"Would I do the internship again? Yes. That's easy."
As part of our series of interviews with jStart interns, we sat down with DeRauk Gibble, who came to us from Penn State University, and who was with jStart from January 2013 - August 2013. DeRauk worked primarily on the jStart Pulse project to collect Twitter information, analyze the text, and find key infllencers for particular topics. He also worked on everything from IBM BlueMix to a project to enable Apache's Nutch project on BlueMix during the IBM Hackathon Day.
QSo, why did you choose jStart?
AI chose jStart because I liked the idea of working in emerging technologies...I really like new technology, I'm always reading up on hacker news, and the idea that I could play with new technologies and get paid for it was an idea that was attractive to me.
QWhat did you hope to get out of the internship?
A What I really wanted to get out of the internship was to have the experience of working for a large IT company like IBM (and, to be honest, to have that experience on my resume), the experience of dealing with the entire lifecycle of application development--from initial design to finished product, and pretty much play with new technologies. I was really interested to learn how a big company like IBM investigates new techs and picks the technologies that it will invest in.
QDid you reach those goals?
A Well, I have IBM on my resume (chuckles)...I definitely have found out how IBM picks new technologies and what their thought process is regarding what they want to investigate and go after. As far as application lifecycle--I got more from this internship than my than any other because of the experience with software lifecycle development this internship offered me. I also got to work on an idea, turn it into real code up to the point where we got things working and see actually see it come into fruition.
QWhat was most challenging about the internship? Any surprises?
A What was interesting is that I learned that when working with emerging technologies, software isn’t necessarily guaranteed to work...you deal with a lot of bugs and a lack of documentation, and it can be frustrating. You learn to find mailing lists, others who are struggling with the new technology...even how to research on your own. It was a little surprising and definitely a challenge when I first got here. But, when you think about it, that's the nature of emerging technologies.
QWhat's the one thing you're most proud of that you achieved while working at jStart?
A I really liked how I figured out provisioning with OpenStack. It was also cool that I came up with the idea of utilizing Titan, and it was not only accepted, but made an integral part of one of jStart’s projects.
QWhat's the one thing you wish you could do over, or improve, from your experience with jStart?
A I would spend more time thinking of a design before implementing it. I learned that a good design, upfront, will save a lot of time and prevent a lot of frustration down the road.
QHow much longer until you graduate?
A I will be graduating with my undergrad degree in Dec. 2014. Still debating graduate school.
QWhat do you plan on doing after graduation? Or have you thought that far ahead yet?
A That's a tough one...it seems so far down the road. Well, I’m thinking about grad school, but I'm also considering going into the workforce. For grad school, I'd either want to get an MBA or do some research in computer science. If I go out into the workforce, I think that while I'm young, and have relatively few responsibilities beyond those that I have to myself, I’d like to experience life in a startup.
QWhat's your opinion of jStart?
A jStart is great. Everybody on the team is helpful, they give you a lot of freedom...basically, you get out of it what you put into it. The team has allowed me to actually participate in the decision making process--and they listened to my ideas and thoughts. In fact, they expected that from me. They’re very open to your ideas, and actually let you help shape how a project develops.
QWould you do it again?
A Yes. That’s easy.
QAny advice you'd leave for future interns?
A Work your butt off. In all seriousness, as I mentioned before, with this internship in particular, you really do get out of it what you put into it. So, my advice would be: put in as much as you can. Don’t be afraid to give them your ideas. They’re very open to listening to you and your ideas can even turn those ideas into a project. At the end of the day, you'll have the freedom to make the experience into something that will benefit you the most...and have a good time while you're doing it.
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