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Interns Spotlight: Mickey Yau, Software Engineering Intern S20

Tania Wu
Being passionate about start-up and various new technologies, Mickey is a penultimate year student studying dual degree in Computer Science and Business in HKUST. 

Over the past summer, GitStart was lucky to work with 7 bright interns from across the USA, France, India, and Hong Kong. Mickey is one of our interns from HKUST who worked on site with us at our HKSTP office (with half of the time remote due to #COVID).

Mickey enjoys playing board games and mahjong with friends when it's not peak COVID season, and watching all kinds of Youtube videos. Lately, he is watching videos about building your own computer and plans to build one in the next month.

Tania: Can you summarise your summer in a few words?

M: Intriguing! I've done a whole bunch of things I never tried before! Taking software development as an example, I have tried almost everything related to it, from feature planning and implementation to testing and deployment.

T: Can you elaborate on what were the different things you learned?

M: Sure! I learned to use a lot of technologies: from React, NextJS, MaterialUI, Hasura, PostgreSQL, Apollo Graphql Client, Webhooks, Rest APIs... I actually haven't used any of those technologies before other than taking an online course about React!

M: One of the most difficult parts was probably webhooks... it is quite complex! Even though it looks quite easy (receive something and change something...), I had to understand the clock syncers and subscriptions by looking at hundreds of lines of code to fully understand how the whole thing works.

T: If you were to pick the most impactful thing you built over the summer, what is it?

M: It would be the Workplace Standup Communication System. At GitStart, we use Workplace (a product by Facebook) to communicate internally and we also submit daily standups on our dashboard to write down what we have done, any blockers we might have faced, and what we intend to do the next day. Now, our internal company standups can be synced to our Workplace. It is very convenient and impactful as we can mix these two together and see the whole team's daily standup in one place! The most challenging part of that feature was to understand the third party APIs, and work with legacy code to refactor it within limited time.

T: I see. Thanks for sharing! So back to the internship - what was your in person versus remote experience like?

M: Well, I prefer to be in person and work together. It's easier to get blockers solved that way. I also like having lunch together with colleagues, though during the remote part I was able to wake up later and be more flexible with my time.

T: Definitely, I enjoy working next to you as well! Did you have any prior expectations coming into the internship?

M: I was expecting to do everything a software engineer does. Writing code in the backend and the frontend. In fact, it turns out that I was able to do much more - I was able to learn about how a startup works in terms of management and decision making. GitStart has a very flat culture, and I have had a lot of autonomy to work on whatever I want technically.

T: So, any plans for the future?

M: I'd like to try internships at other companies, maybe at a bigger corporate to explore how it is to work in a different environment. After I graduate, I'd like to work as a software developer after I graduate, or maybe do a masters in machine learning!

T: That sounds exciting. Do you have any tips or advice for other aspiring software engineers?

M: I would recommend them to join the GitStart internship program! It is super flexible, and you can achieve a lot in a short amount of time! I would also recommend aspiring engineers to do more internships. Not only can you practice technical skills, but also learn how to collaborate and work more efficiently!

Tania: Thanks for sharing with us your experience Mickey! For those interested in connecting, you can find him on LinkedIn here :)

We are hiring fall software engineering interns at GitStart! Please get in touch at [email protected] for more info!


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