As most students will tell you, the best way to improve your knowledge of something is to put it into practice. This is definitely true for my internship at 52°North, so if you are reading this and wondering what an internship at 52N is like, hey my friend, this post is for you!
Before I get into my internship experience, I need to tell you how I ended up here. While writing my Bachelor’s thesis in Brazil, I was exposed to a lot of geospatial data, which at that time really opened my eyes to the different possibilities that location can open up. The desire to change my career to software development and my passion for solving location-based challenges and optimization led me to study Geoinformatics and Spatial Data Science at the University of Münster, Germany.
The name 52°North kept popping up during different presentations and events at the Institute for Geoinformatics. Curious to find out more about the company and its projects, I visited their website to do some quick research on current projects. I was already fascinated by the idea of working with open-source tools, so when I saw the scope of the MariData project, an internship at 52N seemed like a perfect fit. The context of combining route optimization within the maritime industry brought together many different aspects of interest. I immediately applied for the internship position in the project.
As an intern, I was part of the Analytics & Processing team with a focus on the MariData project. There were a number of different project tasks so I was able to perform different development activities. In the first month, I focused more on Geoserver, creating layers with custom SLD styles while respecting geofence security constraints. I then started to directly support the development of the Weather Routing Tool (WRT) by implementing the negative constraints in the routing process, which mainly uses OpenSeaMap data. While developing new classes and methods for the negative constraints, I came across the concept of unit testing and test-driven development (TDD). I put this into practice using the Python library pytest. In addition, I improved the WRT documentation by creating different diagrams such as simplified and sequence diagrams. Last but not least, I supported the implementation of Open Data Cube as a new way to load the environmental data needed for the different routing steps.
Of course, in order to develop my tasks and make all contributions possible, I deepened my knowledge of Python programming and also learned and used other tools/frameworks such as GeoNode, Django, PostGIS, Docker, Git, etc. Yes, there are a lot of different names there, but relax, using these tools during the internship is an opportunity and you have the time to learn them.
I really enjoyed my experience at 52°North. Thanks to my internship, I was able to apply the knowledge I gained in the first semesters of my Master’s degree to a real project with real stakeholders. The opportunity to work side by side with more experienced developers in pair programming sessions and sprints was also crucial to my development as an IT professional.
If you see yourself working in the IT industry with some of the technologies that were mentioned and have a desire to learn and apply your knowledge in meaningful projects, then apply to be part of the 52N team.