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A Conversation with Flexagon’s Interns

At Flexagon, we take our internship program seriously. While we typically focus our search on those going for a Computer Science degree, we are willing to take other degrees (usually Math and Engineering based) for the right person. What does the “right” person look like? We want people that are hard workers, smart, innovators, and those that aren’t afraid to dive in and get involved! We want people that are willing to work hard, and have fun along the way. We not only value our intern’s ideas, we expect that they will offer up suggestions and different ways to look at problems. This is a great chance for us to get to know and work with people that will potentially become full-time employees after graduation.

With the summer coming to an end and school starting up again, we sat down with a few of our interns to talk about their experience working with Flexagon this summer.

Flexagon: Thanks for sitting down and chatting about your summer! Let’s start with introductions. Who are you, what are you studying, and how long have you been with Flexagon?

Jack: My name is Jack Reynebeau. I am going into my final year of school, and will have an Electrical Engineering degree. I worked with Flexagon the summer of 2014 as well, and did some remote work during the year.

Brian: And I am Brian Draheim. I am starting my Junior year working on a Computer Science degree. This is my first summer with Flexagon.

F: What did you work on this summer?

BD: Testing. Given the emphasis Flexagon and FlexDeploy places on automated processes throughout the build, deploy, test, and release lifecycle, I spent a lot of time on automated testing. Flexagon believes that automation of the entire lifecycle brings the best value to customers, so it was neat to get to work on something so integral to Flexagon’s core beliefs. 

JR: Outside of testing I created an installer for the Community Edition of FlexDeploy, and was able to be a part of the onboarding for Brian and other new employees as they joined.

F: What did you learn this summer that you wouldn’t have learned in school?

BD: I already knew Java, but working with it every day was helpful to solidify concepts. I would never learn in class what I am learning about at Flexagon regarding enterprise software development. It’s awesome that I can get real life, practical application of the things I am learning in my classes.

JR: Being an Electrical Engineering major, I don’t have as much of a direct correlation as Brian, but I have some classes on software development that could never reach the level of detail and practical experience that I have gotten in my time with Flexagon.

 F: What surprised you about your summer with Flexagon?

BD: I was surprised with how much I learned this summer. I thought I knew a fair amount about computer science and software, but I learned more about the practical application over the last few months than the last two years of school.

JR: I never would have thought I would know so much about deployment tooling!

F: What will you bring back to school with you?

BD: Ideas. Different ways to think about things, thinking about applications differently. And, just basic logic about how things work together in the larger picture of software development in the real world. I also gained confidence in my work.

JR: Self-reliance. This summer we were given projects and told to run with them. We got to research, understand, propose a solution, and then execute. And leadership. Because this is my second summer with Flexagon, I was able to help onboard new people and serve as a resource, which gave me leadership experience.

F: What was the best thing about the summer?

Both: Free barbecue!

JR: But really, the small atmosphere is the best. I got to know and work directly with and learn from leaders and experts in the field. I was taught and mentored by people that are well-known and respected in the field! The hands-on-learning was really cool. I have worked in big companies before and definitely prefer the Flexagon atmosphere. You actually know why you are doing what you are doing and aren’t just a cog in the machine.

BD: The best thing for me was all of the things I learned, and getting to know more about the software product development. I now understand things like server communication and connectivity, software development practices, and test automation at a completely different level. I also became comfortable asking questions because everyone here was so willing to answer them and help me learn. That’s probably something else I will bring back to school. In the past I would just try to figure things out on my own and not ask questions if I was confused. I’ll definitely start asking more questions in class and of my teachers.

F: Would you recommend an internship or job with Flexagon to others?

BD: I already have!

JR: Same, I have someone sending in a resume this week.

F: What do you tell them about working here?

JR: There are high expectations and high rewards. They will be expected to deliver quality work in a timely manner. They will get real life experience with a wide range of things they won’t see elsewhere.

BD: Right – they will actually get to contribute in a big way.

JR: There aren’t many places where you get to actually work in the product. Also, it’s cool to get assigned a general project and run with the creation of it. For example, the guys asked me to create a Return on Investment calculator to use with customers to show them the ROI they can expect by using FlexDeploy. I figured out how to build it, showed the iterations to the guys, and then adjusted it with feedback until it was done.

F: What was the highlight of the summer?

BD: Getting to work on the automated testing. Knowing how deeply Flexagon believes in automated processes, getting to work on the automated testing was really cool. We really got to run with it, updating it with feedback from the guys and other best practices which would help Flexagon’s customers as well as our internal testing. It was the first program I’ve ever written for a business and I feel really good about it!

JR: For me it was creating the installer. I learned a completely new language and was able to build something that every customer that installs the Community Edition will use. The guys let me know it’s my work, and I’m responsible for leading the entire effort. They reviewed each version, gave me feedback and coaching and worked with me on the project progression, but they really let me lead it.

F: Talk to me a little bit about the culture at Flexagon.

JR: It’s inviting and approachable. There are definitely high expectations. You need to be willing and able to put forth effort, time, and energy. At the same time, you are rewarded for good performance. It’s cool to get approval and mentorship from industry leaders! They trust you enough to let you figure it out, and never micromanage or take over your projects. It’s neat that they actually take input from us, and you can tell they not only value our opinions, but expect us to speak up with ideas and suggestions. There’s an opportunity to work across levels, and the building layout makes it easy to interact or just turn around and ask a question.

BD: I would say the atmosphere is relaxed, but driven at the same time. You work hard, but you can also have fun. You can tell there’s a lot of passion in the people that work here to build a great product that does great things for the people that use it. The Flexagon leaders focus on the growth of interns, it’s obvious that’s a priority. The guys enjoy teaching you things, and are always willing and happy to answer questions and help you learn. It’s pretty cool to work in this environment.

F:  Thanks for taking time to share some of your experiences as interns. Now let’s go get some of that BBQ!

As of this writing, we have offered and Jack has accepted a full-time position with Flexagon after graduation. If you are interested in an internship or job opportunity, please visit our Careers Page. We would love to hear from you. 

 

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