Frequently Asked Questions about the Internship Programme

What you need to know about the Internship
Auckland ICT Graduate School
Why do companies take interns on?

There are 3 major reasons that companies take interns and this can influence the projects that the intern is involved in.

Pipeline to employment. When a company is taking an intern with the view to employing them they choose the intern/s that fit the company culture and have relevant experience. The company may get the intern to join a current project or design a bespoke project that is suited to the intern.

To complete a specific project. Companies take an intern as a resource to help on an existing project. As a result companies will select an intern that has the best skills/knowledge to complete the given project.

Supporting the new generation of IT professionals. Companies may take an intern as their way of giving back and supporting the future generation of IT Professionals. The interns may work on existing projects, or work on innovation projects that push technological boundaries. These innovation projects may or may have a commercial value for the company. Companies may select interns on their ability to research and innovate.

The above are the main reasons that companies have taken interns to date, and by no means is the list exhaustive or prescriptive.

What areas of ICT do the interns specialise in?

Our Master students are encouraged to take courses in areas of ICT that are industry relevant and fit with their interests.  Some of the common areas students specialise in are:

  • Data Management and Analysis
  • AI and Machine Learning
  • Software, Web and App Development
  • Security and Networking

Along with the technology courses, students are also required to take course in complementary areas such as Research Skills, Health IT and Management and Business.

What background do interns have?

All interns are completing their internship as the final component of the Master of Information Technology.  For the most part students entering the Master’s programme have completed an undergraduate degree in Computer Science or a related field.

Some students come from a non-ICT background (commonly Business, Arts or Science Degrees) and have completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Information Technology prior to commencing the Masters programme and will have information technology on top of another skill set.

What does an internship project look like?

The projects provided to students must be IT related, and the content will be agreed between the industry mentor and the Industry Engagement Manager.

Projects to date have been varied; for example students can be part of an ongoing project within the development team or testing team; they can be involved in a small hands-on implementation project, proof of concept or pilot; the intern position can be a developer, project management or a technical consultant role. Below are some examples of projects that students have been involved in.


BNZ

Project Motivation:  BNZ has access to large amounts of data.  One of the key difficulties with working with this data is extracting it from its various sources and providing it in a suitable form to the end users.

Project Objectives:  To locate and catalogue the high priority data in a complex database. Clean, house and structure this data for use by the end user and to establish a data mart to import the key data into a reporting tool.

Student Involvement/target Outcomes:  The student was the primary data engineer for this project.  It was expected that they would understand and document the key aspects of the database schema and core data fields, identify and catalogue relevant data sources and ensure that data marts were complete and fit for purpose.


Dempsey Wood

Project Motivation: Data is currently collected on paper and manually entered into spreadsheets.  The data is currently not being strategically utilised by the company.

Project Objectives: To scope, research and prototype hardware, software and infrastructure to support real-time data gathering from different sources and useful reporting of the data.

Student Involvement/target outcomes:  The student is expected to gather requirements from stakeholders, document the requirements and research, evaluate and recommend options in order to develop working prototypes of two or more devices which can be used to collect data.  The student will also be expected to design the database that the devices will transmit the data to and create an admin web interface which controls the device options.  Along with implementing an off the shelf BI/reporting interface.


Project 42

Project Motivation:  Project 42 has developed an internal framework called Universe which has been used for several different programs. With support ending for PHP 5.6 in the near future, now is a good time to finally convert the legacy PHP programs to the new framework.

Project Objectives/Student Involvement :  The intern had sole responsibility for porting over one of the legacy programmes to the “Project 42 Universal framework”. They made design choices along with the team, on how to go about porting, but were solely responsible for implementing the code. By the end of the internship the ported programme should be able to do the majority of the original PHP programme. It should be in a state where the programme can be rolled out to customers for use.

Target Outcomes:  By the end of the internship the ported programme should be able to do the majority of the original PHP programme. The new development should be able to provide the basic functionality parallel to the PHP programme.


Waikato Regional Council

Project Motivation:  Waikato Regional Council’s Environmental Monitoring section is responsible for the collection, storage, quality checking and re-disbursement of environmental data. Data is received into the organisation through telemetered monitoring sites, field operator sampling, and consent holders reporting in on their activities.   Data is stored in an Oracle database. The database and its proprietary GUI is known as WISKI. The current GUI for this data is overly complex, and not readily automated, for the tasks users are trying to achieve.

Project Objectives:  The objective of this project is to develop a JavaScript library and browser-based dashboard to enable an expandable collection of data reporting tasks. The dashboard will interface to WISKI through an existing RESTful API, and potential other parts of the system through appropriate interfaces. The objective of this dashboard of tasks is to simplify the request and presentation of data through a web browser.

Student Involvement/ Target Outcomes:  The intern will be involved in developing a framework for developing modularised browser-based tasks/tools that interact/enhance with WISKI (and, potentially, other data systems). Create two or more tasks/tools as selected from the prioritised list of candidate tools. Create the required documentation.

What does the company need to provide for the intern?

The intern will need to be provided with the following:

  • Industry mentor
  • Work space, computer, email, access to required software and systems as befits the project

Company orientation; tour, health and safety, key personnel (this is often done by the industry mentor, but can be done by the most appropriate person i.e. HR or team leader/manager).

What is the role of the industry mentor?

The principal role of the industry mentor is to support interns for the duration of their stay. Mentors should provide a brief induction on the first day in the office, and provide workplace guidance and assistance over the course of the internship. Mentors should ensure that interns work on tasks in keeping with the internship agreement, and provide feedback as necessary.  The industry mentor will need to complete and return the evaluation form concerning the interns’ performance and professionalism.

There are no rigid requirements concerning conduct of internship supervision. However, the following are some of the key tasks that an industry mentor should consider:

  • Help students gain insight on how the company works
  • Involve the student(s) in professional activities where suitable or appropriate
  • Hold short weekly meetings with the intern to provide feedback to the student(s) over the duration of the placement
  • Offer professional advice and suggestions as appropriate
  • Provide guidance to carry out the project

The industry mentor will be well supported by the academic supervisor that is assigned to the student and the programme coordinator. They are welcome to contact the academic supervisor or programme coordinator at any time. The industry mentor will be contacted by the academic supervisor regularly, e.g. bi-weekly, to check on interns’ progress.

Are these paid internships?
Yes, the internships are paid.  Companies provide $6000 + gst in funding per intern, which is payable to the university.  From this the university pays a grant to the intern.
How do I set up an internship?
  • Contact an Auckland ICT Graduate School representative, we will be involved in every step of the process.
  • View the students’ profiles and CVs and provide your interview short list. The ICT Graduate School will coordinate interview times.
  • Once you have a preferred intern the ICT Graduate School will work with you to define the project and sign the required agreements which include an Internship Sponsorship Agreement and a Letter of Understanding between the company and the Auckland ICT Graduate School.
  • We will assign an academic supervisor to the project, who will liaise with your company mentor.
  • For 10 weeks, our student interns with your company. During this time they will report regularly to their academic supervisor. At the end of the internship, they will present a talk and submit a report that reflects on their role and experience at your company.
Who can I contact about the internship programme?

For interns in the Auckland area please contact:

Amanda Gordon
Industry Engagement Manager
a.gordon@auckland.ac.nz
09 923 1213
027 569 4948

For interns in the Waikato area please contact:

Alvin Yeo
Developer Auckland ICT Graduate School
awyeo@waikato.ac.nz
07 838 4409
022 658 1921