Interns Q&A

An Interview with John Chen - One of our current Interns

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Headshot of John Chen

An Interview with John Chen - One of our current Interns

John Chen is an intern currently working as part of the Edge team. John is currently studying Software Engineering at the University of Auckland.

We sat down with John to hear what his time at Sandfield has been like over the past year and some of his biggest highlights thus far.

How did you hear about Sandfield?

I first heard about Sandfield at the careers expo at the University of Auckland halfway through my second year of my software engineering degree. I was talking to Suraj (Business Analyst and Project Manager at Sandfield) there and I remember being quite interested in how client-centric the work at Sandfield is. 

Is this your first time working as a developer in a professional setting?

Yes. Although I’ve had some experience coding in previous internships, Sandfield was definitely my first time working in a professional setting where I spent most of my time designing software systems, or writing and reviewing code.

A highlight has been the support I’ve received to tailor my internship experience to upskill myself both in technical proficiency but also the soft skills which are so crucial in any working team

What do you do at Sandfield and how long have you been here?

I’m a developer intern on the Edge team at Sandfield and, at the time of writing, am approaching the one year mark. Being in the Edge team means that I have gotten to work with some crazy talented developers across some pretty varied work. The Edge team is often thought of as the incubator team here at Sandfield, where on top of managing the myriad of existing smaller client projects, we constantly work with new clients in building tailored solutions to meet their needs. This has meant the work that I undertake has been extremely varied and no doubt rewarding; with some days focused on system design or eliciting requirements, whilst others are focused on the development and seeing these ideas realised. This has meant that I’ve been able to take ownership of projects and see them develop from conception to fruition. 

What are some of your highlights from the Internship thus far?

One of the biggest highlights has been working so closely with our clients. Working with clients in the context of software is something that is taught at University, but obviously, this has some practical limitations when assessed in an academic setting. It’s been incredibly rewarding to work with real clients; to be able to understand their needs, ideate tailored solutions, and then hearing at the end of the project how they’re (hopefully!) satisfied with the work you’ve put up. It’s great to be able to take on work where I can tangibly see how I’m helping make a difference.

Another highlight is that through my internship, I’ve been able to work with some amazing people. The senior developers are always really easy to work with, and have been more than happy to help iron out those bugs (of which there have been many haha). I’m also fortunate to intern with a wider cohort of individuals who are also in uni, so it’s been great to have friends to have a yarn with at work about the struggles and stresses of our degrees.

Yet another highlight has been the support I’ve received to tailor my internship experience to upskill myself both in technical proficiency but also the soft skills which are so crucial in any working team, but particularly so in such a client-oriented company. From automations to chatbots; from web widgets and apis to console apps; I’ve been able to traverse the entire stack and learn about so many different technologies.

You recently completed work on a non for profit project with the Aspiring Biodiversity Trust. How did you find it?

I thoroughly enjoyed working on the ABT project. It’s always super rewarding to see the work that you’ve been doing reflected on some client’s website, once in production. Equally rewarding is working with amazing people to see this project come to fruition.

I remember working on the project when it was still in its infant stages. It’s been quite fulfilling seeing the project grow to what is currently out in production, much thanks to Serena, Albert and Suraj, and seeing my technical proficiency grow alongside as well.

What have been some of your biggest learnings during your time at Sandfield?

I recall that there was a particular client deadline which caused a bit of stress for the team. This would’ve been my first time working towards a hard client deadline at Sandfield so this was an interesting learning experience. As university students, I think both Serena (my fellow intern) and myself carried the assumption that we could push out changes right up to a minute before when things were set to be due haha. However, there were some things to learn in this regard of ensuring things were ‘comfortably’ completed in reasonable time for both the client and the wider team.

What are some of your outside-of-work hobbies?

Outside of work, I like to spend time with family and friends, often trying to get lost in nature somewhere. My faith is also something pretty special to me so I love spending time with my wider church family, as well as yarning with just about anyone about spiritual things. Truth be told, a lot of my time outside of work, University, and other commitments is spent on personal coding projects. I’ve always loved capturing “blue sky ideas” and grinding away at those when and where possible. That’s probably a big reason why I love the type of work I do at Sandfield. In many respects, my work here is really just what I love doing in my spare time but in a more structured and defined setting, with the welcome benefit of getting paid as well.