Zichen Jiang: Tales From my Internship with Indellient

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Like our business, our people don’t fit into a cookie-cutter model either, and Indellient’s story can’t be told without them. The Faces of Indellient: Employee Spotlights will feature some of the faces that make up our team – each of whom influence our success.

This blog was written by Zichen, an intern at Indellient. We wish him all the best on his next adventure.

Meet Zichen

I am a Computer Science student completing my last year of undergraduate studies at McMaster University. I interned at Indellient for 16 months. I spent the first 10 months working on Blue Relay and the next 6 working on Business Intelligence Solutions, both as a software developer.

Zichen Jiang (middle) attending a DeltaHacks event at his alma mater.

Zichen Jiang (middle) attending a DeltaHacks event at his alma mater.

It’s amazing how fast 16 months have passed by! Here is my recollection of my internship.

The Welcome

When I first joined Indellient, I was a bit intimidated. It was my first time working in a company of this size and professional environment. Luckily, Indellient’s tradition of welcoming new members with donuts broke the ice. The tradition incentivizes people to introduce themselves to the new hire in a very casual way. I met everyone on the first day and introduced myself. Being welcomed like this from the start helped grow my sense of belongingness.

Taken in June 2016, one month after I joined Indellient

Taken in June 2016, one month after I joined Indellient.

The Work

My supervisors cared about my growth in the company and helped me reach my career goals. They gave me chances to explore various technologies as well as different sides of the business. Along with gaining technical experience, I have improved my communication skills and teamwork. I worked on developing a responsive design, single sign-on integration, cloud drive integration, data warehouse, and report visualization.

Of the many tasks I’ve worked on, my favorite were developing a responsive design, single sign-on integration, cloud drive integration, data warehouse, and report visualization.

In both of my positions, I was given freedom to design the solutions. I wasn’t told what to do step by step but could learn as I go and learn from my mistakes. For example, I was free to choose what libraries/plugins to use. This gave me the chance to research different alternatives and compare them in terms of usability, performance, and maintainability.

I even attended design sessions to draft out the architecture of systems for the Blue Relay team. Although I did similar things in school, it was my first time doing so on an actual business product. It made me realize that there are many other aspects of the software to think about before coding starts, even beyond the technology level. It was a great experience that enabled me to succeed both at school and work.

Furthermore, working with Business Intelligence Solutions involved technologies and skillsets I hadn’t worked with previously. Instead of programming based on requirements, I needed to understand the business model, develop a data warehouse, and build dashboards to match clients’ business needs. I was exposed to a totally different environment. I did research independently and collaborated with coworkers and clients to develop my skillsets and understanding of the business. All the work and time I put in paid off when I received positive feedback after clients saw the final dashboard. Having never worked on this side of the technology before, it was truly amazing to see how raw data can be turned into useful visualizations in which clients can analyze and draw conclusions.

All the work and time I put in paid off when I received positive feedback after clients saw the final dashboard. Having never worked on this side of the technology before, it was truly amazing to see how raw data can be turned into useful visualizations in which clients can analyze and draw conclusions.

Code Review

Every Friday afternoon, the Blue Relay team would gather and have a few hours for code review. We pulled up our code written during the week, explained what each piece does, and received feedback from others. We would get feedback on both code style and logic in the solutions. It was a great way to improve programming skills and learn from other great minds.

Outside Work

Being part of Indellient isn’t just about working 8 hours a day, there are also monthly team bonding events that allowed me to build personal relationships with my coworkers. Events like skating, company picnics, and golfing were great opportunities to get to know others.

Decorated my first real Christmas tree.

Decorated my first real Christmas tree.

I have also been involved in many meaningful events. I helped host charity bake sales, rode on a 30-person big bike, biked on a highway, and mentored at a hackathon to raise awareness for causes and contribute to society, outside of work. Activities like these gave me chances to explore and realize my values beyond work.

Riding the Big Bike.

Riding the Big Bike.

Post ride gathering after Ride for Heart.

Post ride gathering after Ride for Heart.

Indellient also cares about the health of employees – there were two series of introductory yoga sessions which helped me relieve tension from work. I also took away a few poses to practice at home!

Yoga session.

Yoga session.

A Culture of Learning

Indellient fosters a culture of continuous learning. I enjoyed the frequent lunch and learns that were held so fellow employees could present a topic from their areas of work and share experiences with others. These sessions introduced me to the many other aspects of business Indellient dabbles in, and was introduced to new subjects, such as machine learning with IBM Watson and Chef, an IT infrastructure automation software. I even got to present my work on single sign-on to the Blue Relay team at the first lunch and learn! It gave me a huge sense of achievement and motivation.

On top of learning about what other teams do during work, there was also learning opportunities after work. I was involved in an IoT project where we incorporate external devices to the coffee pot at work to broadcast the coffee status to all employees. I worked on building a Slackbot that interacts with users and inform them when the coffee’s ready. The project was a fun way to hone my skills even further and interact with employees.

Thank you­­!

My internship at Indellient gave me a unique experience at a company with an outstanding culture that will change my perspective on business operations. From developing professional skills to maintaining a balanced lifestyle, I truly appreciate having such a great opportunity at Indellient! Thanks to everyone that made that possible!