How to have a successful internship in software development

Internships in software development are good for both the company and the interns. As a developer, internship projects teach you how to build a successful software product. For a company, interns bring in the diversity and fresh perspectives that are required to take the product to the next level.

But what makes an internship in software development successful? Here are 7 strong signs that tell you whether the 2-6 months you spent during your internship were worthwhile.

1) If you improved your technical skills

At college, you are exposed to various technical concepts. An internship gives hands-on exposure to technical concepts that you learned at school. You can code and build software, from scratch. If you feel your internship has helped improve your technical skills, consider it a job well done.

2) If you learned how to build a product  

The best part about interning in a software development team is the opportunity to learn how to build a successful software product. As part of the product team, you interact with stakeholders from different teams and levels of management. You gain a better understanding of the end-user, the business objectives, and the role of software in attaining those goals. Rather than working in isolation, you are part of a team with people from various domains with different levels of experience. This exposure teaches you to manage time and build software per the expectation of stakeholders. If at the end of your internship, you have learned how to build a product, consider it a job well done.

3) If you’ve enhanced your soft skills

Internships are not only about enhancing technical skills, but also about acquiring interpersonal skills.  As an intern, you can make friends and network with new people at work. The ability to work in team with different people is crucial for a successful career in software development. Interning in a software development team also makes you better at presenting ideas clearly. If your internship has made you a better communicator, consider it a job well done.

4) If you've learned something new

Usually, interns are taken based on the merit of what they can do. Interns are tested for their technical skills or are taken based the merit of their past work. Apart from the project they are assigned to, interns also get exposure to a lot of business operations. This adds a lot of value to one’s professional profile. 

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

5) 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 was 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. Not every contribution can be as significant, but the point is that if your  if you know that you've built something of value and can see how it fits in the bigger scheme of things, it's a job well done.

6) If you figured out what you don't want to do

In college, you often want to do something, but you have no idea what or how. An internship is the best way to find out if your dream job is everything that you thought it would be. Often, it is not going to be what you think it is and that's perfectly alright. It will be one less thing on your list 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 out what you love to do. If you come across the former, consider your internship a job well done.

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

*Sniff*

Congratulations on the full-time offer! Job well done.

Additional tip to rock your internship

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

Try not to do that. If you didn't, it's already a job well done.

Internship at HackerEarth

At HackerEarth, we have a strong support system for interns. We have an open and collaborative work culture. Our full-time software engineers and product managers are always available to help and mentor new interns. View current internship opportunities here: https://www.hackerearth.com/companies/hackerearth/jobs/

About the Author

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