I started at Neya on May 26th 2013 and today, August 9th 2013 is my last day. These past 11 weeks at Neya have been extremely educational, entertaining, and productive. In this post I will share some details of my internship. Hopefully, this will give a sense of the character and quality of Neya Systems. Many of the claims I make in this article are unsubstantiated with evidence, but arise instead from my personal experiences and the experiences of my friends and peers.
Breadth is Good
Typical engineering internships are extremely focused on a particular topic; engineering interns often spend the majority of an internship working on one small aspect of a project. The narrow focus of a typical internship allows the intern to quickly come up to speed on their work, and make productive contributions to their project. This greatly benefits the company employing the intern, but often causes the intern to acquire skills only useful for that particular company or project. Since the primary objective of an intern is to acquire the necessary skills to pursue their chosen career, narrow focus internships often leave interns unfulfilled.
At Neya Systems my internship was amazingly broad and varied. Each week I was presented with new challenges, new problems, and new skills to acquire. In my time at Neya I worked substantially on: machine vision, network communication, electrical component selection, camera lens selection, embedded systems programming, serial communication, sheet metal part design, CAD modeling, 3D graphics modeling, 3D printer operation, and the optimization of designs for production on 3D printers. Throw in a mix of soldering, screwdriver turning, and flying RC helicopters, and begin to lose count of the number of skills and abilities I learned at Neya. I don’t know if any other internship could have given the me the opportunity to learn more. The only limitation to my education at Neya was the number of hours in a day.
Independence is Better
The relative inexperience of interns and their youth often causes them to be over-supervised in their work. The unproven nature of an engineering intern frequently leads to “hand-holding.” This practice takes valuable time away from supervisors, and fails to provide interns with responsibility for the outcome of their work. While more risky, allowing an intern to in large part self-supervise can increase the productivity and efficacy of the internship.
To my gratitude, Neya Systems decided to take the more risky route, and allowed me substantial autonomy within my internship. If I had been a less determined or prepared individual, this could have backfired on both parties; instead, I found myself extremely motivated by the personal responsibility for the success of my work. Furthermore, the lack of an immediate safety net encouraged me to be methodical and meticulous in my methods. These traits are the hallmarks of an effective engineer, but young engineers (myself in particular) find them challenging to employ. The autonomy that Neya provided me taught me the value of self-supervision and improved my character as an engineer.
Community is Best
A positive work environment can all but determine whether working will be enjoyable, or a grind. At Neya I found an open, positive, and all around great team. Everyone is willing to lend a helping hand, and everyone works to make Neya Systems a great place. My success as an intern is due in large part to the quality of the community at Neya. Neya’s most valuable commodity is the great group of people it has assembled. I know that any future Neya interns will find just as warm a reception here as I did, and I know that they will enjoy their internships because of it.