Get the most from your Internship

Internship opportunities across industries are gaining a lot of importance these days. Students and employers both have started to realize the criticality of an internship as an essential work experience and the first step towards a great career. There is no doubt about the value of internship in the IT industry, as it provides the practical experience needed along with theoretical knowledge. You can’t deny that when the system works, that is, when you find a bright intern or get a chance early in your career to intern under an inspiring leader, it’s a win-win for everyone. It infuses fresh blood and new ideas in the workplace builds the profile of the mentor and ground a fresher in the basics of business which no degree can provide.  Have seen interns in my current organization were marked by unbelieve alibis for late swipe-ins, extended lunch breaks and of course constant interruptions from phone calls. The work culture here is work hard, play hard environment, and sometimes it takes a while to understand this culture and fit in nicely with the culture. If you want the get the best out of these interns then:

Focus on good Intern Experience

Gone are the days, when interns were looked upon as people you hire to fetch coffee and printouts  Internships are now like a precursor to a full-time position at the company. It’s quite natural to wonder, whether it might be easy to do tasks yourself, or hire, train and manage an intern who lacks experience.  But, there are several benefits to bringing them onboard. The top ones are, you get to know how younger generations read future clients or partnerships, how do they perceive the brand. It also creates brand advocates which is valuable for every business to grow.

You will be able to judge their skills and work ethics and you have an option to hire them as a permanent employee too. To make all this happen the employer also has to make sure there is a positive working environment. My current organization has a robust training program for interns which carves out the potential of the candidate, and you can figure out what you are good at and where you might be lacking.

Training wheels

Employers who spend time getting the interns trained often struggle managing them rather than getting work out of them. There is no doubt that interns can bring a lot to the table, you need to manage them well. The seniors need to take these interns under their protective wing and teach them and treat them well so that they can be motivated to make a contribution. Well-mentored interns are also likely to be the ones who sit in on meetings and stay on top of company decisions as they are being made.

Search for the right Project

Make a list of projects that you need help with. You might not be able to find someone with all the skills you are looking for, but you won’t lose anything by narrowing down your search with the problems you want these interns to solve.

Guide them

Once you finalize the list of projects or problems that you want them to work on, be very specific about what they need to deliver. Guiding them to deal with ever-changing tech revolutions will be beneficial in the long run. In Coviam, the internship is not just about training the next gen of tech talent but also about extending its capabilities. Tremendous effort goes into preparing the modules or topics to be covered during the training program, assigning them 3-4 weeks of a project and basis the project performance these interns are aligned to teams to complete their internship.

Assessing the work

It’s important to take out time to review their work regularly and giving them feedback. Check in and tell them how they are doing to keep their morale up. Engaging them in the products and making them part of the culture will help them being oriented. Spending time with them to understand where they need help is crucial for their success and company’s success too.

Brainstorm

Have the interns brainstorm on the challenge that requires new eyes on. Pay heed to their perspective for market insights. They may help unearth a problem you didn’t know existed. We can ask them directly: what kinds of problem get you excited to work hard? What is his/ her favourite hackathon project? What we really want to know is if this person can code and solve problems.

Think ahead

Recognize them for their good work. Interns are there to learn and they need a bit more help than others to start producing results as you expect them to. Interns want to know how they are creating value for the company, so employers need to be mindful of the experience they provide to these interns. 

Interns are more up-to-date with market trends, and hence getting them on board can help companies gain a fresh perspective.

What’s in store for Interns during this period…

Courtesy: Google Images (www.google.com)

Amalgamation of new skills

A college course provides you with the theory, however, it is an internship that elevates this knowledge and provides you with an opportunity to learn new skills. These new skills are an amalgamation of both hard and soft skills. With an internship, you get the opportunity to learn hard skills like working on new software or technical processes. Successful interns are those who utilize this time to understand their own potential and get the best out it.

Ask Questions and seek help

It’s better to ask than assume. If you want things to be done right which requires clarity and complete understanding, ask questions. As you realize you are not performing as per standards, make up for the lack of the talent and work harder than the most. If you struggle to ramp up to the codebase, seek help from your peers & mentors. Talk to your peers often to know what’s happening in the company apart from your team. The kind of work you do as an intern will set you apart from other candidates, at least making sure that you get the offer to join as a permanent employee.

Being Confident and Professional

The transition from a college life to working in a professional environment can get tedious if you don’t pay attention. When you work in an office, you are expected to behave responsibly with ownership which will serve you well in your career.  You also get to improve your soft skills by learning the art of better communication and how to conduct yourself in a workspace. A good internship will allow you to get feedback from the seniors and you can use this feedback to improve yourself. All these factors combined together will build your confidence which no college course can!


Also published on Medium.

Share