The Internship – The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
I met Mr. James Brand at my Project Open Day at university, he came up to my stand and said he had specifically marked out projects he wanted to see before the day was over and he found mine “interesting”. During this chat was the first time I had heard about the annual internship where he encouraged me to apply.
At this point, all I could think about was how a fragment of my code had broken that morning and if he’ll think I’m unprofessional because I had green hair at that time, it was quite hard to miss.
I applied for the internship at Innovative Creations a month after and after several episodes of his response emails getting lost in my mailbox, I got called in for an interview eventually. I wouldn’t say I’m shy on a normal day but when you have conversations with people who have the ability to impact your life depending on your performance and presentation you would force yourself to fit in that window.
Against all odds, I got the call that I had gotten the internship and nothing else mattered at that point in time except how happy I was. I didn’t think about the consequences of working all summer in nine to five environment or waking you by 7 every day just so I could impress myself by being there before everyone else or how I was only an intern and in 10 weeks this feeling would be gone.
My experience as an intern is quite different to what I had imagined. This was my first job that really mattered and I was scared I wouldn’t know enough comparing myself to the experts in the room, they knew so much it felt like they were wizards sometimes. The team was very welcoming and by the second week, I had my employee picture on the company’s website.
I feel like it was really easy to connect with them because it was a team of 3 people excluding me, compared to the larger groups I had at university.
Halfway into the 10-week internship I had already attended a client meeting, been introduced to PubNub, Asp.Net MVC, C3 (et cetera), and by the end of my internship, I was developing apps with entity framework, comfortable using Azure technologies and storing real-time data in Redis cache. Look at me.
Of course, there was no hiding place, because If I had a pound for every time I got asked “How’s it going?” while I was working on a project, I probably won’t have to work for the rest of my life.
Every time I made a silly mistake on a project and felt embarrassed about it, I would post sticky notes on my broken TV saying “James and Amar are here to help you” to make me feel better because that was the truth. If I’m being honest I couldn’t think of a better way to have spent my summer, starting my masters this October my course is a reflection of the technologies I used at IC from Server-side frameworks to cloud computing to Web services and everything in between.
Personally, I have always been a theoretical learner, I was always better at exams than coursework which explained why I did well at university. This internship was about realizing my weak areas and working on them and leaving as a better developer 10 weeks after.
Of course, there were times I didn’t get all the attention I wanted because of tight client deadlines but they gave me what I needed. James became my mentor, he didn’t spoon feed me and at the same time, he didn’t leave me to hang. I learned something every day and knowing they could do what I spent 8 hours doing in 7 minutes made me even more hungry.
They are going to push you to learn as much as you can assimilate is in as little time it would take. What I’m taking from this experience besides being a better programmer is not being afraid to ask questions when you’re in doubt.
When we weren’t working there was room for quality office banter, David, casual company lunches, the occasional smoke breaks and pugs for stress relief and epic Friday post-work drinks. I could tell I had a positive effect on them the way they had on me even though not in the same areas.
The ugly parts, You will become a dedicated smoker (if you lack self-control).
It’s not every day you get to work with people who encourage your differences and motivate you to want to push more and learn more, that’s what made it a remarkable experience – the team.
I’m just glad I get to work with them again.