Internship report Livio

Livio, ETH Student within PDF Tools AG

“Working on your own project as part of a motivated developer team and following its progress is a lot of fun. ”

Livio, computer science student, ETH Zurich

Recommendation

I would recommend PDF Tools AG to anyone who wants to get to know all the different stages of a project.

I was assigned my own project for my six-month internship, and I was able to carry out every step from specification to testing. With the support of the developer team, you can quickly learn new skills and benefit from them significantly.

I believe that this internship prepared me very well for the world of work and significantly improved my programming skills. I would therefore recommend an internship at PDF Tools AG to anyone.

Who am I and why did I want to do an internship?

I am a 22-year-old IT student at ETH Zurich. During my bachelor’s degree, which I completed at the beginning of 2017, I noticed that the practical side of the course was fairly limited, and I did not learn a great deal of programming. I was therefore keen to gain some practical experience.

The period between my bachelor's and master’s was the perfect time to do a six-month internship without having to think about degree deadlines.

How did I find PDF Tools AG? Why did I choose PDF Tools AG?

I came across PDF Tools AG while I was looking for internship placements. The company's website immediately gave a good impression of it, and so I applied. Another factor was the moderate size of the company, which made me think that the internship would be varied and my work would also eventually be applied at the customer end – an expectation that was fully fulfilled during the internship.

How did I secure the internship?

Shortly after sending off my application, I received an interview invitation.

The interview was a good experience, as it was my first one. It was very casual; Mr. Bärfuss told me about the company’s activities and structures, and we discussed my knowledge of programming languages as well as my preferences both for and against particular areas.

I was delighted when Mr. Bärfuss then offered me the job straight away, and I accepted gratefully.

What does a day in the life of an intern look like?

As an intern at PDF Tools AG, you are treated as a normal colleague from day one. You are also assigned a mentor to introduce you to the topic and support you with the project.

I received my own project that I worked on for the duration of my internship. I could arrange my own working hours and breaks flexibly.

The development team is small, so I soon got to know everyone. Spending lunchtimes together, whether onsite or at a restaurant, was a nice way to relax and have a bit of variety.

Even on the days when my mentor was away or working from home, there was never a problem when I had a question. Everyone on the team was very helpful, and thanks to their support I was able to answer my questions quickly and easily.

What did I learn during my internship?

My internship introduced me to the day-to-day working life of a software developer. I was able to attend the developer meetings at PDF Tools AG, where I got an insight into company procedures.

I learned a lot about programming C++, including useful coding conventions that make code much more readable and easier to understand. My project required a thorough knowledge of PDF, so I also learned a lot about PDFs and how they are created.

An important aspect is working with and administrating a large code base, and programming in such a way that the code is easy to maintain and can be quickly and easily understood by everyone. By applying various theoretical concepts, I learned that theory doesn't always translate to practice.

Personal highlight

A particular highlight was the meetings with Mr. Bärfuss and my mentor Christoph, where we discussed the current status and further development of the project. We often discussed problems and possible solutions, which finally resulted in identifying the next step for the project. These meetings taught me lots of new approaches and methods, as Christoph and Mr. Bärfuss both have a lot of experience in programming and analyzing problems.