Learning on the job
Maptek has a long history of supporting university students through training, scholarships and internships to help kickstart their careers.
Each year Maptek selects a small group of Adelaide-based computer science undergraduates to participate in our software development internship program. Places are highly sought after, and for good reason, according to Global Development Strategy Manager Will Reid, who has run the program for several years.
‘Maptek interns gain a unique opportunity to apply skills learned through their studies to developing software that helps the mining industry operate safely and efficiently,’ said Reid.
Matt Stringer, Prajna Gupta, Irhas Gill, Henry Nguyen, Ben Wheeler, Viet An Nguyen and Aiden Mazik worked on various product and backend systems during their 3-month stint. They agreed that writing code to solve real problems was a world away from university studies, and that the experience affirmed their chosen careers.
‘Knowing I have now written code that will be useful to real Maptek customers, my career path finally feels right,’ said Matt Stringer.
Stringer focused on transforming the Property Editor into a single resource for all things related to the properties of objects and highlighted the practical value of his experience.
‘While time, complexity and memory usage are important, ease of maintenance and robustness should take precedence in programming’, Stringer said.
Prajna Gupta, who grappled with changes in application logic as she developed a new web framework, described her experience as insightful, challenging and practical.
‘I really enjoyed the brain-storming sessions with my mentor and senior engineers; I learned how systems are designed from scratch and the importance of UI design principles,’ Gupta said.
‘It was interesting to analyse the viability of various solutions and come up with an appropriate one.’
Making geotechnical analysis on laser scan data easier was the focus for Irhas Gill, who was pleased to find that his internship projects aligned well with his strong interest in mathematics.
‘My first project involved clustering discontinuities in rock walls, the second created 2D bird’s-eye view outlines of underground mines and the last was finding key blocks in underground tunnels,’ Gill said.
‘I believed that algorithms and data structures learned in competitive programming and university work would be less useful in the industry setting, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could still apply that knowledge.’
For Henry Nguyen the internship provided further understanding of his long-term areas of interest, alongside coding practices that will make his course work easier.
‘My key learning was the importance of understanding, analysing and considering all factors, including the business impact, before doing any coding!’
‘I also realised that software engineering is not always about coding; there are many other skills to master to be successful in any career,’ Nguyen said.
Ben Wheeler said his advice to future interns would be to take full advantage of mentoring offered by senior developers and not be afraid to ask questions.
‘The first few weeks I was full of questions as I constantly came across things I had never seen before. Everyone in the team was more than willing to explain concepts, and I found it a really good way to quickly learn a lot,’ Wheeler said.
Viet An Nguyen, who worked on a Google sheets app for core logging, affirmed the supportive environment alongside focusing on customer outcomes as the highlights of her internship.
‘Explaining your thinking process clearly to others, and putting yourself in the users’ shoes when designing an app is critical – what’s convenient and straightforward for a developer may not be convenient and straightforward for the users,’ said An Nyugen.
This year’s cohort strongly encouraged students to apply for future placements with Maptek.
Aiden Mazik, who first met Maptek representatives at ‘The Big Meet’ local careers fair, relished the opportunity to work for a global organisation.
‘The workplace culture demonstrated during the interview was very attractive,’ commented Mazik. ‘I really enjoyed being tested on the way I solved a problem rather than memorising specific programming principles, which other workplaces quiz you on.’
Maptek knows first hand the difficulties of attracting skilled staff in the current job market, with plans to expand our intern program across different disciplines.
For now we wish the 2022-23 cohort all the best for the future!
Read the blog here.
- Interns gained new skills and applied them to real world projects during a 12-week stint in various Maptek development teams
- Benefits included learning new code, the value of peer review and being able to understand and read code within large existing code bases
- Interns enjoyed the workplace culture and returned to university study re-energised for their future careers