GovTech Internship Experience

After a conversation with the other GovTech interns about their experiences, I decided to consolidate a list of responses to our experience in GovTech.

From interns to interns

As most of the interns are ending their internship in August 2019, I decided to gather responses from different roles and teams (E.g. Software development, DevOps, Security, and Software Testing) to have a more holistic view of their internship experience in GovTech. I invited 9 other GovTech interns of 2019 to shed some light on their experiences in GovTech.

Roles:

  • Russell — DevOps Engineer Intern
  • Jason and Samuel — Blockchain Developer Intern
  • Sandy — UI/UX Designer Intern
  • Wen Qing — Software Engineer Intern
  • Yingying — Quality Engineer Intern
  • Bernice — Cybersecurity Policy Development Intern
  • Glenice — Red Team Intern
  • Samantha — Cloud Infra Security Intern
  • Lye Jun — CTMO Intern

Summary of our internship experience

When asked about their biggest takeaway from this internship, many of the interns mentioned that they were able to understand how the government uses technology to solve problems.

Witnessing the process of how blockchain is being used to digitize physical certificates was an eye-opening experience.

Jason — Blockchain Developer Intern at Open Certs

They were also able to actively contribute to the development of a product through various roles by working with other GovTechies.

I was able to experience how a designer collaborate in a cross-functional Agile team with the help of my team.

Sandy — UI/UX Designer Intern at My Careers Future

Throughout the internship at GovTech, I was given the opportunity to work closely with the team. This provides me the chance to understand more about the life of a full-time GovTechie!

Glenice— Intern at Red Team

People!! I loved how the people I have met in GovTech all have different perspectives, coming from different schools and from all different walks of life. Internship was really an eye-opening experience for me in this sense.

Samantha — Intern at Cloud Infra Security

The second question was to share any skills or the tools that they were exposed to during their internship with GovTech. Many of the interns were excited to share about new skills that they have learned as well as getting their hands dirty on tools such as Kubernetes, React JS and Appium Library.

Throughout my internship I had practical exposure to the powerful process of Infrastructure as Code, High Availability Deployments and Container management with Kubernetes and even developed a serverless web application for user management.

Russell — DevOps Engineer Intern at SHIP

I picked up a new language, learnt to use Git (properly), and to name a few — React, React Native, Redux-Saga, integration and unit testing. I was also introduced to real-life applications of Blockchain technology.

Samuel — Blockchain Developer Intern at Open Certs

I worked with Android Debug Bridge and Appium library for running the scripts on mobile devices. To write the tests, I’ve learnt to use robot framework which is surprisingly easy to understand and write due to the use of keyword driven approach.

Wen Qing — Software Engineer Intern at HATS

Besides technical skills, many interns got to improve their communication skills while working with various stakeholders.

I learnt how to think in the perspective of the different stakeholders. While it is not a new skill, I got to reinforce the importance of communication. What you think something is, may not be what it intended to be. Thus, it is really important to always communicate with the stakeholders to align the goals and requirements.

Bernice— Intern at Cybersecurity Policy Development

To wrap up the sharing of their internship in GovTech, I asked them if there was anything that they would like to share with future interns of GovTech.

Don’t be afraid if you’re a blank sheet with no experience and just have knowledge from school modules only. Come with a willing heart to learn.

Lye Jun — Intern at CTMO

It’s okay to feel intimidated, especially when part of the interview consists of a technical assessment. Just take that leap to try things out! Just know that It’s okay, even if you have to try again no matter how many times! Let your merits shine through :D

Bernice — Intern at Cybersecurity Policy Development

Thank you for reading the summary of our internship experience! If you are interested to read more about our internship experience, do read the remaining of the article for our full responses.

Government Digital Services (GDS)

Full list of responses from GDS Interns

Russell (DevOps Engineer Intern, Secure Hybrid Integrated Pipeline)

  1. Biggest Takeaway

In GovTech, it is not much about delivery but innovation and ideation. The greatest takeaway for me was to be able to actively contribute to production level work and being treated as an equal in my team. To be able to make decisions and produce workable solution is extremely fulfilling.

2. What kind of new skills did you learn?

As a DevOps Engineer, I specialise in developing CI/CD pipelines and developing servicing solutions to ensure smooth and swift project migration and deployments as well as efficient onboarding of external clients.

Throughout my internship I had practical exposure to the powerful process of Infrastructure as Code, High Availability Deployments and Container management with Kubernetes and even developed a serverless web application for user management.

Skills acquired here is only limited to how much you want to learn :)

3. Any other comments?

GovTech may put you in a very comfortable position, but challenge comes only when you request for it and that is where the fun begins!

Jason (Blockchain Developer Intern, Open Certs)

  1. Biggest Takeaway

It has been a great experience being an intern at the Distributed Ledger Tech (DLT) team, understanding how the government is able to make use of the latest technology to solve problems. Blockchain is a rather new technology that only gained popularity in the past few years and witnessing the process of how this technology is being used to digitize physical certificates was an eye-opening experience.

2. New Skills?

Being an intern at DLT, working with blockchain has allowed me to better understand its structure and how each node interacts with one another to form the blockchain. DLT consists of a small group of developers and every single individual wears multiple hats, from planning, developing, designing, testing to reviewing. During this short span of 4 months, I got to experience designing intuitive user interfaces, converting the design into code, writing unit and integration tests for continuous integration and reviewing other people’s code while at the same time learning from their code.

3. Any other comments?

GDS is a great place for people who are new to the industry to learn and test out new ideas without having to worry about failing. Failure is part of our learning journey here at GDS and we continuously improve by learning from our mistakes. If you are a person who loves to have lots of fun while learning, this is definitely the place for you.

Samuel (Blockchain Developer Intern, Open Certs)

  1. Biggest takeaway

The most important I realized from this internship is you got to love what you do, you have to be genuinely interested in what you are learning, and you must be prepared to give it your best. I felt that this experience has made me realize how much I love developing, especially with a team of like-minded individuals. Even if you meet a roadblock, it is a burst of adrenaline to know that you have something to overcome. And when you do, you feel a greater sense of accomplishment, no matter how small or big that bug was. I think that’s the joy of technology — choosing from a multitude of pathways to build a certain product, working with others along the way, and overcoming the obstacles together. And I absolutely enjoyed it.

2. New skills?

During the interview for this internship, I recall vividly how my RO asked if I knew Javascript and I replied ignorantly “I know Java, so they must be quite similar”. Boy, was I wrong. The 12 weeks here in OpenCerts has been eye-opening to say the least. Through my mentors and fellow interns, I picked up a new language, learnt to use Git (properly), and to name a few — React, React Native, Redux-Saga, integration and unit testing. I was also introduced to real-life applications of Blockchain technology.

In college, most of us are taught to understand a project with 15–20 files or so. Built-in under a week, the whole project could be understood in a few hours. The projects we worked on has hundreds of files spread across dozens of folders and repositories. It can take months to understand the whole project, and hours to debug a bug that’s spread across multiple files. And the first time you look at the whole project directory, you may not know where to start understanding the code. Knowing that the code you write will be read, understood, and improved/changed by someone else (or even yourself) in the future makes you write code that’s maintainable.

3. Any other comments?

Before this internship, I heard many horror stories from my batchmates about terrible internships — how they were left alone to their own devices or worst, designated to the task of photocopying paper and fetching coffee. But thankfully, I had mentors who provided guidance and also the freedom to explore my interests. Most of all, they had the patience and competence to guide a clueless intern who had no idea what language he was working with. This would be my advice — find great mentors and your internship journey will be an even greater one!

Sandy (UI/UX Designer Intern, My Careers Future)

  1. Biggest Takeaway

I participated in discussions for user stories, feedback and gatherings about the product. At times, it is difficult for me because not everyone can understand my speech due to my hearing impairment. To resolve this, we communicated through google docs. Therefore, i was able to experience how a designer collaborate in a cross-functional Agile team with the help of my team.

2. New Skills

I picked up React JS, Tachyons CSS, studied human interaction development, design patterns and system. I learnt that adesign system provides components that are robust, acceptance, flexible and consistent. Moreover, I also managed to improve accessibility for visually impaired users.

3. Any other comments?

Interns will be able to pick up the latest skills and learn time management skills in order to complete the task within the time given. As someone with special needs, I also hope that more time, patience and space is given to interns with special needs.

Wen Qing (Intern, Hive Agile Testing Solutions)

  1. Biggest Takeaway

Besides the skills that I’ve learnt from this internship, I’ve been able to experience AGILE practices like stand ups and sprint retrospective. Besides the team members, GovTech has many events where I am able to interact and learn about what other teams are doing. This allows me to have a greater exposure to the organisation besides my own project.

2. New Skills

Automating as many task as possible is one of the task that I’ve been working on. The main task that I was working on throughout the internship was to automate the execution of test scripts across multiple devices and browser. This led me to work with the android debug bridge and Appium library for running the scripts on mobile devices. To write the tests, I’ve learnt to use robot framework which is surprisingly easy to understand and write due to the use of keyword driven approach.

Yingying (Quality Engineer Intern, Hive Agile Testing Solutions)

  1. Biggest Takeaway

Eye-opening experience to the world of testing. Learning about how to build tools that can automate testing. I was able to visit agencies to see how they were using the tools that our team built which made me realized the importance of testing. I also discovered how Macbooks are wonderful for development and now i am constantly thinking about getting one.

2. New Skills

Building automated solutions using Python and integrating our solutions with Robot Framework. Learning how to work with different platforms (E.g. Linux, Mac OS) other than windows.

3. Any other comments?

If you don’t ask, you will never know. So don’t be afraid to ask questions. Always keep an open mind and learn as much as possible!

Cyber Security Group (CSG)

Full list of responses from CSG Interns

Bernice (Intern, Cybersecurity Policy Development)

1. Biggest Takeaway

Have a game plan, always be prepared. Expect the unexpected, ’cause Murphy’s always ready to strike XD

2. New Skills

Other than technical skills, I also get to learn soft skills such as thinking in the perspective of the different stakeholders. While it is not a new skill, I get to reinforce the importance of communication. What you think something is, may not be what it intended to be. Thus, it is really important to always communicate with the stakeholders to align the goals and requirements.

3. Any other comments?

It’s okay to feel intimidated, especially when part of the interview consists of a technical assessment. Just take that leap to try things out! Just know that It’s okay, even if you have to try again no matter how many times! Let your merits shine through :D

Glenice (Intern, Red Team)

  1. Biggest Takeaway

Greater insights and readiness for the working life. Throughout the internship at GovTech, I was given the opportunity to work closely with the team. This provides me the chance to understand more about the life of a full-time GovTechie!

2. New Skills

It was an enriching internship at the Red Team. My Reporting officer (RO) and the Red Team have been encouraging throughout the internship so it felt like we are in this together. They were quick in providing helpful advices when discussing about the project.

Also, try out the hot chocolate at level 10!

Samantha (Intern, Cloud Infra Security)

  1. Biggest Takeaway

People!! I loved how the people I have met in GovTech all have different perspectives, coming from different schools and from all different walks of life. Internship was really an eye-opening experience for me in this sense.

2. New Skills

Gave me a chance to harden my technical skills and be independent.

Clusters & Technology Management Office (CTMO)

Response from CTMO intern

Lye Jun (Intern)

  1. Biggest Takeaway

My biggest takeaway is to be able to understand cyber security in another perspective that the school will never teach.

2. New Skills

I learned some skills on how to do my recon work for bug bounty and perhaps I can use it for my personal development in the near future as well!

3. Any other comments?

Don’t be afraid if you’re a blank sheet with no experience and just have knowledge from school modules only. Come with a willing heart to learn.

Special thanks to those who took time to share with me about their experiences in GovTech!

GDS: Russell, Sandy, Jason, Samuel and Wen Qing

CSG: Bernice, Glenice, and Samantha

CTMO: Lye Jun

Feel free reach out to me on Linkedin if you wish to contribute to the article!

I write about new tech that i’ve been exploring recently. I believe in working hard, being kind and trust that amazing things will happen.

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