Five Reasons I Loved Being a Software Engineering Summer Associate

By: Colton Blake

Read about Colton’s experience during his 2018 UPMC Enterprises Summer Associate Program as a software engineer. Interested in joining us for the 2019 Summer Associate program?

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My Summer Associate experience at UPMC Enterprises was awesome! Enterprises is a great place to work, from the relaxed, be-yourself atmosphere (you can wear shorts and a t-shirt every day!) to the interesting projects I was involved with. Here are my top five highlights from my time in the Enterprises Summer Associate Program.

1. Hands-on Experience

The experience I gained by working with Enterprises was easily my favorite part of this summer. I worked on a data quality project that has the potential to save time and money. I was part of a team responsible for handling hundreds of millions of documents, which can push most systems to their limit if not tightly designed.  Our team was tasked with digging into a large codebase – a first for all of us – and reworking a process with the goal of reducing the time it takes to execute from a week to roughly a single night. It’s very exciting to work on something that will have a tangible impact going forward, and I’ve learned a lot about the importance of testing and how to work in a large team.

2. People over Products

Another great part of the summer was the people I’ve been working with. Each day, we met with the team to take part in the standup (as per the Agile Scrum development framework) to discuss what we worked on the previous day, and hear about what everyone else  accomplished as well. Our team mentor and Senior Software Engineer, Edwin Hinterlang, was really helpful and was dedicated to making sure we all understood the project and learned as much as we could along the way. It’s a testament to the kind of people working at Enterprises and means a lot when they can step away from their work, no matter how busy they are, and gladly help the associates solve and understand a tough problem.

I was also able to coordinate with the team manager, Brian Susko, and set up a round table career development discussion with him and all the associates. He shared his personal experience moving from software engineering to management and lots of tips on how to be a successful engineer. Brian’s a really personable guy and is super easy to talk to; his favorite part of being a manager is watching the engineers he works with grow and further their careers, and I think that was clearly reflected by taking the time to answer any questions we had.

3. Hey Batter, Batter

An additional highlight was attending the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game and networking event downtown. We were able to meet up with employees from different backgrounds all throughout UPMC and reconnect with some of the other Summer Associates we met during our orientation days – not to mention the Pirates bringing home a win after an unfortunate series of losses.

4. Seeing Innovation Come to Life

Also this summer, we were able to check out the UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. The attention to detail and the lengths employees go to make the children feel comfortable was inspiring. Outside of the big play spaces, they covered the small things, like putting a maze on the floor in one of the lobbies for the children to entertain themselves and take their mind off any anxieties they may be having.




5. Doggie Days!

Last but not least, the office-wide doggie days were easily one of the best parts of working at Enterprises.  It always made me smile when I walked into work and was greeted by some of the doggie day regulars, like Nugget!




All in all, my time at UPMC Enterprises was fantastic. The team will be missed, but the connections I’ve made and knowledge I’ve gained will definitely last as I return to Pitt for the school year.

We want YOU! Apply now for the 2019 Summer Associate Program.