Summing up the virtual summer
Summer came and went - and so did our interns. But what was it actually like to be part of our first ever virtual internship?
Did you read our last story where you could meet our virtual interns? Have you been eagerly awaiting the follow-up to hear how it all went down and what their verdicts are? Then this is what you’ve been waiting for!
We headed down the internet highway to check in on some of our interns again, to find out if this summer lived up to their expectations. First one up: Sylvi Huynh.
“Summer really flew by quickly. It’s been challenging and I’ve learned a lot but we also had a lot of fun,” Sylvi smiles.
Together with her teammates, she’s been working on creating a web-app to use in Lean value stream mapping. But there’s a plot twist: none of them had any prior experience with web development.
“In the beginning we spent quite some time on just learning new tech and languages. But we quickly began coding and it was really exciting to see all the progress we made. We got a lot of responsibility right from the start which was very motivating.”
Sylvi had her very first internship ever this year, and was worried a virtual internship might end up feeling lonely. Turns out, it ended up being the opposite! The full team had daily meetings and Sylvi and her closest collaborator Håkon were never far apart.
“Early on we decided to have a Teams call going for the entire day, to simulate sitting next to each other. Then, we could just talk or ask questions when we wanted. It was almost like sitting together,” she smiles.
The Value Stream Mapping team were disciplined and handled the virtual work day well. They were open and eager to learn new tools and technology, possessed good communication skills as well as good leadership skills. The prototype VSM tool they delivered will play an important role in our upcoming continuous improvement work. We are impressed with their delivery. “
Elisabeth Siem, Lean Value Stream Mapping (VSM) mentor
An augmentation to the project
Ola Alstad spent the first part of the summer working with AR, but a couple of weeks in he was asked to join another project - the “Equinor Subsea Shuttle” prototype. Ola had been spotted on LinkedIn By Øystein B. Utbjøe, who saw that he had experience working on underwater drones. Ola and the rest of the team got to work on improving web-visualization for the drone.
They wanted to challenge themselves by using a different stack than they already knew, but at the same time they had to find one that wasn’t too challenging to use. After all, they had to get a product finished.
“We knew what we wanted to do, but all of the steps in getting there were entirely up to us. We were given a lot of freedom and responsibility, but since we had experience it wasn’t as intimidating."
They, like Sylvi’s team, had daily Teams calls to simulate an office landscape - making it easy to just ask questions when they popped up. Ola explains that as virtual interns in IT they weren’t lacking the tools to get the job done, but that they were missing out on everything that comes a long with working in an office.
“But if it’s like this next year as well it might be good to be in the offices for at least a part of the time if possible. It would mean we could meet other people and learn what they’re doing more easily,” Ola says.
Ola wasn’t the only intern to switch to the “Equinor Subsea Shuttle” prototype project this summer. He was joined by Michael Hoyer, who was also picked up from LinkedIn.
“Getting asked to join this project out of the blue was definitely a highlight of my summer. It was fun to see that there were people eager to see who we were as interns and saw an opportunity for us,” Michael explains.
When he first got the message that this year's internships would be virtual, he was happy to have an internship but also eager to see what it would be like.
“I was a little worried how relevant our tasks would be, what working from home and working in these teams would be like, but the internship exceeded my expectations. I’m really glad that I got this opportunity.”
While they had to do a lot of the work on their own, they weren’t left alone to sail the seas autonomously - like the drone is scheduled to do. Michael explains that the mentors they were working with were never far away, which gave them a sense of belonging to a team.
“We were very fortunate with our mentors, but organizing an internship like this is very reliant on good mentors. I heard of some teams who didn’t have as much follow-up from their mentors as us, which can make work a lot harder,” Michael says.
“The team I mentored did exceptional work and faced every challenge head on. Even though they have a lot to learn still, they possess a skill crucial to working in IT: learning on their own. I wouldn’t have any issues bringing them along as part of a team later on.”
Ole Martin Gjersvik, Azure IoT and Equinor Subsea Shuttle-prototype mentor
"It was impressive to see the digital skill sets the students brought with them this summer. Mentoring has also been a great learning experience for us mentors as we had to work virtually and develop our own agile skill set. It has been a real pleasure to mentor the next generation co-workers this summer!"
Thorjan Knudsvik, Value Stream Mapping mentor
Not just a small cog
One of the last things they did was to restructure the repository and phase out the existing component.
“Now we know that what we made is already being used. It really feels like we’ve contributed to something important instead of just being a small cog in a big machine.”
"The interns came with a variety of backgrounds (not just in Teams!) and it was very interesting to see what they came up with. They had a very steep learning curve since it was all new tech, but they handled it very well and made great progress during the summer."
Nicholas Dalhaug, Lost Circulation Material-teams and Morphometric databases-teams mentor