The Advancing San Diego (ASD) Internship Program launched this Spring in a remote-capacity amid the COVID-19 pandemic and aims to provide up to 100 San Diego-based companies with fully subsidized interns. This program targets companies with 100 employees or less, which comprise 98 percent of all businesses in San Diego, employ nearly two thirds of San Diegans, and account for 70 percent of job growth. A key issue for these companies has been a lack of time and resources to recruit the skilled talent necessary to continue their growth.
As students close out their Summer internship experiences—and as we recruit a new cohort of companies and interns—EDC has launched this blog series to highlight the innovative local companies that comprise the first cohort of the program and the interns they hosted.
In this feature, we sat down with ZUM Radio intern and California State University (CSU) San Marcos student Kailyn King. A part of the inaugural cohort of host companies, ZUM Radio is a San Diego-based software company that manufactures radio-frequency transceivers for the amateur radio community. King is a computer science transfer student that began her studies at Oceanside’s MiraCosta College and is now in her first year at CSU San Marcos.
Read on for more from Kaylin.
How has your experience in the ASD Internship Program been, and what projects have been the most meaningful?
Applying for an internship through ASD and being connected with ZUM Radio proved to be a seamless transition from my coursework in community college to industry-based work. My supervisor Jim McLaughlin was excellent in relating the skills I had to new applications and opportunities for growth. My tasks included contributions to an open-source Android mobile application, revising a C program for a Raspberry Pi USB device, and writing guides on how to set up handheld transceivers for communicating on-air. Through this, I gained invaluable practical experience working for a project manager under a specific timelines. Above the technical knowledge, I learned the most about how to effectively communicate through email and daily Scrum meetings. Some of my biggest takeaways from this internships were practicing the management of expectations and keeping my colleagues informed about my progress on each project.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your day-to-day, and what challenges have you faced as a student?
Although I am no stranger to spending a lot of time in front of a computer, this new modality of fully-online learning has challenged my ability to dedicate time and energy throughout multiple classes. It is sometimes hard for me to focus as I typically stay at home for remote work and school. I now do my best to diversify my environment by studying in different locations, walking my dog through new routes, and running outside a couple times a week. We are all constantly subjected to the stresses of the pandemic, so it is important to have patience with ourselves as we work to the best of our abilities under these unusual conditions.
What advice would you give to students looking for a successful career in the local software industry?
Recognize that good company is all around you. Communicate often and be open with your colleagues, mentors, and potential employers. Your background, perspective, passion, and hard work will be recognized as you continue to reach out towards new and challenging opportunities.
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