Our Summer with a High School Intern

July 7, 2017

Mark Arteaga

This summer 2017, we decided to hire a student, Jeff Awobodu, to help us out on RedBit customer projects. I meet him from a presentation I did at Tech Under 20 event where I tried to answer the question on ‘What are the Kinds of questions I need to prepare for if I am having an interview at a tech company’.

I was one of about 5 presenters and I was quoted as saying the following

Tech Under Twenty@techundertwenty

"I'm not hiring for you to get me coffee, I'm hiring for you to build stuff" - @MarkArteaga #LearnHow2GetHired

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And that’s how I truly feel. Even as an intern, if you work at RedBit you will be asked to work on real life projects and that is what we did with Jeff. If you are curious, you can download the presentation from slideshare.

Jeff’s Background

Jeff was not a developer but did take a few programming classes in high school. I noticed he did like art and when he sat at my table after the presentation we talked about his work. One of the projects that intrigued me was he build a motorized longboard that was connected to a remote, same type of remote you use for a RC Car.

I decided to hire Jeff for the summer, to help out on customer projects because of his enthusiasm. Here is a pic of Jeff and his long board and love how it was held by duct-tape

Design Sessions

At RedBit, when building software products, we hold design sessions to try and envision what the customer might want as usually they come with a vision but not really knowing what they need from a design perspective (UX or UI design) or from a technology perspective, sometimes we just get ‘I need an app!’. We decided to include Jeff in a project for one of our startup customers.

The design sprint included working with the customer, our designer, developer and Product Manager, to determine what was required for the software. This was a real life project affecting real customer outcomes and went great and the project is well under development now.


A great way to learn the software development process if you don’t really know how to code is to test software and work with QA. As a next step, we decided to put Jeff as part of the functional QA team to make sure developers are meeting functional requirements of software being delivered. The software being built was a React web application for an insurance company.

Using VSTS we had an existing board and explained the process of when a card should be picked up and sent back to dev with comments. That process was great, and he was efficient at communicating with dev team and pushing back ‘PR Bugs’ when something was not quite right.

At one point there was one bug card that was a small bug and since Jeff did do some HTML and JavaScript I asked him to spend the morning doing a fix for the bug. By the end he resolved the bug, committed code using git and the code ended up in dev branch. His comment :

I can’t believe I just created some code that is going to be on a company’s web application!

Giving Back

This is truly a great feeling to inspire someone to get into this industry, whether it’s as a developer, designer or anything else. As leaders in our field and in our community we need to expose kids and give them the opportunity to succeed. This includes interns where they are paid to work on real world projects and this is beneficial to everyone involved. Jeff is now in his first year studying Computer Science at Queens University, hoping we do another summer with Jeff!

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