11. Signing Off

This blog is whizzing over the internet to my website from 30,000 feet in the air. Don’t you just love the 21st century? Somehow I feel this is the best chance I have to really think over my internship experience at Envision Solar, San Diego. Likely because this truly marks the end of my time in the USA this summer - you could say I’m reminiscent - but also because it’s currently 9pm and I won’t arrive home until 8pm tomorrow - I’m not exactly lacking in free time.

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10. Technical - Testing is Crucial

Earlier in these blogs, I was talking about the Python scripts I needed to write so that data from Envision Solar’s systems could be posted to a database. I had left the scripts relatively untouched since I wrote them in the first or second week of the internship. Data I am using for my Android and iOS apps is pulled in from the charger companies using these scripts. This data, for the most part, is a dictionary, or is converted to a dictionary by some code I wrote. Dictionaries are useful because they provide key-value pairs, much like a database does - i.e. Age: 25, Sex: Male, Location: San Diego (MSN reference there for anyone over the age of 20).

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9. Woah, We're Halfway There!

It’s the seventh week here at Envision Solar. By now I’d like to have finished the first prototype of the Android app and already moving on to the iOS app. Whilst android has almost been completed, with just a few things like visuals and animations to implement, iOS hasn’t even begun. The database structure is changing all the time due to the functionality of the app changing. Adding in historical data is the real challenge. Selecting a date to view data and pulling all EV ARC documents from that date counts as one read per document, not per call. This isn’t an issue if I’m pulling totals up to the current date because I can order the DB docs and pull the last X amount only. If a user wants a split time frame, i.e. “Get me all of December 2017”, then my DB structure can’t handle that. It would require reading all the documents from December until the current date, and then filtering for the ones we want. That’s a lot of reads.

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8. My Internship Goals

When I first began the Saltire application process back in October, I was also looking for internships elsewhere. I knew that gaining an internship would be great for career advancement after university, but that was all I saw it as - a grab for recognition from potential employers. Whilst it is true that a good internship will stand out, I came to realise that this shouldn’t be the sole reason for the internship search. Internships benefit you in many more ways than just a paragraph on your resume.

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7. Technical - Week Two

Hi, all. These blogs are going to become less organised and more rambling as the weeks here go by. I blame the heat. The rigid structure of writing one blog per week seems forced. Sometimes I do nothing; sometimes I do lots of things. From here on out consider these posts without a timeframe. Just know that they are still at least sequential.

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6. First Week

It’s the end of my first week here in sunny California. Work has been rewarding and I hope everything I’m doing will come together nicely at the end for Envision Solar. I’m happy that the project I’m completing will actually be used for the customers. I am responsible entirely for how customers get their EV ARC data and that’s something to be proud of… and scared of. I may need Envision to sign an agreement to the effect that I am not liable. Anyone know any lawyers?

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5. Technical - Week One

Week one so far has been all I could have hoped for and more. The other interns and I have taken the opportunity most evenings to do some exploring of the San Diego coastline, the project I’ve been assigned has been challenging but steady, and I’ve come to feel quite at home with the work/play lifestyle out here. I’ll talk about the work I’m doing as detailed as I can without violating any sort of Intellectual Property rules and without boring any reader to death. This one will be purely technical so feel free to jump to another if this isn’t your thing.

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4. Touchdown in San Diego

Hey, everyone. These next few blogs may be split into separate categories of technology used on the job, such as programming practices and lessons learned, and personal experiences both in and outwith work. For this first one, however, I’ll go ahead and write it as a bit of both.

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3. Cover letters, CVs, and Final Interviews

Welcome to the final blog on the application process to become part of the Saltire Foundation. If you have read the two previous enthralling posts, I’m baffled as to why, but thank you. This one is going to be about the Candidate Pool cover letters, CVs, and final interviews. This is where many of the applicants were whittled away, so congratulations on making it this far. This year, 1,500 students applied with 170 going on internships that summer. If you’re at this stage, I estimate that you now have a whopping 20-30% chance of getting a scholarship!

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2. Speed Interviews

This second blog in the Saltire series will be talking about my experiences during the application process and what to look out for if you are an applicant. If you’re not a Saltire applicant, most of this won’t be for you, but you may find some of the tips helpful for future interviews.

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1. Why I applied to Saltire

I was sat in a lecture theatre, expecting a colourless lecture on business sustainability, which all prospective engineers had to enrol in, when the careers advisor for Heriot-Watt walked in and introduced himself to the class. The introduction was brief, and he swiftly shifted our attention to the five or six students stood at the foot of the room. “These young men and women have been Saltire Scholars,” he said.  “You might be interested in what they have to say. They’ve completed internships around the world, had opportunities to engage with leaders in their future industries, and enjoyed a plethora of cultural experiences - all in one summer.”

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