Hey! Recently, I, in collaboration with Irina Reznyakova from Yandex, conducted several experimental workshops “IT Career Mind Map” for students CS center, as well as Joint venture and MAAD at St. Petersburg State University. He had a long background, rooted in the experience of organizing internships, the expertise of colleagues from JetBrains & Yandex, as well as intertwining with the projects that I am currently doing in JetBrains Learning Research Lab and PM school in the CS center. There is a feeling that the experiment was a success, and therefore I would like to share some thoughts to help those who are on the verge of getting their first experience in the profession. Since there are many thoughts, there will be several posts, and the first one is about basic settings.
Where to begin?
C – self-knowledge. If this is your first internship, start by determining which one is closest to you. If at this stage you feel confused, look around: What internship programs does your institution offer? Do not know? Ask your curators or search for information at Job Fairs. Didn’t find anything interesting in your university – see what is happening in others, or google the ratings of IT employers in your city. Of these, you can single out the key companies and look to see if they have internship programs. Read on! Read on and watch what resonates with you.
If you already have internship or even work experience, try to comprehend it and answer the question if you want to return to the same company. “Yes, it was great!” – come back. This will increase your chances of getting a job offer later. Not sure if this is the case? – feel free to try something new in order to better understand what is really interesting for you and brings joy. The more different internships you take, the more you learn about yourself and the world around you.
Once you understand which options are right for you here and now, prioritize. Only thoughtful, targeted preparation for a specific internship increases the chances of successfully passing the selection. Do you have the resources to participate in several contests, and which one is more important?
Sometimes it so happens that prioritization requires you to start, on the contrary, with targeted preparation. Search and load into your head all the information available about companies, the features of the products they develop, their cultures and team processes. This is useful and key in preparing for screening and interviews anyway, but what you learn can influence your priorities as well. They can change with each new piece of information, and that’s good. It is important that you will better and better orient yourself in what is happening, and more and more clearly feel what suits you best.
Internship kits are a great way to get to know the real state of affairs: the real needs of the company and the real requirements of the candidates. Because it is extremely rare that there are clear criteria for selection, it is always weighing a large number of different factors when making decisions. Therefore, go to interviews, meet people and find out as much as possible about their work, because every situation is unique. Even if you don’t get an internship, you will have the opportunity to receive constructive feedback that will help you focus on where to better channel your energy in your studies. After all, it is impossible to learn everything at once, and therefore it is better to spend time on a promising area of knowledge for you.
In addition, by passing qualifying tests, you gain experience that makes such a situation more familiar and familiar to you, and therefore less exciting and stressful. Each experiment, in any case, gives you new factual information, which means it opens up new opportunities for development.
Adapt to the situation
When writing a resume or filling out an internship application, think about what information about you is really important to of this project, of this product in this companies. This will reflect your interest in the internship, which is very valuable for any employer. Pay special attention to sharing your interests …
… just be honest!
This is really important, and it is equally important for the company and for you. After all, the code for success is where you can really solve the problems facing the team, and the team can give you a sense of commitment and involvement in a cool business. This means that the work should be truly exciting and arouse the desire to invest and develop.
SEO self optimization
Before filling out an internship application, read how the company writes: job descriptions, product press releases, blogs, and key-speaker interviews. Download this vocabulary to yourself. For efficiency, you can collect phrases from the company’s articles into a list and then combine them in your own way, formulating a description of your experience and interests. Honestly! This will bring you much closer to being able to speak the same language with industry professionals. This is important both for mutual understanding and for your development.
And so as not to worry before interviews – rehearse! Speak aloud about yourself, your interests and experiences, formulate and ask counter questions that will help you better understand what and how to do during the internship. Alone in front of the mirror, looking into my eyes (I’m not kidding!) – once. Alone with myself in Zoom, turning on the recording, and then, looking at myself from the side, and again with one of my friends – two. Offline with someone who can give you useful feedback and kindly support – three. The main thing is to speak! Speak your thoughts out loud as much as possible – in reality, they sound completely different from the way we hear them in our head. And the better you get to talk at home, the easier it will be to overcome the excitement in reality.
But in general, it’s okay to worry. And those who interview you are also worried and know that you are worried. Because everyone is equally concerned about what happens. Because it is important for everyone that you do a good job of the review and come to the internship to do a great project together. Therefore, it is important to shift your focus away from worrying about the impression you are making and into thinking about the project, product, task, or question you are being asked. To do this, you should have as much information in your head as possible about everything related to this internship, the company and the technology. But how?
We need a plan!
Preparing for internships in a targeted manner takes both time and the resources of your brain. For it to work efficiently, it is important to distribute the load evenly. Open your calendar and enter in it all the deadlines for programs that are interesting to you, not forgetting about lectures, tests and exams (if you are studying) and other important things. Look at where the layers have formed and think about how these periods can be relieved and what can be done in advance. Plan specific days and hours to prepare for the competition as if it were sports training. And… (drum roll)… just do it!
Our reality is a complex open system in motion. Changes in it are now taking place at cosmic speeds. Success depends on how quickly you adapt to changing conditions. And for this it is important to be able to quickly understand what is happening here and now. Therefore, be attentive to yourself and to the world around you, go to each experiment as a search for treasures – to act with curiosity and passion without delay and without looking back at self-doubt. Learn new things and you will succeed. The main thing is not to stop.
And yet, a few recipes …
… waiting for you in the next episodes;)
Let’s talk about how to prepare for interviews, how to behave during interviews, and what to do when this finally ends (spoiler alert – not really). Don’t switch!