This piece is for all of you interns, First off: congratulations You probably worked very hard to get where you are.
This piece is for all of you SWE interns. First off: congratulations! You probably worked very hard to get where you are. However, like getting into college, your offer letter is just the beginning. Now you need to execute a successful internship. Below, I have compiled some thoughts on how to succeed based on my previous internships at Goldman Sachs and Yelp.. Here’s some low-hanging fruit for you. Don’t miss stand-ups or meetings, don’t ask questions that are easily looked up, and put in an honest effort in delivering on your estimates!
Set expectations and follow through.
You show up to your internship. Over time, you might unconsciously form bad habits. Maybe you start missing a few standups. Maybe you take a long coffee break with your intern friends in the afternoon. Maybe you’ve become insensitive to others at meetings. Your project seems to have no direction, and you don’t know what to do. Your team notices, but no one says anything or commands you to change, so you don’t. At the end of the internship, your mentor drops the bombshell that you will not be getting a return offer. Don’t let this happen to you! Be proactive and continuously seek feedback on your performance. Depending on your company’s structure, maximize your one-on-one time with your manager/mentor. Be explicit with the people that have a say in your status, and tell them that your goal is to get a return offer. Then work with them to develop professionally at a pace that gets you there. Specifically, this means at each progress meeting, discuss your growth and areas of improvement, and follow through on your action items from the previous meeting. You remember these items by writing down what was discussed that meeting. As you progress through your internship, your action items will grow with you. For example, early on my mentor pointed out I was mumbling during standup. Later on, as I grew as a developer, my mentor challenged me to take more responsibility by doing code reviews for my teammates. Don’t get caught off guard at the end because you didn’t know you were deficient in an area throughout the entire internship.