By Samyak Datta:
Having completed three internships so far during my undergrad years and having received a pre-placement offer from the most recent company I interned with, I have attempted to jot down some points which are a result of the documentation of my experiences.
1. Stay in the feedback loop: It is absolutely critical to take feedback from your manager/mentor on a regular basis. An ideal frequency would be once a week, but it’s important that you do sit for this discussion. If your manager doesn’t schedule 1-on-1 meetings for this purpose, be proactive and take the initiative yourself. You can discuss your progress so far, pitfalls that you encountered and how you decided to overcome them. You should specifically ask them about their expectations of you and whether they are satisfied with the overall pace of your work and the general direction that the project is headed. The discussion should be a trade-off between an in-depth analysis about your project and an abstract-level design overview of the same.
2. Don’t remain stuck on any problem for too long: It is very easy to get sucked into a vortex of job sites in such situations, No doubt, you would be able to solve the issue on your own if you are given sufficient time and the feeling of accomplishment thereafter will give you mental orgasms. As part of a team during your internship, you would be working on technologies that your team-mates have been using for quite some time. It is probable that they would have faced the same or similar issues and must have figured out a way to deal with the same. At times, they may also guide you to the proper internal channels to get your query addressed in the most efficient manner.
3. Work well within the deadlines: This may not be true for all types of internships, but it certainly holds for software engineering roles. The tasks (the smaller, broken-down ones, not the entire project itself) that you are assigned are generally not very difficult or time-consuming. The deadlines that they set are also quite lenient. You should face no issues in completing the designated work in the stipulated time. In a utopian scenario, you should be able to put in extra work too! It is much safer to “Do more, report less” than the other way round.
4. Interact with people in your team: Know where they come from, understand their backgrounds. You would be spending a major chunk of your intern-time working with them. Technical astuteness aside, your social skills play an important role in leveraging your candidature for a pre-placement offer. After all, irrespective of the outcome, an internship is about making contacts in the industry or academia.
Having said all that, it is imperative that you don’t get caught up in all the competitiveness surrounding pre-placement offers and lose out on the real motive of your internship – augmenting your knowledge and assimilating skills.
Hope this helps and all the best for your internship!
This article has also been published on Quora.