A 22-year-old graduate of the Nazarbayev University and computer sciences savvy, Alexandra joined an American startup KarFarm in August last year and completed her internship this February. The startup envisions to become a platform offering a quick and convenient car buying experience.
1. When and how did you know that Computer Sciences would be your profession?
I remember that programming as a subject was included in my high school’s curriculum. To be honest, at first, everything about programming seemed complicated and confusing, but over time it got easier and much more interesting. I always wanted to work in a technical field, but I didn’t like engineering enough to choose it. Why not math then? It seemed to be too theoretical. But, in Computer Sciences, I suddenly found a single source satisfying my professional interests and expectations.
2. What was the most difficult in the competition of the”IT-internships in the US startups” program?
I cannot recall any insurmountable difficulties. Now, the same can’t be said for the startup that I joined as an intern. There were plenty of problems. Especially in terms of funding, that is quite usual for startup businesses. I remember many conversations with our CEO. From time to time we would talk about KarFarm’s prevailing at the time situation and how the funding processes were working out. He talked about his plans too. These conversations were very interesting and informative.
3. How did you choose the startup? How did the internship go?
I emailed about 20 start ups and small companies. There was no reply from more than half of them, about a quarter responded saying they didn’t need any interns or had no suitable conditions meeting my requirements. The rest emailed but too late – I had already found a placement for the internship by then. I chose KarFarm because I felt my skills could be applied to their fullest. It’s a small company of only 13 people. There were four engineers, and I was the fifth, in the team. My task was to write an Android based mobile app from scratch. KarFarm’s goal is to build a platform for convenient purchasing of cars. Client only needs to fill up the request form on the website (or mobile app) application, to receive multiple offers and choose the right one. The car then is delivered right to the customer’s door. The startup is at the stage of revision and improvement of the web services and mobile application development.
4. What experience have you gained from this internship?
It was very interesting to observe the startup’s activities, how it develops, especially since it happens very quickly. If we needed something done or changed, we would quickly discuss it and get on with it. You also get to decide on many things on your own. In my case, almost everything I did was under my control, as I was the only programmer specializing in Android applications. Feeling important knowing your input matters regardless of your “intern” position gives the startups the romance of its own. If there are any difficulties, you can always seek your chief engineer for a piece of advice, who happened to sit just at an arm’s length. The rest of the team was also always available to help at any time. The result of my internship was the product’s launch Google Play. Official dealers have the full access to the application. It is definitely the time for the application’s first actual sales of cars and its success is in due course too. I gained invaluable experience in the industry from this internship.
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