Plant & Food Research summer internship: Jack Wang

We catch up with Jack Wang to hear about his recent internship experience, how he landed one, and what he learned!

“I was introduced to the Plant & Food Research summer internships from the University of Auckland’s ICT graduate school internship programme. After I submitted my CV and cover letter in application, I was notified that I had received an interview spot!

“The interview took place at Plant & Food Research’s headquarters in Mt Albert, Auckland. It was a panel interview with two of the senior bioinformaticians. The whole interview process felt like a big challenge for me, as it was an entirely new experience. I tried to show the best of myself and my skills, and think logically and carefully before I answered the questions.

“My role for the ten week internship was as a full-stack web developer, both front-end and back-end. This was my first official internship, plus it would be at a large organisation. Before it began, I felt nervous and often doubted if I really had the capability to do the job. I was unsure about upcoming technical challenges, and the differences of solving problems in an industrial environment rather than doing assignments in a university setting. Also, the idea of networking with staff and senior scientists made me feel apprehensive.

Once I started my internship, I found all my nerves and doubts went away. There were always challenges, but I started to learn how to handle them daily in a supportive environment with helpful colleagues. This is why I feel internship experiences are so important for students to have.

“Day to day I was involved with a variety of work, including developing web applications to visualise microbiome data for various projects (big data visualisation), design, consulting, implementation, receiving feedback, then working on each function in the web app. I was also a part of a weekly team video conference meeting to report on my progress.

“One challenging aspect in my role was that unlike common web applications for commercial use, scientific web applications involve working with the senior biologists to meet their scientific requirements at a high level. Some of the objectives required top skill to develop, and the functions need high accuracy, as well as scalability for the entire web application.  

I got the chance to learn new methods of scientific thinking and advanced workflow, from some of the senior scientists at a leading research institute in New Zealand. This was really meaningful and relevant to me, and so valuable for my career!

“Heading into the internship, I had wanted to experience a real industrial working environment. I found that Plant & Food Research offered a great environment to work in, plus the social side of things was an added workplace bonus! I was grateful for how friendly the Plant & Food Research staff were to me, and how keen to offer help. The scientists were happy to explain various aspects of the biological background to me. Another key takeaway for me was that building a fully operational back-end database system contains big data (6 million rows) in an industrial environment. I learned so much in my short time, and grew a lot in my biological knowledge!

“I really appreciate the ICT graduate school from the University of Auckland for introducing this internship opportunity to me, and am thankful to Plant & Food Research for the internship and such a great working experience!”

Get recruitment ready with CDES
Here at CDES our specialist Career Development Consultants can help you find internship opportunities in your field of study, develop confidence in interviewing, check your CV, and much so more. Head to the CDES website to find our top tips, then check out the range of free career events and workshops on offer on MyCDES so that you can create the future you love!