For the past four months, I’ve been working as an Android intern at Symbility Intersect.
This is my fifth work term and I have worked at companies ranging from small startups to large corporations with businesses across Canada. Although I considered myself somewhat familiar by now with how different companies can be, I was still pleasantly surprised to walk into the office on my first day and be greeted with a huge round of applause. I was even more surprised to learn that this applause happens for anyone that walks in and out of the office, every day.
Though later on, I learned that this tradition began as poking fun at people who walked into the office accidentally (when it was part of a larger space), this act itself, as bizarre as it seems, was very appealing to me. It felt great walking into an office every morning and being greeted like you’ve accomplished something and everyone is cheering you on.
The general atmosphere of the company also gives off the same vibe. I’ve worked in places that are very traditional and formal, where the office is always quiet and the only form of communication was through email. I’ve also worked for companies that are very segregated based on the group you’re in and what work you do. Intersect was different. It is much more team-based with everyone being on the same team. I didn’t feel intimidated about talking to my peers when I had a question and doing so usually cleared up whatever confusion I might have had much faster than a series of back and forth emails.
My mentors at Intersect were very helpful in getting me accustomed to our projects. They were supportive of what I wanted to work on and giving me what I needed in order to achieve my goals. I felt like I was treated equally to the full-time developers, which allowed me to be involved with projects first hand. This allowed me to learn what else goes on in our project cycle aside from just the coding. I got to witness and sometimes participate in interacting with clients, reporting project statuses, monitoring crashes and issuing hotfixes, and much more. It felt great to know that I’m not just someone who wrote code at a desk for four months and left. Instead, I know that my work had a real impact on projects.
In terms of Android, Symbility Intersect projects have some of the cleanest code I have ever seen. The code speaks for itself and is much more sophisticated than quick and dirty hacks slapped together that are impossible to maintain for developers later on. Many companies tend to care more about their code working at the time and how fast it can be written and deployed, rather than how maintainable or understandable it is. I have had previous experience with code where no one (not even the person who wrote it), could figure out what it did or why it was written a certain way. Code like that is a time bomb waiting to be triggered that causes the app to malfunction and requires much longer to fix. Here, the apps were built on a solid architecture agreed upon by all developers that use proper design patterns. The result is highly-maintainable code that is easy to understand and work with. The dedication to code quality shows that the developers and the company truly care about Android and its Android apps.
In this office, we also had weekly Android standups where we discuss what we learned in the past week. Since there are always multiple projects going on, we got to discuss all of the problems the developers have encountered and everyone was able to offer solutions. With the amount of people and projects we had, it was very likely someone has encountered similar problems in the past and has solved it before. We even had our own utilities libraries to help us combat recurring problems. The Android standup is also where we would talk about the latest technologies and our experiences with them. We were a team of people who are not afraid to try new things. I remember asking the team, “Hey, why are we not using this tool?” and the immediate response was, “Try it and let us know how well it works.” And even when things do not work as planned on the first try, I was never discouraged from fixing them until they work. During my time here, I was able to write my own tools that will be useful to the company even after I’m gone, which feels really great as an intern.
Symbility Intersect is an amazing place to work. The atmosphere was great and the people are extremely friendly. Most importantly, this company truly cares about its people and its products. As a developer, I feel accomplished working on products that matter, knowing that many people will benefit from the work I’ve done.