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Poorvi's summer internship at AT&T.

Dealing with Problems & Challenges at my Data Science Internship

Internships in any organization help to burst the bubble that everything is perfect and there are no issues in the workplace. There can be a lot of different challenges an intern can encounters.

These challenges are crucial because it might be the first time a student is in such an unfamiliar environment. It helps us to develop our problem-solving capabilities.

Challenge One: Transitioning from PC to Mac

During my first few weeks as an intern in any company, most of the time revolves around learning and getting used to what tools they use and getting yourself set up to be a part of the workflow.

For example, I faced a lot of issues with my Mac laptop: from installing basic applications such as Outlook, Skype, VPN to gaining access to the servers. What added to the challenge was the fact that I had never worked with a Mac before. Transaction from PC to Mac took some time.

The IQ bar and my colleagues at AT&T were very supportive and helped me in troubleshooting the steps missed when connecting to the client network. Eventually, I got my accounts set up and working on my laptop.

Challenge Two: New Technology

Another challenge was working with technologies and operating systems that I had never worked on before. My work involved operating on a Linux system, using a Postgres database and Grafana as an open-source visualization tool. I had to quickly get comfortable with them in order to complete my task.

My mentor at AT&T was very supportive and provided me guidance to get the work done. Luckily, we are in the 21st century, the age of the internet. The other most helpful resource is Google and YouTube, wherein I found a lot of related material, articles, and videos to troubleshoot my problems. Since I had no major school assignment due during the summer, I would learn about Linux, Grafana, and Postgres during the night.

From Classroom to Office

What helped me immensely was the confidence I had received from the classes at the iSchool. I took subjects like big data analytics, information visualization, and database management.

Our professors not just taught students the course content but also showed us how to learn on your own. During a semester in iSchool, we are taught a completely new concept. Our professors made sure we create a great foundation for ourselves to build upon and how to learn a technology that is similar on our own.

Always Communicate

One thing that I have learned during this time is communication is the key to everything! In my opinion, the lack of proper communication is one of those internship challenges that can hinder the internship experience.

If you are stuck somewhere or not sure how to approach a given problem, talk to people working around you. Someone will be able to guide you. If not, they can point you to the right resource.

By the end of the three months, the challenges presented during internship challenges are not unsolvable. Adjusting into a new place is always difficult, but with persistence, you can overcome the challenges within no time.

Poorvi Varma

Poorvi Varma

I am a graduate student pursuing a master’s in Information Management and a C.A.S. in Data Science from the Syracuse University iSchool. I also have a prior work experience of 3.5 years as a Senior Systems Engineer.

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