Sarah

Intern – Summer 2018
Core Test Systems Documentation

Education

University of North Texas – B.S. in Professional and Technical Communication


The Internship

How did you find out about this internship?

My grant writing professor has had some students come over here, be really successful and like their job. She found out about the internship through them and thought I might be a good candidate because of my STEM background, it being a STEM company.

What was the first week of the internship like?

My first week was just a lot of training and getting adjusted (even though that took a couple weeks). Training and learning what kind of tools the company uses, who are my contacts, meeting people on my team, just getting to know everybody and everything that I need to be successful.

What NI-wide intern activities happened during that week?

I went to one, so I guess you’d say field day. But I did have fun at that. I got to meet other interns and get to know them better because you spend the whole day with them doing some activities that were actually pretty entertaining.

The Team

What projects did you work on during your internship?

I worked on migrating STS M1 content as well as updating it. Migrating it from a PDF into our content management system and structuring it so it could be reused. Learning how to use XML to tag content for reuse and also updating it so it is consistent with the STS M2 docs as well as Tech Comm best practices. Which included reading through all of our documentation and learning how the team creates our docs and why those decisions were made. And also interviewing different engineers on our team to get confirmation or fix some CARs and make sure I was writing accurately.

And now I’m working on image guidelines. There are other products in our system that have their own documentation. So I’ve been looking at images from other teams who have had their own ways of doing things and seeing how everybody’s images look when compared to each other. Essentially making sure that we all look the same, making everything look like its coming from a company instead of different groups.

What skills have you practiced or improved through your project work?

Obviously communication because that’s just a constant part of what we do. Learning how to communicate what you need, and what advice you need not only from your teammates but from engineers and figuring out how is the best way to go about getting that information.

I’d say my writing has improved because I’ve gotten to see other people’s style of writing. It’s a different environment than you learn in school. People are really thinking about a customer that exists. It’s not just a made up scenario. So I got to see how you go about being an advocate for the customer.

Can you describe how you have interacted with your team/supervisor throughout your internship?

My supervisor and I have a daily stand up meeting where I talk about where I’m at with my project, what are my plans for going forward and ask any questions that I have. That’s been really helpful because I get some guidance every single day. I feel like there’s not a day that goes by where I don’t have a question and I don’t need input from somebody else. So it’s been very easy to get that from my supervisor.

As far as my team goes… The other person that is on the hardware side, Eric, has given me information about why documents are the way that they are and helping me figure out some obstacles that were standing in my way.

For the other team members, we have several opportunities throughout the week to get together and talk about what problems we’ve seen or coming together and seeing where everyone else is at with things and constantly communicating with them.

What have you enjoyed most about the team (or project) you worked on?

I really like my team because there is room to make changes, improvements and everyone is constantly trying to figure out the best way to present things for our customers. I think that’s been a really great process to see as an intern. How building a team works and the kinds of things that need to be taken into account when you are creating a style guide or how you would want to present an entire manual. I think that has been a really unique and awesome thing about my team.

My project was a challenge. By the time I could see the light at the end of the tunnel I was proud of myself for what I had achieved. I think that the content I updated and migrated will be beneficial for our team down the road. I think that’s what I really liked about my project, that it was really gonna make an impact somewhere either internal or external.

The Company and Campus

Is there anything about NI’s campus that you would want to tell future interns?

Take advantage of the hiking trails when it’s not super outside. Cause you’ll want to go on them when it’s hot outside. It’s a really cool place to be. There are things for you to do during the work day to make work a little better. Like going on walks or sitting outside at one of the many picnic tables. I think the environment is very much ‘You’re not just here to work, you’re here to work and have a life.’ Also Café C has better salads.

What about the company in general?

NI really cares about your success. They want you to improve and not only do well here but do well after you leave here. Everybody is always very open to help you with anything you need. They make an environment where you’re not intimidated to ask questions. They encourage it more than anything.

Is there anything about Austin that you would want to tell future interns?

Great food and great parks and awful traffic, that’s Austin. My favorite thing about Austin is the vegan food. The number of vegan restaurants, especially Bouldin Creek Café, that’s what I love Austin for.