When I chose Riparian Data, I had no idea what I was getting into. I showed up to my first day excited to organize filing cabinets and get print outs. I can get a mean cup of coffee or drop something off at the post office in under 2 minutes. Much to my dismay, there were no filing cabinets, and developers got their own coffee. I didn’t even realize we had a printer for the first four weeks. Instead the team expected me to write code. Not just any code, though, they wanted me to write actual code for the app. I realized they were a little confused and tried to explain to them that I was an intern. They just didn’t get it and kept trying to give me real work, as if they actually expected me to provide productive contributions.
After talking to a few friends, I realized how unlucky I was. One has to play with the company’s app all day everyday without ever seeing the code. Another does have to work on code, but, not to worry, it will never actually touch his company’s product (phew!). I need to acknowledge, though, that it could be so much worse. One friend has been tasked with creating an entire web application for his company. Not only must he code, but he must design and plan an application for actual use. Dreadful, I know.
Really, though, internships are pretty sweet. I get 2 months to check out a company and work with their full time devs on a real product. I’m expected to jump right in and learn as I go. I came in with zero iOS experience and was supposed to spend my first few days simply learning Objective C and Xcode (the IDE for Apple Apps). Over the past month, I’ve worked on everything from finding the best way of connecting the server to our database to localizing our app so it could potentially be translated into other languages.
For college kids like me, internships are like the 90-Day Money Back Guarantees of the working world. We get the chance to jump into a company and see it from the inside. It is about more than just getting to do “real world” code. It also gives us a glimpse into how companies really function and what type of company matches our personality. Some of my friends loved the idea of working at a huge company with products that play a part of our everyday life, so they went to Facebook or Google. A few others were interested in the startup culture, so they found tiny startups to work for.
With my friends working all over the place, I’ve been asking them about their experiences and teams. For this post, I decided to send out a little survey to get a little bit of a bigger picture on my friend’s internships. I received about 60 responses, mostly from Olin students. Here are the questions along with the most common answer:
- What type of internship is it? Computer Engineering/Software
- Given the chance, would you return to this company? Yes
- On a scale from 1-10, how much responsibility are you given compared to a full-time employee? 7.317
- Was this internship your first choice? Yes
- What class are you in? 2015
- How large is the company? 15-50 People or 1000+ People
I found a few interesting stats when I started to punch the numbers.
- Interns at software internships were given the most responsibilities, while interns at Mechanical Engineering internships were given the least.
- Interns at their first choice internship were given significantly more responsibility than other interns.
- As the graph shows, interns at mid-size companies are the most likely to return.
- As the two pie charts show, interns have a much higher chance of returning to their company if it was their first choice.
As much as I’d love to keep playing with the data, my team has just given me more code to write. Ugghhh this is the worst :-).
Shane is a second-time around intern with our partner company Riparian Data. This is the second installment of our Intern Diaries series, wherein each week our lovely interns give you the inside scoop on what being a programming intern at a high-tech startup is really like. Read the first post or listen to this group’s first podcast.