Nick Gonzalez ’22

Cycle Technology, Inc., Miami, FL

This summer I had the privilege to intern at Cycle Technology as a software development intern. Cycle is a sustainability-focused start-up founded by a team of students from the University of Miami who focus primarily in alternative recycling utilizing reverse-vending machines (RVMs)—machines in which you deposit recyclables and are rewarded with points via an app. These RVMs are meant to be a solution to the current recycling system, in which as many as 9 out of 10 bottles deposited in recycling bins won’t be recycled due to the inefficiencies of the modern single-stream recycling process. Points earned through the Cycle app can be donated directly to a number of charities, or redeemed for rewards such as gift cards. Cycle already has a number of RVMs stationed around the University of Miami campus, and is in the process of expanding their reach to other college campuses around the country.

As a software developer intern, my primary project was building a Machine Manager app designed to be used by the operators of Cycle RVMs to monitor the status of each machine in their network and receive notifications when something happens to the machine that demands their attention. The app was initially designed for iOS mobile devices only, but was later expanded to encompass a web app as well. Though I have built iOS and web apps before, I have not worked on a project of this scale. I was given a substantial amount of creative freedom in building the app as the project’s head developer, and was responsible for directing the design of the app as well as the implementation. I was able to utilize both new technologies and ones I was already familiar with, and had the opportunity to delve deeper into aspects of development I was not as familiar with, such as UI/UX design and implementation testing.

While I initially thought a remote internship would be less than ideal, I soon came to realize that the flexibility of working from home is something that works well for my particular workflow. Independent work was supplemented with Zoom check-ins with the rest of the technology team, and sometimes the CEO. These meetings gave enough structure to my day, but not so much that I felt restricted. I found this flexibility to be helpful for my overall productivity, and also led me directly to develop better time-management skills in an online setting, which is something I will undoubtedly utilize in the coming semester with virtual instruction, as well as in future work I might do remotely.

My time with Cycle proved to be an excellent introduction into industry-level software engineering, as well as the work-from-home workflow. The skills I developed this summer, both technical and personal, will surely come into practice in future development jobs or projects I undertake in my career. I am incredibly thankful to the Class of 1966 for sponsoring this internship, as well as the ’68 Center for Career Exploration for giving these opportunities to so many students like me.