Sorry for late update, but now that I have had enough time to gather myself together after another overwhelming semester started I can finally tell you about my complete summer experience (ok, maybe not EVERYTHING in this post).
For those of you who have had an internship before, there might be two possible reactions: 1. I wanna get out of this place! 2. I don’t wanna go back to school, this is awesome! In my case, it was more like both but not quite. I wanted to go back to school not because I can’t wait to learn more about what I will be doing ADI and come back! My supervisor tailored my project to be like a complete design cycle. It was a high speed comparator circuit design project used in a high speed equalizer for DVI and HDMI interfaces. Having minimal circuit design experiences from 6.002 and 6.012, I started the job doubting my own ability and the final outcome. After three months, I became quite confident about my circuit knowledge at this level and the results were both satisfactory to ADI and myself. Here is a run down of my summer.
My start date was a little too early, May 23rd, the Monday right after final’s week. In retrospect, it could have been a little later since I didn’t really have time to prepare myself. I ended doing summer housing in MacGregor. Transportation was a little tough at first. The weekend before my internship starts, I did a test ride on the commuter rail from North station to Woburn/Anderson station. From there, it would be a 40 minute walk (there is technically a illegal shortcut path, which takes 15 minutes, but I am not going to get in trouble here). It wasn’t exactly fun to commute for the first week. However with a beater bike, you can lock it up at the station and it would be ecofriendly, cheap and faster. Later on I found two other interns to carpool with; we rented a car and commuting was fairly easy and quick after that. Word of advice: plan as soon as possible for your housing and transportation. ADI will provide housing and transportation stipends, so it will make your life easier
In terms of technical preparation, like I mentioned above, I myself had limited ability going in, but that’s exactly you went to the company. You will learn a great deal throughout the summer. However, it really depends on project sometimes and the nature of your position. For VI-A interns, it will most likely involve design, but you can assume other roles such as application or product/test. The second assignment and your MEng term should be design oriented since it’s your MEng THESIS. It is equally important to get exposed to design and hands-on experiences in lab, so do ask yourself the question “what do I want to do for my first summer assignment?” When you make a decision, tell your supervisor or VIA contact (Ben Walker) so they can find you the right project. Word of advice: start thinking about and get information on your projects as soon as possible. I obtained a list of projects different groups have, and that also helped me determine which group I wanted to work for.
One thing I wish I would have done differently is to approach more employees and get to know them a little more. Everyone in ADI is busy following their own agenda, but they’re very available when you have a question. Different from most software companies, there are a lot of senior staff. It would be a great chance for you to talk to them about their careers and lives. Word of advice: get to know people surrounding your cube well; get to know people in the lab if you have the chance; get to know other interns even from other groups; get to attend a design review to see what it’s all about and get blinded by people’s awesomeness!
At the end of your internship, you will give one presentation to HR and other interns (Intern Showcase Day). It’s a 10 minute quick presentation that wraps up your summer (bring your UAT skills!). You should also give a presentation to your group. That is more like a design review (if you are doing design), in which you explain and justify most details of your design. Mine went for about one hour. The fun part is to answer questions from your audience (other designers) and show them you know what you were doing! Going into your project, you should keep this presentation in mind and prepare for it early! This presentation will give confidence to you in your abilities and reassurance to the company in choosing you. Word of advice: you do have to know how to give a good presentation!
Looking forward to seeing all the new VI-A interns this upcoming year! Let’s make it a blast for yourself too!