improved dramatically as a result of this internship. I would recommend it to anyone who is looking to do any kind of software development. Even if a developer isn’t planning on going into web development, I still would recommend an internship in this field since it helps to gain an understanding of how systems communicate and how layered architectures work.
All in all, this has been a very challenging experience, but the rewards far outweigh the obstacles. Keeping dedicated and working hard in this environment produces real results that have made me a better developer. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to learn from more experienced programmers. This internship has given me the exposure I’ve needed to become part of the software development industry. I am pleased to say that after this introduction to real world development, I am excited about what opportunities lie next.