My Experience as a Software Engineer Intern at Oracle

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Howdy, y'all! I’m Layla, and I’m in the last week of my 3 month Summer internship at Oracle!

I had the amazing opportunity to be the FIRST intern ever on the Database Tools team + I worked specifically on the SQL Developer Web engineering team, as a Software Engineer intern.

If you'd like to read my story about HOW I got recruited for this internship, check out my blog post on that here!

A little bit about me: I’m a rising junior at Austin Community College in Austin, Texas where I’m pursuing a Software Development Bachelors! I have a huge passion for content creation + coding, and since creating my Twitter a year ago, I've been finding creative & fun ways to integrate the two: whether it be eye-catching cheatsheets, threads about certain topics (with eye-catching graphics, of course) or in-depth blog posts, I try my best to share the highest quality of content about whatever technology I'm learning!

Now, let me tell you all about my Summer internship at Oracle!

The first 2 weeks -> first month

After getting my NEW MacBook Pro set up, my webcam, etc., I was ready for my first day! The first week of my internship was a butt-ton of onboarding events. We zoomed (literally) through slides about Oracle products, history, and values. There were two groups of Interns, with staggered start dates: I was in Intern Cohort 1, which was over ONE HUNDRED interns strong! It was so cool to see all the different universities everybody was from. Although I was probably the only intern from a community college, I was still proud to represent my school 😎

Week two came around and the regularly scheduled onboarding sessions were replaced with real meetings with my team! 📝 (And yes, I finally learned what a daily standup is 😂). My team, the SDW (SQL Developer Web) team is responsible for creating and maintaining ANYTHING regarding the web version of Oracle SQL Developer.

I spent a week or so getting familiar with the web version of Oracle SQL Developer Web, and I was so incredibly excited to be working with a product I enjoyed using myself! My amazing manager consistently replied to my annoying Slack pings, hopped on Zoom calls to share his screen and help me with whatever I needed - I was and am so grateful to have had such a down-to-earth manager/mentor. Jeff, if you're reading this, you're the BEST!

The work

From week three onwards, I got heavily involved working in the main project I was brought on to assist with: helping create a self-service tool for the web version of Oracle SQL Developer Web!! Coming into this internship with Oracle, I was mainly interested in:

  • learning about the process behind product management

  • utilizing my design, content creation, AND technical skills

  • gaining some full stack experience; using Css, JavaScript, APIs, etc.

Considering I have never worked on an engineering team nor was I familiar with the product management process... I had a lot to learn. Going from the ground up in a project was extremely new to me - but I'm grateful my manager and my team were patient enough to help me learn, and answer any questions I had all Summer!

A few first steps I took to establish an MVP for the tool we wanted to create were:

  1. scoping out the requirements and user stories (who is going to use this tool, and why? And when they use it, what are they going to want to do?)

  2. creating a workflow diagram, which is essentially just a flowchart that demonstrates the order of events the User will go through in your tool/product. For example, if it's a sign-up form, the workflow diagram could begin with the user filling out the input fields, then Submitting, which triggers a REST API to POST that new user's information, etc etc. All of that is communicated visually via the flowchart.

  3. creating UI/UX design mockups for the tool and its corresponding 2 other pages. I mainly used! + there were a few versions of my mockups, as I gained more feedback and got a better idea about what my leadership wanted the tool to look like!

  4. starting on the HTML, CSS and JavaScript files, code reviews, merge requests, etc.!

The truly amazing aspect about this project was: It's a REAL tool that's going to be released in an upcoming update of Oracle's SQL Developer Web! 🚀 I ALSO had the freedom to design the UI/UX mockups for all 3 pages I was creating, and code the entire front end! I took on full responsibility for researching and documenting features, user stories, AND had control over what the UI was going to look like, with feedback from my manager, of course!

On top of the tool I was actively helping create, I was also engaging in some content creation for my team and Oracle! I had the opportunity to:

  • write a few blog posts and Twitter threads detailing the steps of how to get started with Oracle's web version of SQL Developer... (you can read all my Oracle blog posts here)

  • create official Oracle SQL cheatsheets (find them here and here)

  • be a guest on Oracle's official podcast, Lashes.Love.Tech and talk to Senior Director of Database Product Management, Kay Malcolm

  • speak to my Intern cohort of 300 interns about how much a productive social media presence in tech can CHANGE your life! (Thank you to my mentor Kay for pushing me out of my comfort zone to do that!)

The perks + fun stuff

Aside from the AMAZING swag we Interns received at the beginning of the internship (new mouse, new keyboard, new laptop, a new backpack, hoodies, t-shirts!!), there were so many fun events throughout the internship!

The Intern Program Leaders hosted virtual engagement events that gave us interns the opportunity to get to know each other, despite being fully remote! We did a scavenger hunt, a Jeopardy game, a Bollywood Belly dance tutorial, an escape room AND even a painting contest (Oracle sent us our own PAINT KITS! How cool, right?). And despite not being able to go into the office and eat the amazing food on campus, we were covered with UberEats all Summer long, with a $300 voucher! But - I did get the opportunity to tour Oracle's headquarters in Austin, Texas, and work there for a full day! Click here to see some pictures I took. 🙂

Let's not forget the amazing tech talks from Oracle executives! We had an INCREDIBLE lineup of Oracle leadership and executives to share their stories and their wisdom:

  • Oracle CIO, Jae Sook Evans

  • Senior Director of Database Product Management, Kay Malcolm

  • Executive VP of Oracle's Global Business Units, Mike Sicilia

  • Group VP, Applications Development & Strategy, Miranda Nash

It was such an amazing opportunity, to be able to listen to these amazing individuals' stories and ask them questions about their journeys. Shout out to the Intern Program for allowing us to hear from such influential and hard-working people at Oracle!

A few things I’ve learned

Don't be scared to network: An internship is truly the perfect environment to learn about a new company, a new industry, BUT also it's the perfect opportunity to network. I had the opportunity to speak to so many amazing and bright individuals at Oracle, each sharing their wonderful insights and experiences from their lives. This is the perfect time to reach out and introduce yourselves to others—you never know what you might learn and the connection you might establish with that person!

Got ideas? Don't hold back: As an intern, you bring new, fresh ideas to the product space and help innovate new ideas. You’re able to see the products in a completely different light than someone whose been working on them for 10+ years - plus, you bring forth perspectives & pain points that customers can resonate with. Although not all of your ideas will be practical enough to carry out during your internship, it's still helpful to introduce your ideas anyway! By doing so, you get ideas flowing with your team and help them imagine new possibilities for your product. And who knows, down the road your idea could pop up as a feature and you’d be able to say, “I suggested that!!!!!!!”

Do everything and anything outside of your comfort zone: Are you scared of public speaking? Say yes to any and every public speaking opportunity that comes your way! Are you looking to challenge your UI/UX design skills? Specifically request the responsibility of creating those mockups. During my internship, I said yes to every single opportunity that came my way, ESPECIALLY if it brought me out of my comfort zone. I believe that's when the best growth happens, is when you're completely out of your comfort zone!

Looking back on Summer 2022

Even though I was working remotely all Summer, I never once felt alone or unsupported. I was always just one Slack message away from receiving help from my team, my manager or my mentors. Not only did this experience bring me confidence as a woman in tech/female engineer, but also as a person. I TRULY believe spending my Summer at Oracle has changed my career completely, for the better! Going forward, I'm SO excited to pursue more opportunities in software engineering, content creation, and product management.

I’m just so incredibly grateful for this experience and cannot wait to apply what I’ve learned in the future. Thank you to my VP of Development: Kris, my manager: Jeff, and my mentor: Kay, for this amazing opportunity. I'm forever grateful for the experience I've gained this Summer! 🧡

THANK YOU for reading my story! I'm grateful you took the time to read this far.

If you'd like to stay connected and up to date with my tech journey, my website: 🥰 I'm so excited to see where my journey takes me next!

See you in my next blog post ~