Social Impact Internships: David Chaudhari (’25)

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David Chaudhari

Hi! My name is David, and I’m a junior at MIT majoring in 6-3 (Computer Science). I interned at The Coding School as a backend intern. In terms of The Coding School’s mission, as an organization TCS seeks to alleviate education inequality by giving education in Computer Science to high school students. Some examples of this are offering Quantum Computing and Introduction to AI courses to students, enabling them to learn about more advanced courses in CS. From this internship, I learned a lot about how organizations are leveraging technology to make an impact in addressing educational inequity.

Learning about TCS also showed me how there were a lot more educational organizations that also seeked to make an impact in education on the whole. Most people know about Khan Academy and the transformative impact that Khan Academy has made, but it’s refreshing seeing that model also applied to more complex concepts in CS. With the advances that AI has made over the past few years, it’s refreshing to see organizations also placing emphasis on these fields, which will become areas that will cause generational change.

In terms of the technical parts of the internship, we were tasked with creating an autograding platform for students to easily grade their assignments, and for instructors to easily put those grades into Canvas. This involved creating a server that would receive the required data and then output the data to both the student and to canvas. In this project, I noticed how easy it was for me to learn more about server development and the logic behind this, where I knew some of the languages that were used in server development (e.g. Python), and also understood the connection between the user would see and what the server would be doing, since I did quite a bit of coding in the Frontend before this internship. This helped me learn about Flask and server apps such as Digital Ocean pretty fast.

With this project, it was also interesting seeing how complex the problem truly was, where there were libraries/methods to grade notebooks, but they didn’t exactly fit what the goals of TCS were. This was a far cry from my assignments in class, where things had more structure to them and didn’t require “out of the box” thinking. I believe that this was one of the most valuable things I learned from my experience in TCS, where I used the sandbox nature that is code to my full advantage, using different pieces of implementations that were already made to create a custom app that suits our needs. I believe that in my future roles and internships, this type of thinking will be especially useful, using what’s already been made to create a new implementation to achieve something new and unique. I also think that in more advanced classes, having this mindset can play a major role in helping me understand more complex
concepts in software engineering as a whole.

Another aspect of the internship that was really valuable to me was the backend experience I got from TCS. In classes and internships, I mainly learned more about the Frontend and not focusing on the backend of an application. Through this internship I got to understand the entire structure of a web application, understanding the visual interactivity that the Frontend provides, combined with the brains of the app that is the Backend. I believe that learning this has made me a much better programmer in understanding the larger picture of a web application, understanding the significance of both parts and how they contribute to the dynamic web apps that we all use today. In terms of future career aspirations, knowing Full stack development (both frontend and backend) is a major boost in the Tech industry, due to the increased understanding that knowing both sides provides. I believe that what I’ve learned today will be essential in not only future job roles, but also in my personal life, helping me craft personal projects that can solve problems.

I’m immensely grateful for interning at TCS, where I know that I’ll apply what I’ve learned in this month through my college courses and in future job roles as well.

Tags: Social Impact Internships, Social Impact Internships IAP 2024

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