Types of Projects in Our Technology Development Program

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Types of Projects in Our Technology Development Program

Monday, August 1, 2016

In Part 1, Samantha B. talks about life within TDP, a student tech program available to college interns and recent grads. Now she covers the types of projects she’s worked on and what she’s learned along the way:

What makes the Technology Development Program unique?

“The rotational nature of the full-time program is a great opportunity to challenge and grow as an employee. You face challenges and take on new responsibilities while having great mentoring support.

Project work in the first rotation

My two TDP rotations challenged me to learn new technologies and to find solutions. In my first rotation, I was a Big Data Developer/Systems Analyst on a Provider Search 2.0 project. I migrated the Provider Search application from a mainframe environment to a distributed environment.

I learned how Optum’s internal systems represent and process Providers. There was a lot of info to understand and document, but it helped me understand the history of the process and the build for the future.

I also created an “operation run book” for the process. To be successful, I needed to communicate with all team members in order to understand the process flow. I also worked on a Big Data Proof of Concept (POC) using tools such as Sqoop, Pig, Java and ElasticSearch. It was challenging to grasp these new big data tools, but I learned a ton.

Projects in the second rotation

I was an ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) Developer on an Individual Master Data Management Team. This project was to master the demographic information of consumers. We used a new open source tool called Talend. We were one of the first teams to adopt this tool.

I was also involved in creating the design and process flow of our delta ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) process. This basically means we designed and implemented a process that extracted changed demographic info from our sources; transformed that data to be properly cleansed and formatted; and then loaded it to our Master Data Management (MDM) tool. It required a lot of communication/integration with other teams and went through many changes using the iterative Agile process. I also created scripts needed for our team –I did not have shell scripting experience so that was challenging.

Mobile app development experience

I did not work on mobile application development for Android or iOS specifically, though many TDPers do. The program does provide the opportunity to gain exposure for those who are interested. I’ve mostly worked on big data applications.

Challenges within the Technology Development Program

I found the transition from singular work to team driven integration work more challenging. In a typical education environment, you are only limited by your own time constraints and abilities. However, on a development team (in a large organization) you often have to work closely with -- and are dependent on -- other teams and their deliverables. It can be frustrating when your work is held up by something outside of your control.

How to grow and advance within the Technology Development Program

I found that I was capable of more than I thought when faced with a challenge. With support from the program and my rotation teams, I was able to learn and apply new skills to real project issues and become a valuable team member.

Moreover, as I attended TDP events that spoke to Optum Technology as a whole, I was able to see how my contributions fit into the big picture. When TDPers -- on vastly different teams -- can freely discuss their different experiences across the company and speak to leaders across the organization, we’re put in a unique situation to see connections not immediately visible. Or we may see unnoticed places of improvement. Owning this unique perspective is a crucial part of TDP.

Favorite part or proudest moment

It’s hard to pick. There are so many great things about the program. I’m most proud of the growth I’ve had over the past year in both technical and professional abilities. The TDP staff and excellent rotation managers made that possible.

Advice to make your internship a success

You are your best advocate. There’s a tendency to get into a routine to wait for instruction in a syllabus. However, in the professional environment, you must shift gears to be proactive.

More often than not, waiting for someone else to notice that you have a need will only worsen the issue. Rather, get ahead of any issues you have and you will be recognized for taking initiative and being responsible.

Like this blog? Be sure to check out all our student blogs or visit our College Careers website for more information on our Technology Development Program for interns and new graduates.  

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