A Year in the Life of a Software Engineering Intern

Ian Quain
· 5 min read

My name is Ian Quain, I was an intern with Liberty IT from January to August 2019. It was a great experience and I can honestly say that I learned so much both from a personal and professional point of view. Below is my experience over the course of the year, I hope you enjoy it.

Day 1: You can’t help but feel super nervous as you arrive to the office, almost thirty minutes early because you’ve got to make a good impression! You’re unsure if you are over-dressed or under-dressed in your sweater and jeans, especially as you see some people in full suits and others wearing t-shirts. You’ll later not worry about this and come to work without styling your hair and wearing your comfiest t-shirts, but you don’t know that yet! You meet the other new starts before beginning your orientation and the powerpoint laden meetings that are your introduction to the business. The nerves have died down a bit and you start to feel really cool as you look out of the office window at the mountains in the background.

Day 7: By this time you’ve finished the meetings with the other departments. You’ve been given your company laptop and you are well on your way through what seems to be an endless amount of compliance quizzes and tutorials. Don’t you just love GDPR? You’ve met your team and they all seem way smarter than you. This is your first taste of imposter syndrome, you’ll later learn that you have strengths in areas that they may not and it’ll change the way you think. You’re also still making sure that you come to the office dressed in your best sweaters and trousers. Gotta make a good sixteenth impression after all!

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Day 30: At this stage you’ve definitely settled in and gotten comfortable with the idea of what areas you will need to up-skill in so you can contribute to the work. You’ve more than likely run into PC issues but that’s a rite of passage so it’s fine. You’re now probably doing some Udemy or Pluralsight courses as quickly as your little undergrad fingers can type in an effort to show how good you are. Your team are happy with your progress and your relationship with the other new starts has gotten to that point where the banter has started in your separate slack chat.

Day 90: You arrive to work in that t-shirt you really like that has Groot (the character from Guardians of the Galaxy) on it. You’ve optimised your commute to a point where you’re happy with the amount of sleep you get and the time you arrive in the office. At this stage you’ve also more than likely discovered that they do breakfast in the work café; no more need to make food at home in the mornings means fifteen minutes of extra sleep! You’re also under the impression at this point that you’ve mastered Angular. You’ve imported an external library and used it to display a message. You’re pretty much ready to become an architect in your mind.

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Day 180: You’re halfway through your internship, congratulations. You had enough holidays to cover you for a year but you’ve only two days left, nicely done! You may have moved team at this point. You thought it best not to brag that you are probably more knowledgeable in Angular than the team that designed the language as it might not give the best impression. You’re in that phase again where you fall back on your new hire support group for lunch because you don’t know the new team yet. You’re also back to doing more tutorials because this team are working on something completely new, but that’s okay.

Day 270: The end of your internship is in sight but it feels like you’ve only just started to be productive. Don’t worry, you’re still not being productive, it just feels this way and your team are nice people that don’t want to tell you otherwise. You did write a nice Angular frontend for their application though! You’ve started taking on stories during your sprints and contributing to the project overall. You’ve also contributed to a few meetings by saying something useful. You’re at that point where you’ve realised that this is why you wanted to be a software engineer. You love writing code and trying to avoid meetings. Hey, at least you can laugh at the satirical pictures about that on the internet now, right?

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Day 365: The end is nigh. Sorry, that was a little dark. Your internship has ended already or is about to end. In all honesty, it’s probably ended ten days ago so you could go off to Santa Ponsa with your friends from home, or something else along that lines. You won’t have seen the transformation because it will have been gradual but others will notice your newfound skills and confidence. If you’re sound, like I am, then I’m sure your colleagues will miss you. Either way, you’ve done it. Hopefully the world of software engineering was what you hoped for!


Author’s Note: If you’re starting an internship then I can’t stress enough that you should enjoy it. You may not find every single thing you work on exciting but remember, there are little to no expectations on you. Don’t put any on yourself! Focus on creating solutions without cutting any corners. If you can make that a habit you’ll go far. Also, when you experience that imposter syndrome I mentioned, just think of the following quote:

“An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made in a very narrow field “— Leo Durocher.


Was your internship different? Do you have a memory you want to share? Why not drop a comment down below and join the discussion?

LibertyIT

Liberty IT thoughts and tech stories on technical leadership, digital transformation and agile software delivery.

Ian Quain

Written by

Ian Quain

LibertyIT

LibertyIT

Liberty IT thoughts and tech stories on technical leadership, digital transformation and agile software delivery.

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