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Success at the Annual Intern Code Jam

Fifteen teams tackled AWS problem statements in a span of four days at our Annual Intern Code Jam. Learn about one intern’s fun and sometimes chaotic experience.

Image of the teams meeting for the annual intern code jam
2 min read |

School is out for the summer, which means our 2022 Technology Interns have officially started and participated in our annual Intern Code Jam!

Over 100 members of the 2022 technology intern class participated in the 11th annual Principal® IT Intern Code Jam during the week of Monday, June 13 through Thursday, June 16. The interns were divided into 15 teams and were given three problem statements to choose from. As a team, they were required to develop a solution to one of the three problem statements using Amazon Web Service (AWS) technology and present their solution to a group of judges, all within only four days!

The Intern Code Jam is fantastic because it provides an incredible opportunity for students to exercise problem solving skills, work in a team dynamic, learn new tools and software, and present in a Shark Tank format to senior IT leaders at Principal. It is amazing to see the creative products each team is able to deliver in such a short period of time but also how much they grow professionally through this experience.
Travis Vander Linden, Info Security Sr Analyst I

Below, hear insights from Zach Mayle, an intern participant:

The Code Jam was a very cool experience that I am glad to have been a part of. It was a fun, (sometimes) chaotic event that paired us with very talented team members with different skill sets to come together and develop a solution.

On the first day of the Code Jam, it felt like my team and I jumped into a sinking boat with some duct tape and a radio and had to figure out how to patch the holes. But, I will tell you that by the end of the four days we knew every square inch of that boat and how to fix the holes, which felt amazing. I had no prior experience with AWS whatsoever before the Code Jam. It was slightly overwhelming opening up that AWS console for the first time and trying to figure out what everything was. Another big struggle I ran into was that I had tons of coding experience from school, where I learned the logic and syntax for various languages, but I realized I had no idea how to connect it together to make a project like this. I learned quite a bit in that area by the end of the week! Once we started, everyone adapted to the new AWS environment very quickly with team members utilizing their skills on front-end development, back-end development, ensuring we met our higher-level goals for the project through project management, security, and more. Everyone was able to find an opportunity to use their skills and learned how to apply it effectively in our new environment. Of course, we ran into some issues and limitations, but the Code Jam committee team was extremely helpful in resolving these problems quickly so that we could pivot to our next plan. All in all, I am lucky to have been a part of the Code Jam; I worked with some great new people, learned new skills, and am excited to continue learning AWS!