Interns don’t fetch for coffee anymore

As the need for developer increases, companies value their interns more than ever.

“I got an iced chai latte for Nithya, a white chocolate mocha for Max and an iced hazelnut macchiato for Tomas. Did I forget anyone?”

Oh the typical intern! Movies always portray them as they rush in the morning on their way to get coffee for their whole team; dressed in a business casual attire and struggling to hold 5 cups of coffee in one hand, they rush into the office and barely make it on time. But this representation of an intern is not very accurate anymore (at least in the tech industry). As a software developer, I knew that most internships in my field weren’t going to be like this. Working for a big tech company, I expected to build very small improvements to an already large system and although said improvements would be small, it would contribute to making the overall platform better. But even this expectation is somewhat outdated.

At least in my experience, nowadays companies take interns seriously (some even too serious). While working at a small company in Massachusetts, it only took a week for me to see my code running on the company’s iOS app and the thought of my code running more than three hundred thousand times per day was mind-blowing. But that was just the first week, keep in mind this was a short internship in the winter of 2016, but by the end of my internship I had developed one of the main features of their iOS app and worked closely with other developers to improve the performance of my feature. As I look back now, my work had a significant impact on the company, but I always thought the only reason why I had the opportunity to work so closely with other engineers was because the company was rather small(less than fifty people).

However, this doesn’t only happen in small companies in cold ol’ Boston, it happens in the Valley too. San Francisco, Menlo Park, San Jose, San Mateo, etc… If you’re an intern around here you’re definitely making somewhere from 7k to 10k per month, having lots of fun with the countless intern events and free swag, but most importantly, you’re working your ass off.

I’m currently interning at Sony PlayStation in San Francisco and once I arrived to the office on my first day, it took me four hours to make my first pull request. FOUR HOURS!!! I didn’t even have a company ID yet and I was already contributing to their codebase; at the end of that week a new build was released and my code was shipped to over seventy million users. Mind-blowingly cool, right? Not only that, but I’m currently working on a new feature for Play Station users, and although I can’t say what it is, trust me it’s very cool and useful.

Nowadays, interns in tech companies are treated like employees. They’re given a normal work-email, attend all the company’s social events, and get paid quite well. And it makes sense; companies put so much effort in recruiting the best young talent they can find, and once they do, they put us to the test by giving us the workload of a full-time employee and see if we’re worthy of an actual job offer. As interns we get the chance to build amazing tools that truly make a difference in the products we use on a daily basis. A friend of mine, an intern at Instagram, was the person that implemented the feature that allows users to add multiple pictures to an Instagram post, another friend of mine is the guy that made Gifs possible on the Facebook Messenger app for iOS, and another friend of mine is the girl that implemented that cool pull-to-refresh animation on snapchat.

Today, that typical scene that movies depict of an intern rushing to the office in the morning while holding five cups of coffee doesn’t apply. Interns don’t fetch for coffee anymore, that’s why we have an espresso machine in the kitchen.

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