Taking the classroom to the real-world

Immediately after completing a four-week iXperience course, our students dive into an internship with global company’s to apply their newly acquired skills. While the companies vary in size and scope, our mission is to provide every student with meaningful project work and the chance to experience their chosen field in a real-world environment. Here’s what our students have to say about their internship experience:

Carlos Couce, iX Data Science ’16

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“The iX Data Science class was an excellent springboard to working with Aerobotics. In class, we learned a lot of the theory behind neural network algorithms and now, at Aerobotics, I have had the opportunity to implement those same algorithms while being surrounded by drones! We are currently trying to upgrade our image processing software with the help of deep learning, specifically using convolutional neural networks to identify trees in a picture – a trivial task for humans but at the forefront of computer vision and machine learning. I couldn’t have asked for a more challenging and rewarding transition from the classroom to the workplace.”

Erin Callaghan, iX Finance ’16

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“Silvertree Capital is a growing venture capital firm led by a stellar team. I have been able to join the team and utilize the knowledge and tools gained from the finance course in order to create value in the organization. My fellow finance intern and I are implementing a streamlined accounting process to be able to efficiently and fairly assess each portfolio company, through combining historical and projected data, tracking key performance indicators, and creating dynamic, graphical outputs. In addition, we are modeling the feasibility of a new business venture based on a successful foreign company, and mapping these financial projections to the South African market. Both of these projects would have been much more daunting and less value adding without the excel training and valuation techniques learned throughout the finance course. Overall, I feel much more prepared to tackle challenging work and am thankful to have learned from Wesley Kennedy and have spent time at Silvertree Capital.”

Sam Cheng, iX iOS Development ’16

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“With my limited experience in IOS Programming and Swift that came only from the past four weeks, I was naturally nervous when I was told to build an app for South Africa’s premier price comparison company, PriceCheck. How was I supposed to build an app that would be used by hundred of thousands of people when it was just four weeks ago I struggled with creating a basic tic-tac-toe app? I thought there must have been some kind of mistake and that I should have never signed up for an internship. However, as my team and I began the development process, I realized that I learned a lot more than I thought I had. Going through the wireframes given to me, I instinctively began to break down the mockup into smaller components or functionality that I knew I could develop. The IOS class I took at iXperience didn’t teach me how to build a tic-tac-toe app; it taught me how to build the things that made up a tic-tac-toe app. I realized that the skills I learned were fundamental and applicable to developing a wide-variety of applications, and not just a children game. With this crucial fact in mind, I was prepared to develop the most bomb-ass price comparison app that South Africans would ever see.”

Christopher Huang, iX Management Consulting ’16

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“How do we set-up an Ecommerce platform?”

The question above was thrown at me on Day 1 of our internship at PriceCheck – South Africa’s leading price comparison website. The lessons I had learnt from the iX consulting course had prepared me for this moment and that the work I would eventually end up doing will be impactful and worthwhile. From performing market analyses using Porter’s Five Forces, to understanding how we are positioned within the market using STP mapping, to developing dynamic financial models on Excel from scratch, the iX course has prepared me to address a wide range of business problems with confidence. The amount of autonomy and responsibility that we have been given during the internship has truly been incredible. From the start we were hosting our own meetings with third party companies, to help forge alliances and negotiate deals.”

Diana Gilmore, iX Product Management ’16

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“Working at Barclays— Aliens as the sole Product Management Intern directly after having taken the iX PM class has been both challenging and rewarding in the best ways. Barclays has allowed me to exercise the skills I just recently acquired in a real world setting, affecting existing products and subsequently generating a real, tangible impact within the company. I have roadmapped three separate products, along with developing customer journey maps, user flows, use case diagrams, and in depth competitive analyses. Task management is a large part of initiating an MVP, and I couldn’t have been more prepared by my incredible PM instructor, Tex, to be able to exercise and execute these skills appropriately here at Barclays.”

Pablo Cazzulino, iX Web Development ’16

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“One cool thing I learned in class was how to use APIs – which is basically a method of pulling various pieces information from websites, such as posts from Instagram. Command of this skill from class was helpful in my internship because API use has been an integral part of the project I’m working on right now at my internship. The internship workspace is challenging, but productive. I feel myself directly applying the information gained in the classroom environment into an actual marketable skill. Where the classroom experience gave me the building blocks to become a good coder, the internship pushed me to make something of those blocks, teaching me how to think in terms of scalability and other important features in the rapidly expanding tech world. Interning at GetSmarter has given me the opportunity to see exactly how far I’ve come after four weeks of class—I had never written a line of code beforehand. That I feel comfortable at a true tech company demonstrates that every line of code I write leaves an impact.”

Kwambata Ngatia, UX Design ’16

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“In the classroom at iXperience, I was surprised to understand that UX design does not really require any new skills. Rather it focuses on using existing knowledge and applications to make things anew and/or better than they were before. It is closer to looking at the world through new and varying perspectives. Now at Lightswitch, I am using the new ways of applying empathy to understand what consumers want from websites, and trying to deliver it to them cleanly and in an easy to understand format. The first project I worked on was creating wireframes for a soap company that intends to enter the South African market. Starting from understanding competitors successes and failures to interviewing everyday consumers and implementing these insights led our team to start developing the site after the company’s CEO approved the wireframes. This experience has been exciting, rewarding, and inspiring to see where this new-found perspective can bring me in the future.”