About the author: Akansha Rai, a student of Jadavpur University, shares with us her exciting venture into the world of microcontrollers.
InÂ DecemberÂ 2017, the head ofÂ the Electronics Department at my university forwarded anÂ email to the students which stated thatÂ eTrans Solutions Private Ltd.Â was looking for an intern to work onÂ its new NVR project.Â The organisation has a full-fledged embedded systems lab in Kolkata, where it designs GPS units and customises RF and ePOS technologies. It was the perfect opportunity for me to grab my first technical internship, so I requested the HOD to forward my resume.
Once the initial screening was completed, a face-to-face interview was scheduled with theÂ heads of theÂ R&D and the Software & Firmware departments.Â There were moments during the interview when my nervousness kicked up, and I felt as if I was in an ancient Greek amphitheatre, not knowing which side the attacks would come from! They asked me all sorts of questions ranging from hardware to coding problems. They asked me which domain I would be interested to work in, and I expressed my interest in embedded programming.Â They inquired about my knowledge of C and C++ programming andÂ asked me to write a few short pieces of code. They alsoÂ asked questions related to analog and digital electronics along with electromagnetic theory.
The interview went quite well, but a blow landed when they informed me that they wanted interns to join immediately.Â I was dejected because I was looking for a summer internship andÂ thought that I’dÂ have to search for another internshipÂ even though I hadÂ my heart set on this. I was certain thatÂ my dream of doing an industrial technical internship would have to be put on hold however, two days later, I got an email from HR saying that I’d been selected for their summer internship and I would be working on Sensor Integration in NVR.Â I waited eagerly for my semester to end; I was dying to be able to say, â€œI will be late for theÂ office! Gotta go!â€ Finally, it was my first day, and I was experiencing a whole range of emotions by the time I reached the office. With mixed feelings ofÂ nervousness, excitement, and fear,Â I started my day with a PIC microcontroller that needed to be programmed.Â I drew a blank;Â I was just a second-year student who couldn’t even tell the difference between a microcontroller and microprocessor. I asked my manager for help and studied the concepts of microcontrollers the entire day. I tried to glean all the necessary information I could from the internet, and byÂ the end of the day IÂ successfully programmed PIC for LED blinking.
I was the youngest person at work, and initially, I felt slightly awkwardÂ but everyone there was extremely warm and welcoming, so I settled in easily. During my internship, I was a part of several projectsÂ and had a concrete hands-on learning experienceÂ with the opportunities that the field of electronics offers.Â I worked on the GPS-IoT platform primarily andÂ integrated the host of sensors (like temperature, humidity, infrared, pressure, etc.) to collect different parameters concerned with assets in various formsÂ to improve and control the assets’Â life cycles. I also tested a soil sensor which calculated the percentage of moisture in the soil. My final project was about interfacing a GPS Module with ARM Cortex.Â This internship made me proficient in working with PIC microcontrollers, ARMÂ Cortex-M3, GPSÂ Quectel L80 module, and smart cards. I gained a lot of knowledge about embedded programming and improved my skills as a C programmer.Â In fact,Â by the end of the two months of my internship, I was able to find the latitude and longitude of a place and track a person accurately.
The work culture at eTransÂ wasÂ simply amazing. ThereÂ was no work pressure and everyone wasÂ eager to help one another.Â I remember an instance when I couldn’t properly parse the GPS data on my ARM Cortex and I was working on a deadline. Seeing me struggle with this, the head of the IT DepartmentÂ helped me find the error in my code.Â The final week of my internship was incredibly emotional for me; I wasn’tÂ willing to leave that environment but all good things do come to an end, and so did my internship.Â On my last day, the managing director offered me a PPO.
Do you wish to have a learning experience like Akansha’s? Check out other electronics engineering internships here.