What first attracted me to C3.ai was the diversity and importance of the works that C3.ai does. Other companies offered the chance to work on a social media platform or a video game, but C3.ai is building high-value enterprise-level applications in industries from oil & gas and aerospace to manufacturing and banking. I was excited to accept the internship offer because it feels so cool to be part of a company that solves such interesting problems. But I had no idea that this internship would easily become the most rewarding and exciting experience I have ever had.

“Throughout this internship, I’ve learned more than I have in any class and it’s made me appreciate the joy of learning.”

Making an Individual Contribution

One thing that has made my internship at C3.ai so rewarding is that I’ve been able to directly contribute to ongoing high-impact projects, including implementing core features for a high-impact customer-facing application, writing a generic data replication API that facilitates performance testing and ensures high product quality, and contributing to designing a custom environment for an application that streamlines the development process. It’s been empowering to see how my knowledge and ideas can make a difference in the operation of large businesses and, ultimately, people’s lives. Contributing to high-impact products also helped me understand the importance of taking greater responsibility for my work. I am deeply thankful for this valuable opportunity.

Throughout this internship, I’ve learned more than I could have in any class and it’s made me appreciate the joy of learning. I am a better software engineer now than two months ago as I gained a deeper understanding of technical tools and concepts like unit, integration, and performance tests, the Git workflow, how to design and develop scalable applications, and—most importantly—how to effectively communicate with other engineers and how to solve problems independently. There were times some of the obstacles I encountered left me a bit frustrated, but ultimately that made the joy of solving the problem and the learning along the way even more valuable.

Learning from a Team

What impresses me most about C3.ai is that engineers are developing exciting new tools and technologies, such as more robust UI frameworks and better approaches to ensure product quality, every day. Learnings and self-challenge never stop, regardless of your seniority. Thanks to constructive feedback from my manager and other team members, this internship also helped me identify areas I need to work on improving, such as being more vocal about my ideas in various phases of the software development process and being more flexible in managing tasks.

Last but not least, another key aspect that made this summer such a unique experience was the welcoming and collaborative environment that helped me to form genuine relationships with the rest of the team and other people across the company. On the first day, I was surprised to see that everyone—from software engineers to managers and vice presidents—works side by side, making it much easier to exchange ideas. I used to envision teamwork only as two or three people writing an app together but working at C3 helped me realize that real teamwork means the whole team shares the same collective goal and everyone is dedicated to helping each other out and marching toward the goal together. I also appreciated the opportunity to have lunch with the CEO and all the after-lunch walks and fun trips I went on with the team.

In just a few months, I felt like a part of this big family. I hope C3.ai can keep this welcoming and collaborative vibe as the company continues to scale up. I want to thank everyone on the team for investing their time to help me learn, grow, and experience what it is like to work as a software engineer in such a welcoming environment!

Michael Liu was a 2019 summer intern. He is earning his bachelor’s degree in computer science at Washington University in St. Louis. As a hobby, he enjoys plane spotting at airports around the world.