Experiential Learning Through a Software Engineering Internship at Yext; Apple Security and its Impact at a Social Level

Nguyen, Anh-Thu, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Morrison, Briana, EN-Comp Science Dept, University of Virginia
Earle, Joshua, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia

This portfolio consists of a technical report and an STS research paper that are loosely related. The technical report depicts my internship experience as a third-year computer science major. The STS research paper explores Apple’s security and addresses its impact at a social level.
During the summer of 2022, I interned at a Yext for ten weeks as a software engineer seeking valuable hands-on experiences. My internship experiences not only involved personal, technical skills but also team work skill development. I worked in a software engineering team that used the agile development methodology to work on tickets reporting bugs or suggesting improvement on services maintained by our team. Three major skills I learned and sharpened during my internship were debugging, utilizing GitHub, using Gerrit for Code Reviews, and coding in unfamiliar programming languages. I worked on approximately 15 tickets, most of them successfully addressing the problem and meeting expectations. However, the last ticket was incomplete because my solutions did not function as expected, and I was not able to fix them before my internship ended. Future work needed for that ticket involves getting clearer requirement specifications from the ticket reporter and fixing the problems.
In the age of technology, people are putting themselves at risk of exposing sensitive data. Apple, as one of the most popular brands for smartphones, has a great impact on technology users nowadays. The STS paper explores Apple’s privacy policy and the relationships between government powers, Apple’s decision-makers, Apple users, the Apple product market, and the changes made by Apple to its security policies. The methods and STS framework I used to execute my research are literature review, Actor Network Theory, and case study. I first offer an app privacy summary for Apps on App Store with regard to Apps’ data types, data use purposes, and privacy label. I then applied Actor Network Theory to depict the actors in Apple’s network and their relationships using literature review and case study to provide evidence. My analysis can serve as a resource for readers to understand Apple’s privacy and intention as well as how their policy is affected by other parties. In conclusion, the paper serves to inform technology users in general and Apple users in specific about the risk they are undertaking while using Apple products and how to minimize it.
Overall, this portfolio highlights the impact of technology nowadays. The technical report describes my software engineering internship that allowed me to gain technical computer science skills while the STS research paper demonstrates Apple’s privacy policies and its impact at a social level.

BS (Bachelor of Science)

School of Engineering and Applied Science
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
Technical Advisor: Briana Morrison
STS Advisor: Joshua Earle

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