While many students use their summer to relax and spend time with friends, Godwin senior Allison Tieman spent hers at her coding internship.

Tieman found out about the opportunity through her sister, who had earlier completed the same internship. She opted to partake in an internship that was computer science related to help her decide if she wants to pursue computer science as a career.

Tieman’s interest was sparked by Tech Em because of the laid back atmosphere, flexible hours, the type of projects she would be able to work on, and because it was a paid internship. She was applying along with 22 other students, with only four internship spots available.

Tech Em is an after-school and homeschool technology program that offers classes, camps, and training focused on computer science and computer-aided design.

“I reached out to Wray Mills, the owner of Tech Em, and set up an interview. I had to interview with the owner of Tech Em and the lead technology instructor, and then complete an assignment they gave all of the interns that were applying,” said Tieman.

Part of applying meant Tieman had to complete a coding project in either HTML or Python ( two different coding languages). Tieman decided that she wanted to complete her project in Python.

For the project, Tieman had to write a code that would generate Pascal’s Triangle (which is used to make separating polynomials with a higher degree easier). Tieman completed the project in about a week.

“The owner of Tech Em emailed me a few weeks after submitting my coding project and said that I got the internship,” said Tieman.

While Tieman’s responsibilities as an intern mainly consisted of back office work,she also got the opportunity to help teach at some of the camps that Tech Em offered to children.

Tieman teaches a kid how to code during a camp.
Photo courtesy Tech Em studios

Tieman helped teach the Alexa skills camp, which is a program that teaches children how to code for Alexa. She then helped them tests their code and check their work.

Alexa skills are apps that are meant for Alexa. There are many different categories or topics you can have Alexa skills for, like finance, news, studying, games, etc.  Each individual Alexa skill enables Alexa to do another task.

“I think that in order to really know something, you need to be able to explain it to someone else. Teaching some of the classes really helped me gain a better understanding of the material and I loved being able to share that knowledge with others,” said Tieman.

Tieman was also able to help redesign the company’s website, which was done using the coding languages HTML, CSS, and Javascript.

“It was amazing discovering how quickly I could learn the coding languages, because I already had the foundations of coding from taking computer science last year,” said Tieman.

During the internship, she also got the chance to work with an Amazon developer to code, build, and test Alexa skills using Python coding language.

“I learned four new coding languages (HTML, CSS, Java Script, and Python). I also learned a lot about the importance of communication,” said Tieman.

Throughout the internship, Tieman also got the chance to learn more about workspace technology. Tech Em used a program named Slack, which is used between employees to message coworkers directly.

The office also used a program named GitHub, which Tieman used often when editing the code for Tech Em’s website. GitHub is used as a demo website, where you can see and edit the new website while also keeping the old one visible to the public.

“When redesigning the website, we encountered a number of issues. Sometimes, the instructors would come in for the day or for part of the day to work with us so that we could sort out the problem together,” said Tieman.

Tieman realized at the end of the internship that she wants to go into a systems engineering field, rather than computer science field.

“It was extremely helpful doing an internship in the computer science field because it gave me more of a perspective of what people in computer science do in the real world. It was totally different than the class last year which was just learning how to code,” said Tieman.

“If you have the chance to do an internship, take it! They are a great opportunity to explore areas that you are interested in and they give you great experience in the professional work world,” said Tieman.

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