How to have a successful internship?

A few weeks back, we saw quite a few interns leave us as their respective internships had come to an end. Between the 7-8 interns, they have left quite a bit of their signatures on HackerEarth's journey, through the important contributions that they've made. From what I've seen, I think it would be fair to say that they've had a successful stint here at HackerEarth and we hope they come back to us after college.

But what makes a successful internship? Well, here are 5 key points that are strong signs that that 2-6 months that you spent during your internship were worthwhile.

1) When you've built something of lasting impact 

In a recent tech event, Max Levchin, one of the founders of PayPal, shared a story of an intern who saved the company from going bust. It was the early 2000s and credit card fraud were hurting PayPal big time. The intern's job was to build an anti-theft system called IGOR that eventually saved the company. The intern died soon after due to a diabetes complication, and Levchin said PayPal may not exist today without him.

Your contribution does not need to be as big as this, but if you know what you've built and how it fits in the bigger scheme of things, it's a job well done.

2) If you've gone back learning something new 

Usually, interns are taken on the merit of what they can do. At HackerEarth, developer interns are tested for their skills or are taken on the merit of their past work, and they usually know what they'll be doing in the time they spend with us. But given that we're startup, a lot of the company's other operations are also open for a developer to see, and this adds a lot of value to them. Renowned journalist Kara Swisher metaphorically says, " go out and have fun and never turn down an opportunity to have sex or go on television.”

At the end of your internship, if you get the "bigger picture", consider it a job well done.

3) If you figure out what you don't want to do

In college, you often want to do something, but you have no idea about it. An internship is the best way to find out if your dream job is everything that you thought it to be. Many at time, it is not going to be what you think it is and that's perfectly alright. It will be one less thing to consider when you're trying to figure out what you want to do with your life. You might be really good at what you do too, but if you're not enjoying it, it's not worth pursuing all your life.

Finding out what you don't want to do is just as important as finding what you love to do. If you come across the former, consider your internship a job well done.

4) If money didn't matter to you 

The second you make your internship decision on the money that you'll be getting, 99% of the time, you would have made a compromise. There would be that job, which sounded like something right down your alley, but you didn't take it, because there was this other, probably more boring job, which paid more.

Don't do that. Ever. If you didn't, it's already a job well done.

5) If at the end of the internship, you didn't want to leave, and the company also didn't want you to go. 

Onions. *sniff*

Job well done.

About the Author

Raghu Mohan
Raghu is an engineering grad handles Marketing at HackerEarth. Prior to this, he was an editor at When he’s not working, you can find him at the nearest music shop having a jam session.