Final year Computer Science student Clíodhna Connolly describes the benefits of her internship with Deloitte…
Going into Computer Science in UCD I knew I wanted, at some stage during my degree, to do an internship. I knew I’d have to allot time over one of my summers to try get my hands on one.
The summer of third year was when my efforts of applying finally came to fruition. Applying for internships and even graduate positions can be a lot more time-consuming than most would imagine. It’s not just your academic prowess that companies want to examine but what motivates you, what inspires you, what kind of people do you admire and also why do you want to work for their company. So early into February I applied to Deloitte, a company, at the time, I didn’t really know too much about, nor their technical positions. Shortly after applying I was invited to an hour-long interview in Deloitte HQ where I was interviewed by a department representative about the competencies I had spoken briefly about in my application, (a time when I showed leadership etc.). I was quite happy with how the interview went and a day later I got a phone-call from Deloitte saying I had got the role. I now had a role as a Technology Consultant Intern lined up for the summer and although I still didn’t know much about what this entailed I was thrilled.
Summer finally rolled around and I found out more about what my internship involved. We had a two-day induction period which helped me a lot to know more about the company I was working for, the work that they do and the work that I’d be doing. My internship was a bit different from what some of the internships my other friends from college were doing. In Deloitte, it’s a very structured internship. At the beginning of June over 140 interns began either 6-week or 12-week placements. I was doing a 12-week placement and after the first 2-days of induction I saw on average only 2 other interns each day.
I quickly learnt that technology consulting means that you will spend almost all your time on client-site. After two days in HQ I was moved to Kilmainham where I worked in a Department of Social Protection office for the remainder of my internship. The aim out here was to help the department get more of their services online and they had thus hired consultants to help them achieve this task.
I worked on 2 different teams during my time out in Kilmainham. The first team was working on what was already a very established entity and so my work revolved mostly around testing as the development that was happening was a bit too in depth for me to take up in such a short time frame. After this team, I was moved onto another team where I really got to see much more software development. This team was working on a product that was still actively having major features added to it and so it was possible to give me a lot more development work.
When I originally went to Deloitte I had no web development experience and most of the technologies they were using to develop were entirely new to me. I had never used C# before, which was the primary language used for development, but after a little while spent reading through a beginner’s guide book and reading through the existing code base I had got my head around the majority of it. One thing everyone had told me about internships, although I never really believed them, was that the primary aim was for you to learn. This couldn’t be more true from the experience I had in Deloitte. I was given all the time I needed to familiarise myself with the systems and code they used and members of staff were always more than happy to help explain something if I needed it.
One of the perks of being involved in such a large company and such a large internship program was that there were an awful lot of interesting activities for us to take part in. Almost every Friday afternoon I would be invited back to HQ to be given a talk the other departments in Deloitte, what they do and what kind of people they might be looking for. Beyond this we also had a lot of days focussing on our personal development and to help us plan our careers. We also had an Impact Day in which the aim is to give back to the community. On this day, myself and a few other interns went and painted apartments of some people with disabilities. Not only was it good to be helping people out but it was also nice to be out of the office for a while and doing something different.
A major asset of my internship at Deloitte was taking part in the Intern Innovation Challenge. At the beginning of our internship all the interns were divided into 44 teams of 4 or 5 and given a title to inspire us to come up with an innovative idea. My team and I were given the title “How to use Technology on Deloitte Engagements” and after listening to the struggles of a tax intern on our team we saw an opportunity for robot process automation to be implemented on the engagements our colleague was working through in order to free up his time for more productive and beneficial work. Somehow, despite our concept being a bit more serious and more difficult to understand than our competitors’ presentations, our group won first place. We had been shortlisted into a list of 8 groups and from there we all had to present to a group of esteemed Deloitte employees consisting of several partners and heads of departments. We were delighted we had won, not only to justify the work we had put in but also because 1st place had a top prize of €1000!
Overall, my time in Deloitte really highlighted for me how to apply the skills I had already learnt from my degree in UCD but also the skills I should focus some more on during my final year. The problem solving and software development skills I had learnt really stood by me well especially when I was adapting my existing knowledge to working with an entirely new language. The teamwork I had learnt in UCD, especially from my Project Management module, also stood by me as there was not one thing done in Deloitte alone. Unlike in college you are always a part of a group working on a project and it’s important that you already have some skills developed in this area. During one of the Friday afternoon talks I was told more about computer forensics and I found this area to be very interesting and because of this I have tried to incorporate this interest into my module choices in my final semester.
I would highly recommend an internship to anyone considering one. I know it can be difficult as it often clashes with J1s and interrailing etc. but there are real benefits that come from doing one. Both your college life and employment prospects can improve from the skills that you learn and who knows maybe even your internship might roll itself into a full-time graduate position like mine did!
Further information about careers at Deloitte including the Summer Internship programme is available at www.deloitte.ie/students