Master’s Student Talks about Her IT Internship in Berlin
Kamilla Murzanova, student of the Department of Engineering and Computer Graphics, had a three-month internship in Berlin’s INNOTECH Holztechnologien GmbH. She talked about her project, lifehacks for living abroad and shared some curious stories.
How did you find this internship program?
It was by chance — a girl who was to take part in it refused. Her position was offered to me. I met all requirements, as I know programming languages and have experience in working with interfaces. I had only three days to prepare documents and pack my bags. There was no time for hesitation! Fortunately, I had a visa. When I came to Germany I understood that I can manage these 90 days of internship. Moreover, I knew that there will be a mentor who will help me out if necessary.
Please tell about the company you worked in?
It was the INNOTECH company that deals in research activities, consulting and manufacturing. I took my internship at its Software Department.
Photo credit: archset-studio.com
What did you do?
For three months, I worked on design and development of a mobile application, which helps to detect whether a picture conforms to the interior of an apartment. A partner company of INNOTECH produces posters, art reproductions and wall stickers. They wanted to develop a tool giving clients an opportunity to choose pictures from a catalogue and hang them on a virtual wall. I developed a prototype, which is on the first stage of development — it has not released yet. One uploads a photo of the room, so there is no need to make a 3D model, and then chooses a color of background and tries hanging out different pictures from the catalogue or one’s own picture. Users even can hang it on the celling!
Surely, there are yet problems to be solved, like finding the correlation between perspectives of the object and the background. There is also necessary to find a correct shooting angle, and issues with color rendering.
Was it difficult to work on this app?
We used the Xamarin platform, which made the work easier, as it is appropriate for iOS, Android and Windows. If we developed apps for each platform, the project would be more complicated and expensive. If an app is simple, sometimes it is not necessary to update it, but as it becomes more complex, one has to modify it for each OS. That is why we started with a version for Android. Versions for other platforms will be developed later.
What programming language did you use?
I used C#. Previously, I had no experience in it, that’s why I had to study the details during the work. It was not a problem, as I had already used other languages.
Berlin Photo credit: worldofwanderlust.com
How did you manage your working time?
Most of the time I had to use my initiative by planning my work and offering new ideas to my mentor Maya. Another mentor showed me how to work with C# and Xamarin, but he didn’t have much time for assistance. He showed me how to get the necessary information, and I was looking for it myself.
Also I am versed in web-programming — I helped my colleagues from INNOTECH with adapting their new website. They often asked me to help, and I was glad to. I like it when colleagues appreciate my efforts.
Did anything fun happen during your internship?
Once I met a boar. There was a forest on my way to the office. It is not a problem when it is a sunny summer day, but in fall when it gets dark earlier, this can be a little bit scary. that day I was coming back home riding a bicycle and suddenly heard strange rustle and oinking. I started spinning my pedals faster and faster but forgot to shift gears so the cycle went at the same speed. It looked like that: the girl spins the pedals as fast as she can, her cycle moves slow, and an oinking piglet is running fairly close… What can I say, Berlin really has a wonderful ecological system!
What sights do you recommend to visit?
There are lots of free tours — you can easily find the information on Google. Use your student card to buy tickets at a discount. The main "must visit’s" are the Berlin Cathedral, the Tiergarten and Müggelsee lake, in which you can swim. It is wonderful to visit Berlin on Christmas holidays. Visit Xmas markets, taste local sweets and hot mulled win, in a glass only — every year they change the shape of glasses, so one can gather quite a collection. If you’d like to visit the Reichstag dome, you have to apply a couple weeks before.
Did you always use bicycle?
It saved my pocket. Berlin is divided into three areas — A, B and C. The cheapest transport is in the first one, which is downtown. C is outskirts and suburbs. I lived in C, where prices are the highest. A one-way card for all modes of transport for a day Includes unlimited number of rides. If you buy four tickets, you get a discount. There many types of transport — subway called U-ban, S-ban, which is above-ground subway and trains.
The Reichstag Dome Photo credit: aviasovet.ru
Where did you live?
The company covered the accommodation charge equal to 390 EUR per month. I lived in a room in a penthouse. INNOTECH also covered all transport costs. As for food, shops are cheaper than in Russia, but it is more expensive here to eat out. An average lunch costs about 5 EUR. I also got a daily subsistence allowance of 24 EUR.
Please tell about you bosses.
They spoke Russian well. Alexandra and Thomas Stautmeister, INNOTECH’s founders, studied in Leningrad. Alexandra is a philologist, so it was a great pleasure to talk to her.
Do you plan to take part in any other internship?
I received an official offer for six months from INNOTECH. this was no really necessary, but can help solve many problems with documents. They’ve also sent me a contract. Applying for an internship in a foreign state is similar to applying for work — first, you have to gather lots of documents and apply for the embassy. One can find all the required information on the embassy’s website.