Share Your Journey: Graham Hough

Describe your internship. Where was it? How long was it? What were your key responsibilities? 

My internship with Five Talent was originally going to be over the summer, but has continued into the school year. Their office is located here in Bend at the Tech Center (1001 Emkay Drive). The tasks they've assigned me have range from changing the layout and design of client websites, migrating repositories of code, and contacting anti-virus companies about false positive reports. I've also learned how to navigate project management software and have narrowed down my estimated time to complete projects.

E::Space had me over the summer months and I've unfortunately had to leave once school started. Their offices are located at 48 SE Bridgeford Blvd #180, near Pilot Butte. I was given full membership status (since the internship was unpaid) and was able to make my own hours. My main objective at E::Space was to learn the basics of electronics (which they don't offer at OSU-Cascades) and to learn about startup companies. I was also given free access to any of the classes they offer, which are many, and range from Raspberry Pi programming, to Selling Strategies for businesses, and even basic soldering. While talking with David Robson, one of the co-founders, we agreed that they should also teach an Introduction to Programming class and I was offered the teaching position (which was paid). For about a month, I setup a lesson plan and learned how to teach in a classroom setting. The course had more than 10 students and went for a total of 8 hours spread out over 4 days. E::Space is currently working with COCC to incorporate their classes in the winter catalogue as well.

How did your internship influence your career interests, goals, or future plans?  

Working at Five Talent has given me great hands-on experience in creating and maintaining modern websites. It's not enough to know how to use HTML and CSS; you also need to know PHP, JavaScript, AJAX, JQuery, SQL, how each website is laid out, and a dozen other things. There isn't enough time to learn everything. You really need to focus on one element when working in web or mobile design and just stick with it. I learn something new every day at Five Talent and I love the challenge of tackling these unique problems.

Learning electronics at E::Space has shown me an entirely different world. I'm used to writing the software that runs on a computer, but how does it actually work? How does a computer take your code and run it when all a computer does is flip 1's and 0's back and forth and direct the flow of electricity through a circuit? Getting down to the hardware is something that really interests me and provides a completely different set of challenges. The Internet of Things, every-day items connecting to the internet and communicating with each other, is a part of these challenges and is a growing trend in the industry.

Teaching others the logic and introductory material for creating programs forced me to go back 3 years to when I was just learning the same things. I tried to have everything planned out, but students would always ask questions that I hadn't even thought about. I believe that part of having mastery over any subject includes being able to teach it to others well. It was a boost to my confidence to hear all the feedback from my students and it'll help carry me through the rest of the year. I've always been interested in education, but after teaching at E::Space I feel more inclined to pursue a career in teaching software development of some kind.

What advice would you give to students to help them make the most of their internship experience? 

Ask questions! As an intern, it shouldn't be expected of you to know how everything works and to plop down comfortably in a new working environment. It takes on average three to six months of just learning how a company works, the proper channels to go through, and to get up to the same production level as everyone else. So when you do get stuck on something, ask someone for help. Everyone knows that the intern will be lost, will ask a million questions, and will probably break something important. People want to help you.

Get involved and interact with the people and the company you are interning with. Even if you plan on only being there for three months, making connections is almost more valuable than the actual work experience you'll get. Go to all the meetings and lunch events. Talk with co-workers about their jobs, what they think of the company, and ask about side projects they might have or places they volunteer at outside of work. Networking with people is incredibly important.

What are your hopes and dreams for the Cascades Tech Club at OSU-Cascades and what do you think students will gain by being involved?

As Treasurer of the Cascades Tech Club, my hope for the club is to offer students a welcoming place to improve their education, to make lasting connections, and to get involved with OSU-Cascades and the local community. The club will be a connecting point for students to meet other students, faculty, and local businesses. It will also serve as a hub for students interested in technology that may not be pursuing a tech-heavy degree. We'll also be working on projects for students to expand their current abilities on and that can also be utilized by other clubs. 

Graham Hough

Agency: Five Talent and E:Space Labs
Intern Title: Paid Intern at Five Talent, Member and Teacher at E::Space
Major: Computer Science
Graduation Year: 2017