Supply chain companies and distributors rely on Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) to exchange business transactions like orders and invoices. Comparatio, a boutique software service provider, supplies those organizations with EDI integration solutions that keep everything running smoothly.

“There’s always work to be done,” said Kim Benson, Comparatio’s Director of Project Management. And for several years now, hiring summer interns to help with their workforce needs has become a vital part of the company’s success.

As a small shop, every member of the team is exposed to all elements of the work and needs to be able to contribute and collaborate equally. Therefore, to ensure their interns are up to the challenge, Comparatio gives the applying candidates a coding challenge, asking them to build an online calculator during their interview.

“Muhammad embraced that challenge, walking us through his code without hesitation,” recalled Benson proudly.

Success through collaboration
Muhammad Bilal is a Computer Science major at St. Cloud State University. As this was his first internship experience, Bilal was pleased by the variety of new frameworks, techniques and applications that he was exposed to.

The Comparatio team started Bilal with frameworks he was familiar with to help build a strong foundation and build his confidence. From there they focused on developing new skills.

His main project was working on an Amazon selling partner’s API. Bilal began by researching it and documenting his findings. From there he set up the API and tested it in a sandbox environment. When working with Comparatio’s software developers on website updates, he applied his knowledge of HTML and CSS while also learning a lot about Java.

Juggling all of this was simplified, he said, due to Comparatio’s collaborative work environment.

“When you have a good group of developers working together,” Bilal said, “the task becomes simpler.”

There’s always more to learn
As Bilal prepares to return to St. Cloud for his junior year, he’s taking with him a summer’s worth of industry experience.

“By having an internship, this opportunity has allowed me to experience a real-world environment,” Bilal said. “Here, I’m able to learn so I’m more prepared for a real job. The things that SciTech are doing are really helpful, for me and everyone else who’s been able to get an internship.”

Benson and his team expressed their appreciation for all that Bilal contributed during his time at Comparatio, and they sent him off with this advice, “Technology changes all the time so it’s important to keep up those skillsets and stay current on things. To be successful, it has to be a hobby as much as a vocation. Own that education yourself and seek it out.”

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