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Learnings gained from my internship with fourTheorem

Paul Kevany

· News and Events

The path to a successful career is paved with both challenges and learning experiences, and over the past eight months I’ve encountered plenty of both.

From my experience as an intern at fourTheorem, I know only too well the technological challenges facing the next generation of Software Developers. Serverless, Cloud Architectures and AI are phrases you’ve likely heard of. But do we really know what they entail? I certainly didn’t only a few months ago. I guess you could say I had a technological awakening, thanks to the team at fourTheorem.

I will admit, it took some time for me to realise the true value of these technologies as I’d never had any real exposure to them.

When working with new technologies, it's easy to let tunnel vision set in and disrupt your workflow. I’ve learnt that it helps to stop, take a step back and try to reassess the issue from a different angle - A skill I’ll likely take with me throughout my career.

A key takeaway from my time with fourTheorem is to forget the hype with new tech, and instead to use the right tool for the job. This principle helps to not only focus on the task at hand, but it avoids much of the distraction that comes with overhyped tech. It’s apparent that there’s a correlation between productivity and avoiding spending countless hours reading whitepapers and documentation on tech that has no place in the project. After all, your time is precious.

Getting career ready for students and new graduates alike is difficult and daunting, but a solid foundation is necessary. I think we all need to begin with learning to constantly question the work we’re doing. Ask yourself, are there better ways of doing this? Most likely there is, and always aim to improve.

At times it helps to bring it back to basics, especially when troubleshooting issues. A method I learned from fourTheorem was to forget about the fluff and focus on the problem. Understand the issue before crafting a solution. It sounds trivial, but sometimes that’s not so obvious. Move the computer aside and go back to the literal drawing board. Be that a whiteboard or on paper, but the main goal is to understand the problem. For me this mostly involves sketching the problem multiple times until I completely understand it. Often we jump ahead of ourselves without really knowing the problem we want to solve. We tell ourselves “maybe if I try this it’ll solve the problem”, but it rarely does when we don’t actually understand it. It seems that understanding the problem itself is a skill, that undoubtedly you get better at throughout your career.

One closing piece of advice I’d offer to students, graduates and anyone starting in the Software Development field, is to constantly encourage your team members, yourself, and to always strive for quality. This internship has definitely helped me to realise my potential, but also the skills I need to brush up on. I’d recommend everyone jump at the opportunity of an internship if it comes their way. Not only is it rewarding, but it could also be that solid foundation to your career that you need.

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