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Making hot drinks and other internship cliches

02 July 2015

Written by 

Roman Goj

Are you interested in doing an internship as a developer? Wondering why you might want to do one, how to find one, and how to make the best of it? Here are a few thoughts I collected after my internship at Talis.

Why do an internship?

Cliche #1: Internships are all about preparing hot drinks and doing other menial tasks

False! In my internship, I worked on an interesting self-contained internal project that was chosen by the team to fit my existing skill set, allowing me to utilise bits and pieces of what I felt comfortable with, while learning technology that was almost completely new to me. When I started, I realised that a lot of people at Talis really cared about the project and were really excited to see me working on it.

In other words, doing an internship (at Talis, at least), you’ll be working on something meaningful, providing value, getting to see people engaging with your work. Oh, and you’ll learn a lot too, of course.

Cliche #2: Internships are only for youngsters, or students, or recent graduates

False! If you’re considering a career change, but can’t make your mind up, why not try an internship? What better way to find work you will enjoy doing than simply giving it a go? It certainly worked out well for me, I enjoyed my internship at Talis and now I’m working here as a developer.

How to find an internship?

Cliche #3: Networking is a great way to find an internship/work

True. Much to my dismay early on. I’m certainly not amongst the most sociable people in the world, so going out and networking to find interesting work wasn’t something that came naturally to me.

Fortunately a lot of developers (and prospective developers) seem to be in a similar position and so the technology meetup scene is a great place to be for geeks of all sorts. In Birmingham, meetups like Open Code, BrumJS, or HydraHack are a good place to start. It’s common to find developers from Talis at one of these too.

Can you find an internship without networking? I’m sure you can (if you’re reading this, you’re halfway there, just head on to our careers site now!). Meetups, though, are a great opportunity to get to know the company of your choice before you even apply. For me it was great coming in for a NoSQL meetup organised at Talis and hearing about all of the cool things being worked on here. The next time I met someone from Talis at a meetup, I already knew I wanted to do an internship here and things went smoothly from there.

How to have a great internship

Cliche #4: “What I wish I knew before I started…”

…or, rather, what I knew before I started, but, even so, had to remind myself of every day:

  • An internship is all about learning. Stuck? Struggling? Brain freeze? Great, you’ll (likely) come out wiser on the other side. You’re dealing with new technologies, new skills, new tools, so you will get stuck…

  • …and when you do get stuck – ask questions. If this doesn’t come naturally, great, that’s just another skill to learn – and I doubt there’s a better place to do so than with the friendly team at Talis!

  • Don’t forget to have fun, join in the office banter, take a tea or coffee break, enjoy your internship.

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