Life @ Around25, Internship stories, dev internship, Internships

My Around25 Internship Experience

If you’re an aspiring programmer looking for a serious, comprehensive web development internship, Around25 is the place to be next summer!

My name is Ada and I was in your shoes in the spring of 2017. Being close to finishing my first year of Computer Science at “Babeș-Bolyai” University, I was looking for a summer program that would teach me how to build a project from A to Z in a professional, detail-oriented manner. When I got accepted as an intern at Around25, my excitement went through the roof; I had a feeling I’d found more than I was initially hoping for.

And yes, not only did I discover how to build an awesome website “the hard way” (with actual code, not the “drag and drop components” sort of thing), but I also learned from down-to-earth, the-sky’s-the-limit-passionate people (paradox? Nope) And that passion? It keeps rubbing on you the more you interact with Cosmin, Alin, Daiana, Sergiu, Paul, Vlad, Darius, Silvia, Teo and the list goes on. (Shout out to my fellow interns, Dani, Adi, and Daniel, for being true buddies and supportive teammates to the girl intern! I’m lucky to have had such an awesome team of fellow learners.)

Since I tend to be a “list freak”, please indulge my wish to make a list of all the awesome, juicy stuff Around25 offers its interns:

  • Plenty of support and attention, since they limit their intern group to a handful of people. This means your questions will be answered thoroughly, your mentors will patiently help you if you get stuck (but you do need to give things your best shot first) and you won’t feel like they simply forgot about you and you’re clueless about what to do next.
  • Knowledge of various programming languages, concepts, bestpractices and tools. We learned (quite in depth!) HTML, CSS, Bootstrap, Javascript, React, Redux, Git, Docker, Sequelize, design patterns, etc. Good stuff!
  • Plenty of tasks to solve on your own and a final project. Don’t think it’s all easy-peasy and you won’t need to work hard. Expect to work hard and expect to be uncomfortable frequently. That’s the best way to grow: you’ll tackle intimidating documentations, surf the web for hours for examples and bug fixes, take breaks when you feel tired, then come back to fight some more.
  • Access to some of the best online video tutorials (we used Pluralsight, which is a world leader in programmer training).
  • A better understanding of the workflow in a middle-sized software company which doesn’t cut corners when it comes to quality, usability and reusability of code.
  • Friends of various ages and levels of experience who can inspire you and guide you beyond the internship’s time frame.
  • Breaks, ping pong, laughter, team activities, good food, snacks.
  • Wonderful office space (it’s pretty, I gotta say!).
  • A warm feeling of belonging and mutual respect. I came to “work” every day with a smile.

Here’s a list of what YOU have to bring to the table. The following are essential, in my view, in order to become an intern and not drop out halfway through:

  • The will to fight temporary discomfort in order to get better and smarter at programming.
  • The ability to stay positive even when things get tough and hard. You already know programming gets frustrating sometimes. But I guarantee that you’ll get through that pile of tasks if you believe you can.
  • The openness to admit your weaknesses and ASK QUESTIONS. Don’t let things that you don’t understand just pile up (I learned this at uni too :D ). People at Around25 are super patient and eager to help; meet them halfway and ask away!
  • A CV which stands out in one way or another. Look, you don’t need to be Einstein or have a ton of previous programming experience. Sure, these would help, but I found out that Around25 values initiative in future interns. My CV didn’t shine in terms of technical prowess, but it showed initiative through some projects I started and committed to in high school. Try to do stuff that sets you apart, now and in the future. Cosmin (CTO) and Paul (CEO) both told me: if you’re doing just what everyone else is doing, something is wrong.
  • Basic to intermediate programming skills.
  • Your time and effort.

I left this internship with a renewed sense of urgency to do more, to experiment with personal coding projects, to strive to be better. The feedback session I received at the end of it all, an hour-long discussion with Paul and Cosmin, is something I will remember forever. I will stay true to the promise I silently made in that meeting room: not to forget how inspired I felt, not to forget to keep playing with code and new initiatives; in short, a promise to “stay hungry”, like Steve Jobs once said.

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