Being an IBMer – Summer 2018 Internship

From the moment I stepped into IBM’s office the day of my interview, I had a positive feeling that IBM was the perfect place for me, a place to start my first industry internship and advance my career as a Software Engineer.


My summer as a software engineering intern at IBM has been amazing, everyone is very welcoming and supportive, and I have learned a variety of new Computer Science skills with my team. I’ve enjoyed each moment of being at IBM; my favorite moments include: presenting our summer intern team project to our managers, the VP of our department domain, and the executive board of the CIO of IBM; learning and having a lot of fun with the interns from different teams was awesome especially when we attended IBM workshops in Cloud Development, Agile, and Design Thinking as well as when we all went to play laser tag and arcade games as a summer field day event.


The best part of the experience was that we worked on a meaningful project that can significantly save time for our team of engineers. We coded a Production Log Analyzer in Java that reduces massive log files to shorter and cleaner documents that display specific errors with relevant information; the program is connected to a Slack Bot and includes a dashboard for archiving logs and generating Watson insights. There was a lot of AI Research involved and we learned how to integrate multiple APIs and Java dependencies. We will continue learning how to use Watson APIs to generate useful insights to solve log problems.

Day 4 @IBM – Agile Workshop – June 7th, Thursday


We did a variety of group activities such as: the marshmallow challenge, chocolate supply chain, and a quiz game about Agile techniques. The marshmallow challenge was timed for about 15 minutes so we needed to use spaghetti sticks to build a tower that could hold up a regular sized marshmallow. It was really funny working with my team trying to tie string together to hold the spaghetti with tape but I think our tower was too complex. I think we should have created an Eiffel Tower type of structure since the team that actually won with the tallest creation created a triangular frame and reinforced it with overlapping layers of spaghetti. What I learned is that perhaps we should have created a small prototype of the structure before using all of our resources into a structure that did not work. During the chocolate supply chain, our team members were each in charge of only one task of either: coloring labels, sorting out about three different kinds of chocolate, and placing the lid on the cup holding the chocolates. I think the point of this activity was to realize that achieving the maximum best and most efficient results within a team is to allocate tasks separately because when we tried assigning friends to multiple tasks, we actually slowed down and didn’t reach our goal of completing the supply chain within the time limit. Overall, I learned that an Agile workplace is where there are daily stand-up meetings to fulfill goals set out for each day within two week so by the end the time frame there can be a deliverable product. Visually, this process appears on the a wall of post-it notes in three sections: backlog for what’s waiting to be done, WIP for work in progress, and done. There can’t be work left undone before moving forward with the next task. What I enjoyed about the Agile workspace is drawing on the wall with the dry-erase markers since it was a great way to organize my ideas on the spot and draw mockup designs for our dashboard proof of concept. Writing notes and drawing figures on whiteboards was useful when practicing for our final intern presentation as well. 


Day 3 @IBM – Design Thinking Workshop – June 6th, Wednesday


In the morning, I went to the IBM Think Desk to set-up the VPN and WebEx software for my laptop, which was helpful because we gained access to doing work remotely on the IBM network and can participate in webinars and virtual team meetings. I was also introduced to an Enterprise version of Eclipse called Photon that my colleague showed me since Eclipse Enterprise has more capabilities for the types of projects we work on than the original version. Before we got started with intern activities, my Pace friends and I saw our professor and we all took a nice group picture.


During the Design Workshop, it was fun participating with my friends since we got really creative with prototyping one of our friend’s project application to automatically retrieve treasury information. It was really funny to draw our own cartoon of the client and sketches of different reactions of our client in the form of a story to then act it out in front of everyone. We learned how to pitch our team’s ideas in a variety of ways and statements. The following is an example of what we wrote: our users are the IBM Internal Treasury; we will improve their bank statement retrieval experience; currently, these users struggle because the process is slow, inefficient, and manual; it’s kinda like using a bike instead of a car; in a perfect world, they would retrieve statements by themselves online; this would be great because it expedites bank statement retrieval. Even though it did was repetitive to create seven boards, I think the main purpose of the exercises was to gain a solid understanding of user experience, how clients think, and the right word choice to articulate ideas to clients in a clear and concise way.

Below is an overview of design techniques for understanding client point-of-views from an empathic stand-point and some book recommendations on the lower left hand corner. It’s so important to develop one’s skills of understanding how a client feels in order to deliver the best experience possible. 


I did find this to be a valuable experience because sometimes as a developer you can spend so much time coding to then end up not having a product that a user wants or actually needs. What was considered a great factor to include in this retrieval tool was having this available to any internet or network connected device. Engaging clients in conversations and the iterative design process is actually very crucial and pretty simply to save tons of time. For example, if you invest let’s say an hour of time into a mockup for a product and the user ends up needing something different, then you saved time in the development aspect. Otherwise, designing and testing beforehand is a very wise approach to move forward in the right direction from the very beginning and clarify any questions a client has.


Day 2 @IBM – Cloud Workshop – June 5th, Tuesday


I started taking the free IBM shuttle bus service to the office every morning at 7am from my nearby train station and met a full-time data scientist who codes in Python and works in Machine Learning. She’s super sweet; her major was in Information Technology at IP in New Delhi, India and then she completed her Masters in Data Science at Columbia University. She also loves IBM because it is a very family-like environment, open, and modern. We’re still great friends till this day and we plan on staying in touch. At the IBM Cloud Workshop, we deployed a chatbot about Nature Park information. The interns and I learned to installed CLI (, Node, Brew, Git, and learned new terminal commands. A few examples of commands we used include: npm start, pressing control and C to display the command line starting point, and cf target -o ibmcloudworkspace -s dev to switch organizations such as dev within your IBM Cloud account. I also learned that there is an IBM Public Cloud platform ( and that there is an Internal Cloud platform called IBM Dedicated solely for IBMers. This is the chatbot public Git Hub Repo:

I really enjoyed this workshop because all of the instructors were very helpful in guiding us with any questions and were very friendly. Below is a screenshot of my app deployed to the Cloud. 

IBM Cloud Workshop June 5th

Something else I learned further into the internship was that students can create an IBM Cloud account using their student email for a 6 month to a year free access coupon to at so they can make their own school projects using the Cloud. What I enjoyed about this workshop was that it was hands-on and interactive so it was a useful introduction to working with IBM platforms. It was interesting to work with the Watson Assistant ( and compare the user experience to using a Slackbot, which is what my team and I decided to use since Slack is used widely by our team and most people at IBM. The Watson Platform is an excellent service, however, interns really didn’t have enough back-end access to development since it seems to be more for commercial use based on my conversation with the VP of our Domain called Quote to Cash & Services I had later in the summer during a round-table discussion. During the intern retrospective, The VP and the Intern Program Leaders said that they will try to introduce interns to different departments such as the IBM Cloud and Research Teams.

Day 1 @IBM – Orientation – June 4th, Monday


At the beginning, all interns were introduced to each other at the summer orientation. It was so exciting to meet everyone and we did various activities. There was lots of rain in the morning on the way but it was still an exciting feeling to arrive to IBM. We checked into the IBM Learning Center where we were happily greeted by IBMers and welcomed with breakfast. I introduced myself to lots of HR Interns and a couple of CS interns. The interns and I participated in a Design Thinking workshop, where we designed a HR system to eliminate discrimination and bias using a Pepper Robot and Data Analytics. After lunch, we played a Trivia game based on IBM History and IBM videos we watched about the projected 5 year plan of IBM. We received our laptops afterwards and had another chance to chat with interns. I also met my team partner for the summer and our manager; our manager said to meet him at the main office after the orientation was finished. Once my partner and I arrived to the office, our manager introduced us to many members of our team, which makes up about 20 people, who all came in together as a group and I was so happy to introduce myself to everyone. That’s what I love about IBM, everyone is very welcoming and friendly so they make you feel like family. At the IBM Think Desk, my team member and I went to get started with setting up our laptops and I am grateful the Help Desk technician was able to help me with the entire process. At the end of the day, our team discussed the plan for the week where we would be attending intern workshops about Cloud, Agile, and Design Thinking. 

Second Life – Overall Reflection

SL Art Museum PIC

Being open to exploring ways to develop the computer skills of the elderly population was the key to being a helpful instructor for the online Virtual World called Second Life. Second life is a free website where users of all ages create an avatar to participate in activities that prevent cognitive decline and increase brain health. For the past 7 weeks via Skype and one in-person meeting at Starbucks, I was able to teach more than the basics of navigating the computer to my senior named Marilyn. With practice and patience, Marilyn and I were able to enjoy exploring the various programs of Inspiration Island and learned how to overcome challenges while having fun.

In order to prepare working as a Second Life instructor, my peers and I would meet online in Second Life to work with our supervisor, Lynne. We would all review the module lesson and practice sitting, chatting, writing in notecards, taking pictures, and other animations to prepare ourselves to teach our seniors. I found this preparation to be very helpful because I could ask Lynne questions and make improvements on how I navigate my avatar to finish the lesson in an efficient manner. Then I would share what I learned to my senior, Marilyn. While working with Marilyn, I first reviewed our previous lesson and then built upon her knowledge by teaching her the new lesson. I needed to make sure I was very clear and explained everything step by step when guiding Marilyn so that way we can both be on the same page. I always made sure I remained upbeat and positive during the sessions so Marilyn feels happy while learning especially when she had a few moments of feeling overwhelmed by the amount of content to learn. At the end of the session, Marilyn and I would share our thoughts on how we think we could improve our experience for the next session the following week. This was very helpful to debrief with her because I could better understand where she is having trouble understanding how to have more control with the functions of Second Life. Listening to Marilyn’s feedback helped me learn how I can further help her and allowed me to get to know her strengths and areas of improvement.

As a result of working with Marilyn, I know that there is a lot of possibility of teaching the elderly about technology. Seeing Marilyn smile and get excited about exploring the virtual world was very inspiring to me because I noticed how much she appreciates learning. This shows that with enough encouragement and patience, the older population can learn about technology. Running into a few issues and lots of repetition in a kind and gentle manner helped Marilyn learn a lot more especially since she is a visual learner. Marilyn and I loved working with each other in Second Life. If one way of accomplishing a task did not work, Marilyn and I would find an alternative. For example, if walking with our avatars did not work to travel from one area to another on Second Life, we could fly, ride a horse, run, ride on a magic carpet, or teleport, which was the best option for most of the time. Although our meetings were mainly online, I learned that what really matters in connecting with someone to help them learn virtually is openness to new ideas, genuine interest, and problem solving. Therefore, Second Life is a solid and reliable way to keep the minds of the elderly active while having fun with art, music, photos, and psychology.

Second Life – Session Seven

SL New Ballon PIC

Marilyn and I had a wonderful time during our last session in second life! We had so much fun exploring Inspiration Island at the Health Hacienda, Meditation Garden, Nature Preserve, Mad Science Lab, and the Abyss. At the beginning of the session, Marilyn introduced me to her husband, Ross. Ross was happy to see that I was teaching Marilyn about Second Life; he was so fascinated by the water fountain of the online world. I was so happy to see him very interested in SL and explained how SL is an online program for cognitive brain health created by software developers. Next, I shared with Marilyn the HUD (Heads Up Display) and brain that monitors avatar movements on SL. By using the teleporter, Marilyn and I took pictures together at each of the locations we explored with the camera icon; we each used our Linden coins to save our pictures to our inventory and then shared our pictures with Lynne in SL. At the Meditation Garden, we both flew on the magic carpet. Marilyn and I were able to ride on the Hot Air Balloon and Marilyn was able to ride on the horse too. What was super creepy was the Mad Science Lab where there was strange music playing, zombie-like characters, and electric shocks sparking near science tools in the background. Finally, Marilyn and I went the the Abyss where we landed underwater. Under the sea, we saw colorful fish, a green octopus, and a giant clam with a white pearl. By the end of the session, Marilyn wrote in the note card she created to share with Lynne that she needs to work on all areas of well-being: self-care, cognitive, social, creative, and purpose. She said that she will use her top strength of honesty to help her spend more time in all areas of well-being. We both gave ourselves time to say goodbye and we will definitely keep staying in touch. Marilyn told me that it was a pleasure to learn about SL and that she enjoyed working with me. I also loved working with Marilyn and I feel that she got very skilled at using SL so I am confident that she can continue being an active user of the online world.

Second Life – Session Six


Marilyn and I went to the Grove of Wisdom to do the Book Hunt. After Marilyn completed her Values in Action Survey, we were able to find all five books. At first, it was a bit challenging for Marilyn to find them; completing the hunt got easier as she got used to exploring the area since she finds it helpful to use maps to guide her when trying to find something. Following the directions for filling out the notecard was better when we decided that we would first focus on finding only the five books. While riding on a horse, I took pictures of Marilyn completing the hunt. Then, we focused on answering the questions. Using this strategy helped Marilyn understand the activity in an efficient manner. Finally, Marilyn was able to answer all of the questions from each of the five books in her notecard that she created with her inventory. She used the boxes labeled with virtues, which matched her strengths in order to answer the questions. Next time, Marilyn and I hope to explore more of the island while riding the horses.

Second Life – Session Five


Exploration was the theme for session five This time Marilyn and I met in person at Starbucks. After practicing the functions in SL, we went to the Community Cultural Hub. We were able to arrive at a museum where there was a piano and sheet music displayed across the walls representing different kinds of music. Next, we went to the Whole Brain Health Home Parcel where Marilyn flew on the magic carpet. Marilyn had lots of fun flying through trees and over the rainbow bridge. We tried to ride the horses, but our avatars were not responding well throughout the session. Finally, Marilyn was able to use the teleporter globe to arrive at the underwater spa. Marilyn took a picture of the colorful fish and coral surrounding her avatar in the deep blue sea. Although there were delays with the avatar response time, Marilyn said that meeting in person was effective and that she enjoyed the overall experience.

Second Life – Session Four


During the Butterfly Hunt, Marilyn and I were able to find all of the five hidden butterflies located in the Lotus, where each floor illustrates one of the five components of well-being. We had a lot of fun seeing the different levels of the Lotus even though it was a challenge to get up and down the stairs. Flying helped the both of us reach all of the floors. When collecting the butterflies, Marilyn was able to type in her notecard that she found the butterflies and she also answered the questions. At the end, she was able to submit her responses in the box of the Lotus to receive her Linden coins.