Intern Spotlight: Blaise Brennan
Q&A with an Asymmetrik Software Intern
Jun 21, 2017

Blaise Brennan, Asymmetrik Software Intern

Blaise Brennan didn’t always think he was going to be a software developer intern. Prior to coming to Asymmetrik, he spent a year working at a law firm, where his days involved paperwork, paperwork, and more paperwork. Blaise enjoyed the job and learned lots – including that he didn’t want to be a lawyer!

A senior Computer Science major at the University of Maryland, College Park, Blaise liked his first summer internship with Asymmetrik so much, he’s back again this summer.

Last year’s internship focused on data science. Blaise configured an Apache Zeppelin instance, developed Spark analytics, and moved data with Apache NiFi. This year Blaise is building experience in front-end development. He’s working with WordPress, PHP, Javascript, HTML, and CSS to support our healthcare team in helping patients find the care they need.

How did you get into coding?

I got my first computer when I was in middle school, and quickly took to customizing it and making my own. It had an accessibility feature that allowed you to use voice controls to do some simple tasks, so I tried to make some custom actions with Applescript. It didn’t work, but I enjoyed the process, and it’s the thought that counts…

What do you like best about your internship here?

When I started working here last summer, I had great grades on my transcript but very few practical skills under my belt. Within a couple of days, I was writing code and seeing my pull requests merged into a major project. A lot of my friends went to work for companies that had them working on small side projects without any real consequence, but I was picking up JIRA tickets and doing real work here. That felt great as someone who had never even heard of Angular or Node only a few weeks earlier.

A lot of my friends went to work for companies that had them working on small side projects without any real consequence, but I was picking up JIRA tickets and doing real work here

I also really liked meeting and working with so many great people. My favorite memory from last summer is our intern outing, where the six of us went out with Mike and Amit. I thought it was cool to have a happy hour just with the owners of the company. After drinks we went to Medieval Times, where we ate turkey legs with our hands, and yelled at knights.

2016 Intern Outing

When you were a kid, what did you imagine your “grown up” life to be like?

I definitely looked forward to playing video games whenever I want, but I also figured that I would be wearing a suit to work everyday like my dad. Now I’m doing neither of those things, so I’m not sure where I went wrong.

What achievement are you most proud of in life?

I came *this* close to going three years with straight A’s in college. My downfall? Data structures this semester (I got a B).

If you weren’t a software engineer, what would you be?

My favorite part of college has been working at WMUC, the student-run freeform radio station at College Park. For the last two years, I’ve played indie, hip hop, jazz and everything in between. My current show is Thursdays at 6PM on wmuc.umd.edu.

A career in radio would be fun, maybe as a program director (which is what I do now at WMUC). However, I really enjoy software so if there was a way to combine the two, that would be ideal!

Blaise Brennan at WMUC radio station

How do you define a “good life” or a “successful life”?

I think it’s all about doing your part in relationships. I’m really close with my family and friends, since they’ve been with me through every struggle, all the good times and the bad times over the last few years. If I’m still close with most of the same people 5 years, 20 years, etc. from now, I’ll be thrilled.