I'm currently working as an intern at a very large, non-software development company. The position I applied for wasn't specifically a development position, but the team that hired me wanted a CS major to help try to develop some internal projects for them. I've been here for four weeks and the initial bewilderment is starting to wear off. However, I'm the only CS major in the entire office -- no one on my team, in the building, or even in the neighboring locations has any background in software development. The best I've got is a database manager, and their department is too busy to support me with my projects. My teammates are helping me learn how they do their jobs (which is important for me to do my job), but there's no one to help my do my job i.e. development.
The projects they've given me are larger in scope than anything I've done in school. That, combined with the fact that I'm working alone, trying to develop applications from scratch with no form of guidance or even clearly defined goals, has me very worried about my ability to be successful. I barely know where I should be begin, and now I have probably less than two months remaining.
I feel like I should be learning the software development process, but right now it's like I'm feeling my way through the dark. This is especially troubling for me since I'm not very confident with my development skills in the first place. I've been researching and teaching myself, but I'm only getting bits and pieces. They have high expectations from me, but I'm unsure of my ability to deliver. Obviously, I need to sit down and talk with my managers about the position I'm in and I intend to do that as soon as possible (they're often travelling and out of the office).
How should I deal with this? This internship will be over before I know it, and I don't want to leave with nothing to show for my time here. They don't want that either, and they're always available to help me but without knowledge of programming there's only so much they can do. I'm afraid to tell them that I'm incapable of producing what they want. How should I relate this to them? I see the engineering interns getting help from other engineers, learning how to do their jobs, and I feel like I'm just sitting here biding my time. Any advice on how to rectify my situation would be greatly appreciated.
I appreciate all the helpful feedback from everyone, it's helped put my mind at ease. The first thing I did was meet with my managers and supervisors. We discussed what was expected from my time here. They understand that I don't have that much time as an intern, and this helped put a scope on the type of framework we want to accomplish, which will allow future interns or employees to hopefully build off of what I leave. I also addressed my concerns regarding my capabilities with the allotted time, which they understood and expected.
I received a call from the database administrator at another location - my manager talked with his supervisor and they're going to support my project, which will now give me a resource to use so I'm not sitting around with no idea what I'm doing. That's only one half though. Out of all the possible projects, we narrowed it down to the two most important to work on. As for my other project, as someone mentioned I'm essentially the lead software architect which is a unique situation for an intern. If things go at least semi-successfully, I think I'll have gained a good deal of knowledge and experience that can help me with future employers. For now, I think I have some solid footing to start researching and developing my projects. Thanks again for the responses from everyone!