From intern to employee

Michael Carlsen

"I’ve learned that it’s perfectly fine to find out along the way how to solve the ideas that I get."

  • About Michael

    Position: Software Engineer, MAKEEN Energy Headquarters, Randers
    Education: IKT Engineer, Aarhus Ingeniørhøjskole
    Intern: 2007
    Employee: 2009

How did you end up as an intern at MAKEEN Energy? What did you do before?

It’s a funny story – or perhaps a quite random story. Back when I was studying software engineering, we got a list of companies looking for interns. We had to choose because we had to do an internship. I had no clue who MAKEEN Energy was, but when reading about the company on that list, I thought it sounded interesting. Like somewhere where I could get responsibility and my voice heard. I applied, and I was asked to come for an interview. There I got a great impression of the company and I immediately knew that I wanted to work here.

What was your first experience with MAKEEN Energy like?

Very accommodating! Back in 2007 there were only a few colleagues, sitting in a small room. I had a supervisor that helped me, he was super nice. I got tasks that were fitting to my skills – I remember that I got one specific task that I was able to solve in 4,5 months, so that was the main part of my internship. After that I had another 1,5 months left, and here I worked on an infrared leak detector – back then it was a prototype – but now it is used in every filling station that we sell around the world!

Describe your journey to where you are now

My internship was on my 5th semester. I had one year back in school, and I made a deal with my boss at MAKEEN to get a laptop to work on as a kind of consultant on the side while studying during my 6th semester. In my 7th semester I made my bachelor’s thesis in collaboration with MAKEEN Energy. The thesis was a software simulation of our hardware controller.

A week before I graduated, I was hired full-time. It was in the beginning of 2009. I was hired on a 3-month contract because of the global financial crisis, which also affected MAKEEN Energy. The company actually had a complete hiring freeze at the time and was not hiring permanently, so I ended up having my short 3-month contract extended four times – and then we got a big order from Saudi Arabia and I was hired permanently.

Since then I’ve been working on a lot of different tasks, and right now I’m working on collecting one global product portfolio. We’re a merger of many companies, and our cloud-solutions need to merge as well - so for example I’m at work on our MAKEEN IOT gateway cloud solution.

What have you learned in your time with MAKEEN Energy so far?

I’ve been very happy to be here. There’s of course been a few bad periods, like there is anywhere, but this is a really good company. I’ve had a lot of courses and I’ve had a big opportunity for lifelong learning. I am learning new skills, there are so many different tasks here that I can always learn new things and jump from task to task.

I think that having adaptability – to be able to go from one task to another – is what makes it a great fit for me to be here. Also, being able to generate ideas, that’s something that makes me fit here. And I’ve learned that it’s perfectly fine to find out along the way how to solve the ideas that I get.

I’ve also learned to manage my time better. I used to get stressed easily – but I’ve been stabilized here, with great mentors, who taught me to take it easy and thereby work better.

What is the best thing about your job – and the most challenging?

Work under responsibility is great. I’m my own boss, I have my tasks, and I feel respected in having the tasks that I have and that I’m able to solve them how I want to. I can design my days how I want to. And I treasure that flexibility a lot. There is a frame to work within, but I do it how I want to. So while I’m part of a global company, most of the time I actually feel like I’m self-employed.

The most challenging is an effect of the different branches, etc – that we’re a global company. There can at times be a lot of miscommunication and misunderstanding. If I haven’t been involved in something and suddenly get the task, it might feel like I have to start from scratch. But this is something that I’ve learned to navigate around. And I guess it’s pretty normal in a company with so many people, cultures and ways of working.

What would you say to someone considering applying for an internship with MAKEEN Energy?

I had an intern last semester and he made software that is going to be used in all filling stations. He has made the prototype on something that we will use in all of our filling stations!

So my advice would be: Apply at “smaller” companies like MAKEEN Energy – and go for what you really feel like working with, follow your interests. Smaller companies might work with the same nerdy stuff than the larger ones, so you might be able to work with exactly the same stuff you’re dreaming of working with in a big company by joining a smaller one. Plus, you have a much bigger chance of actually landing the job than at large companies!

As an intern here you get a mentor and real tasks. It’s the philosophy of the company that our interns are the future workforce. They should be part of the company and feel like they have been hired by the company and are working here. As an intern you get to make decisions too and feel the same frame to work within as the rest of us.