IBM Extreme Blue is a twelve-week length Summer internship which provides an unique and prime professional experience for talented college students. Three are three IBM labs hosting this program in the US, including Austin, Reach Triangle Park (RTP), and San Jose, and total of 15 labs worldwide. Each team consists three technical interns and one MBA intern. Their mission is to design and develop the best solution to solve an important existing technical issue with emerging technologies. It was my honor to be part of the Extreme Blue program this Summer and this valuable experience has improved me both personally and professionally.
Each Extreme Blue project is assigned 2-8 mentors, who have deep understanding of the current situation of the problem area. They provide guidance and approve the work achievement throughout the course of the internship. With this guidance, Extreme blue interns need to go through brainstorming, researching, and group discussion to design the best possible solution. Prove of concept is usually the first task and after that, the team continues to develop the solution methodically.
Pitch to Executives
Since all Extreme Blue projects are related to one or more emerging technologies, being an Extreme Blue intern means to be highly visible to the IBM internal employees as well as IBM executives. One of the unique experience that the program provides is to present the on-going project to executives on a weekly basis and obtain valuable feedback and suggestions to improve both the presentation and the project.
Agile development methodologies enable this twelve-week internship to be outstandingly productive. We used industrial standard software to facilitate the software development, like IBM Rational Team Concert. There are five bi-weekly iterations, starting with an iteration plan and ending with iteration reflection. Here is another post about the Agile development methodologies applied: http://nesj.net/blog/2011/05/agile-software-development.
The only way to produce the greatest result from the project has to be through teamwork. There is no wrong questions or answers but the sparks of ideas can be crucial to the success of the project. With the time constraints in mind, besides properly assigned work to each member, it’s important to ensure that the exchanging ideas and discussion happen frequently and whenever needed. We worked closely together and often late in the night toward the end of the internship.
Unlike other internship programs which mostly expect local candidates, Extreme Blue program tends to attract talent from across the country to a project. IBM provides fully-furnished apartments near the IBM lab for all interns. Interns are free to organize different activities in their free time. We had a weekly movie night, game nights, dinning out, house parties, etc. The internship just lasted for a Summer, but those memories are kept in pictures and the heart.
Official Website : IBM Extreme Blue Program