Internship Spotlight: Erickson spends summer at NISC

July 25, 2023

Meet Craig Erickson: a senior in Computer Engineering. He chose his major after taking and enjoying a few coding classes.

Craig Erickson visiting the NISC main offices during his internship
Craig Erickson visiting the NISC main offices

“I love my major because it allows me to learn about things like circuits and power, but I also get to learn about Computer Science topics like Machine Learning,” Erickson said. “Every one of my classes has been interesting to me, and even though some topics may not be super relevant to the field I want to enter, I am very glad I was able to learn about them to have that background knowledge.

“I always liked taking apart things to see how they worked, specifically electronics,” Erickson continued. “I eventually got better at putting them back together, and then started doing electronic repair. Computers and electronics in general have always fascinated me. Eventually I got into other electronic projects like building computers for friends and arcade machine repair, really whatever seemed fun to me.”

This summer, Erickson has participated in a remote internship for NISC. We asked him a few questions about the experience.

Tell us about your internship at NISC. What’s your role and primary responsibility? 

My internship at NISC has been a fantastic experience. They assigned me to a programming/development team that works with Meter Data Management (MDM). They’ve really made me feel like part of their team. They give me actual assignments that help the team’s development. Everyone there is very eager to explain things to me when I need help and show me best practices to use when coding at a professional level. Some days they may have me try to fix a bug on one of their web applications, other days they may have me try to add a new feature.

What’s a typical day like?

I am working completely virtually, so a day for me might be a little different than other interns. To start the day, I log on to the laptop they sent me, and start working. Every morning there’s a meeting with the team to discuss what everyone plans on getting done that day and what they might need help on. After that, there might be a meeting at some point in the day for discussing changes or improving the user experience of a web application. 

Some people might think that working virtually takes away collaboration, but I think it easily maintains the same level of teamwork you would get in an office setting. Any time I have a question, I can just put something in the team chat, and someone will answer or hop on a video call with me to help me work through it. A lot of the work we do is easy to collaborate with screen sharing. 

Most of the day is spent trying to get assignments done, testing code, or reviewing other team members’ changes before they get sent to the testing team.

At the end of the day, I log off, close my laptop, and since I’m already at home, I’m able to immediately go do whatever I want. That’s one of the reasons I love working virtually. 

How did Mizzou Engineering prepare you for this internship?

The most valuable thing that Mizzou Engineering has taught me is problem-solving skills. Being able to figure out things on your own is really important skill to have. It really makes you learn a lot when you are researching to find a solution. 

Of course, there are a lot of classes that helped me prepare for this internship as well, even if the knowledge from the class wasn’t directly related. A good example is the programming courses I’ve taken. I was able to apply the general knowledge I learned about object-oriented programming to learn two new languages to use at my internship. If I didn’t understand the structure of the languages at a high level, it would have taken me much longer to adapt. 

How did Mizzou Engineering Career Services assist you with securing or preparing for this internship?

NISC was one of the companies at the Engineering Career Fair, which is where I discovered them. Being able to make a connection with the company in person, I think, was an important factor in securing the internship. It allowed me to ask questions about the company and allowed them to get a sense of my personality to see how I would fit in with the company.

What have you enjoyed most working at NISC so far?

Everyone that I’ve met at NISC is very kind and very willing to help out. If you need something explained, they are more than happy to jump on a call with you. Having a work environment where your coworkers are kind and understanding is, in my opinion, one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a job.

What have you learned from your internship experience?

There is a large list of things I’ve learned so far, since the job I’m doing is slightly different than my major. My internship is mostly web development, where my background is mostly related to embedded systems. I’ve gotten to learn Java, JavaScript, Angular, Databases and many other things like that. Most importantly, I learned how coding in a professional environment works. There are a lot of testing steps taken to ensure that the end product provides a good user experience.

What advice would you give other students wanting to conduct an internship in this area?

Try to find a company whose focus is for their interns to learn, you can gain a lot from these internships. Also, try to find a company that does work that might be interesting to you. Don’t be afraid to take a chance, it’s important to try new opportunities so you learn what you enjoy, and also what you don’t.

Is there anything else you’d like others to know about your internship?

Working virtually is awesome! I really like the flexibility it gives me to do whatever I want during my lunch break, and you can’t beat the commute time! I think it does require some discipline to maintain focus during the day, so it may not be for everyone, but I really think it is for me.

Thanks for sharing!

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