Inspiring the next generation of electronics engineers

It’s an exciting time to be working in electronics. As well as the advances in artificial intelligence we are also seeing the Internet of Things becoming the Internet of Everything with more and more smart objects. Dr Catherine Ramsdale, VP of Device Engineering at PragmatIC, explains why student internships are so important and how they can bring fresh ideas to drive the industry forward.

Expanding capabilities

Through PragmatIC's strong links with UK and European universities we have been supporting internships for many years and have seen a high calibre of students. We find that interns are great at delivering on internal projects that often get pushed down the priority list but are very beneficial to the smooth operation of the business once completed. They can make substantial contributions during their time with us, and several staff members have joined us after completing their studies. This summer we have three interns, based both in Cambridge and in Sedgefield where our FlexLogIC® manufacturing system is located. We have asked them to share their experiences, which hopefully will encourage more undergraduates and postgraduates to search out where they can gain hands-on experience.

Nurturing new ideas

Mihai Varsandan, in his fourth year at Cambridge University studying Engineering, said that “After hearing about the PragmatIC internship I was really excited to take on this challenge. I enjoy working in this fast-paced environment where things need to move forward and be delivered quickly. So far, I have improved my coding skills by a very big margin, and not just Python but also C++. I have also learnt how to correctly integrate serial communication with Arduino and ethernet communication with Raspberry PI. To top it all, I learned how to do a basic level of image processing and recognition. In conclusion, I am very pleased with my experience at PragmatIC”.

David Barton is also studying Engineering at Cambridge University and has just finished his first year. He says that he has always loved taking things apart, then making something new with them. “PragmatIC  stood out to me for not only the cutting-edge work being done here, but also for how they clearly make the most of their interns and give us real meaningful projects to do that allow us to pick up new skills on the way, while gaining a real feel for work in this sector”, David confirms, “I’m very much enjoying the challenge of designing an automated test jig. My time at PragmatIC so far has been brilliant, everyone has been incredibly helpful and welcoming”.

Our third intern this summer is Mihkel Raidal who is doing a Masters’ degree in Physics and Chemistry at Durham University. He told us, “PragmatIC has very close ties with Durham University and is located not too far away in Sedgefield, so my Physics Professor suggested the internship to me”. He continues “The advantage of a company of this size, is that I was not put in a corner but incorporated straight into the rest of the team. There is an expectation of good work and results which is equally amazing and terrifying.” He says that during his time with us he has “been learning to conduct independent research. There are no correct and wrong answers like on a test. I need to come up with my own ideas and apply critical thinking to come up with conclusions. This combination on literature research, lab work and working with other people is the most ideal internship one can hope for”.

Next steps

From PragmatIC’s perspective we have really enjoyed having Mihai, David and Mihkel with us for the summer. They have made very useful contributions and also have been great to have in our teams. We hope this encourages other companies to think about offering internships and to build relationships with Universities. Keep an eye on our Collaborations web page for opportunities next year to come and spend time with us. https://www.pragmatic.tech/technology/university-collaborations‚Äč