Introduction by Jeremy Parulian-Teknion Consultant
This summer, Teknion hosted its 5th annual class of interns. Over the course of 10 weeks, the interns developed a host of skills through training, mentoring, presentations and involvement in both client and internal data analytics projects.
Our internship program is a great way for college students to get real-world, practical experience, providing them with an opportunity to give a career in consulting and data analytics a test run and the ability to earn decent money during the summer.
Teknion also receives several benefits from having interns join our team for the summer. First, we are able to give back in a small way. By helping the next generation of leaders to gain some real world experience, hopefully we are able to set them on a course for success, preparing for the future in the hope they will become leaders that will make the world a better place. Secondly, we always learn something from these eager, smart and innovative young adults. They teach us new ways to communicate, how to approach problems differently and how to lead, coach and develop a new generation of employee. Lastly, Teknion has found great success in turning our Internship Program into a recruiting tool. We have several people on our team that joined us as interns and went on to join us in a full time capacity once they graduated.
For this Intern Class, we had the honor of having Greg Guggenmos, a senior at Southern Methodist University (SMU), Luke Page, a senior at the University of Oklahoma (OU) and Luke Smith, a senior at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (UIUC) join us for the summer. We enjoyed having each of these talented young men as part of our team and know they will all do well in whatever endeavor they choose to pursue; maybe even joining us back in Dallas after graduation. See what each intern had to say about their experience!
Greg Guggenmos - Business Intelligence Intern
"This summer at Teknion was an incredible opportunity to dive deep into Tableau, BI Consulting, and the new tech behind DataRobot."
The summer started off with two weeks of training, focused primarily on Tableau visualization tools. I was able to participate in Tableau Desktop I & II training sessions (that’s several thousand dollars worth of value) led by one of their full-time Tableau trainers, who also provided me mentorship as we tried out different visualizations and participated in Teknion's Tableau Makeover Monday challenges.
After the two training sessions, I felt like I had gone from total novice to being able to poke around and actually start creating dashboards in Tableau that were pretty cool. One of my favorite dashboards created took data from London Bike Rental Stations and displayed it across a map showing the number of rentals and the average length of trips on bikes going out from that station. I loved making the entire display interactive, even allowing a user to change the display for an hour-by-hour view of each station across the city; it was incredible to see how easily and quickly you could show millions of data points in a clean, easily understood way.
Another great aspect of the internship was the chance to work with DataRobot. This powerful new Machine Learning/AI tool is incredible, especially for anyone with experience in statistical programming or data analysis. DataRobot is an automated platform for organizing, cleaning, and applying Machine Learning/AI algorithms to data sets. The bulk of the mundane and uninteresting parts of data analysis is performed by the tool. This leaves the data analyst with the opportunity to focus on exciting and nuanced aspects of analysis, like feature engineering and algorithm selection.
"DataRobot could completely change the way companies interact with machine learning and artificial intelligence; instead of hiring a full team of data scientists, small and mid-sized companies can enlist DataRobot to enhance the capabilities of a much smaller team. I can’t believe I got the chance to see the cutting-edge tool in action this summer!"
Luke Page - Business Intelligence Intern
"My experience with Teknion this summer has been transformative to say the least."
On the first two weeks of the internship, we received training from one of the Teknion Tableau trainers. I remember being overwhelmed at first and a little bit worried I would be able to remember all the things I learned in the training. I participated in Teknion's Tableau Makeover Monday Challenges, which would take me a week to complete. Initially, I was clueless about data visualization practices and how to create a meaningful story from the data.
Below is a screenshot of the first dashboard I created.
I remember completing this after a week and being so proud of it. Reflecting on it today, I can’t help but laugh. The dashboard failed to address any sort of story and overall just looked unappealing. One of my favorite parts of the internship was presenting our dashboards to different people in the company. From those meetings, I received such valuable feedback which fueled me to do a better job the next week.
Later in the internship, I was able to work on a project with Orange County Courts of California. I was able to participate in weekly calls and status meetings, which I enjoyed a lot. Participating in the status meetings helped me get a feel for how to effectively communicate with others in a professional setting. I remember going from being nervous before every call, worrying about what I was going to say, to feeling more relaxed and confident, just like it was just a normal conversation. In addition, I was involved in creating Tableau Dashboards for the client and had the opportunity to travel to the client in California to present the dashboards I created to their executive board.
(Unfortunately, all of Luke’s dashboards made in the last month contain client-sensitive data. You’ll have to trust us that they are significantly improved from his original work.)
As I look back on the last 10 weeks, I can see how much I’ve grown. I am easily able to develop a Tableau dashboard and I spend less time trying to figure out how to do things in Tableau and more time on how the data can tell a story. I understand how data works much more clearly now and know how powerful of a tool Tableau can be when in the hands of a person who knows what to do with it.
"I am so thankful for being able to participate in the Internship Program, my time at Teknion this summer and the people who have helped grow me so much."
Luke Smith - Web Application Development Intern
"Never before have I seen so many friendly, intelligent, and motivated individuals in one office."
Working at Teknion has proven to be an extremely valuable experience. I was able to meaningfully contribute to the development of source code for Teknion’s data validation tool, Validatar. Before this internship, I had never worked on a large production application, so it was exciting to know my work would be used by Teknion’s clients. Not only was the work exciting, the atmosphere was truly unique. Never before have I seen so many friendly, intelligent, and motivated individuals in one office.
This internship has set the stage for my future as a software developer by helping me to gain the knowledge and perspective I will need to be successful.