US College: A rewarding learning experience

Last week we bid farewell to Steve and earlier this week we heard about Erin’s experience–now it’s time for Raymond to share his overall internship experience before the end of the summer.

As the summer flew by, my internship at Intel is coming to an end as well. In three weeks, I will be going back to grad school to continue my PhD program. There are many things that I have learned from this internship and what I have learned is key to transforming my future academic development and success.

Before I came to Intel this summer, I had many questions in my mind. Is working at a large company different from working in grad school? What can I accomplish in three and a half months? What is the main difference between an academia-oriented and an industry-oriented job? As my internship is drawing to a conclusion, I believe I have found the answers to my questions.

First, working in a large company is indeed a lot different from working in grad school. This may sound intimidating, but I believe most of the differences here are for the better. At Intel, I get to interact with many different groups through my internship, and the variety of the exposure is unparalleled. While we collaborate with others quite often at school, the scale of the school research projects compared to the projects that I get to work on at Intel is at least an order of magnitude smaller. Overall, I find working at Intel to be very exciting, especially because I had the chance to work with so many different, brilliant minds from various fields.

Second, I had undertaken a security project from the very beginning of my summer. At this stage, I believe it is safe to say that the project’s progress is on schedule and we have achieved the goals we had set at the beginning of my internship. In fact, I still have three more weeks to further improve the project and drive it towards its final deployment. Due to the nature of the project, it is not feasible for me to see it fully take off as it involves product life cycles that are far beyond my time at Intel. However, it is definitely a good feeling to know that by the end of my internship, I have accomplished the goals we set and then some.

Finally, through this internship, I have learned the difference between industry and academia-oriented jobs. In academia, while the research is real world relevant and driven, I usually have more freedom to work on things that are “beyond the immediate realm of existing products.” It is often the case that a research idea would only be translated to an actual product several years (or even a decade or more) after its initially proposed. Such freedom is great for envisioning things beyond the immediate future, so researchers can push the technological boundaries further. However, the flip side of such freedom is that many research efforts are never translated to a real product. In industry-oriented work I have done, I have realized that it is more business driven. This actually works well for me since there are always clear goals in mind and I could clearly envision the potential impact of my work to the team. It is a great feeling to be able to say that what I did impacted my team in a positive way and such impact would ultimately translate to a better product that would be used all over the globe.

I would like to end my blog entry on that note. At the end of the day, I believe I had a very productive and fun internship at Intel this summer, and my work is valuable to my team. This is the best answer anyone could give when asked, “How was your internship at Intel?”

Thanks Raymond for blogging for us over the summer! It was great to hear about all of your projects and activities, and even greater to hear that you had an enjoyable experience! Good luck on your return to school! Check in next week as we hear from our last featured intern, Antoniya!

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