Congratulations on landing the internship! Since you are reading this post, I’m assuming you’re now in the broad and intimidating space of technology — be it software or website service, welcome! Your tech industry internship will be challenging and rewarding. During these difficult times, internships are great for networking and maybe even establishing job security. This is your opportunity to help keep a business afloat while demonstrating personal tenacity. Especially now, your job is to support the team — but what does that mean exactly?
Because the technical industry is so vast, it’s difficult to predict what you might do. Marketing at Google is different from marketing here at LogRhythm, and they’re both completely different from programming at a startup. But regardless of your position and company, there are some general things that you can do to make your internship as successful as possible. I had a wonderful internship with LogRhythm that resulted in me being invited back. Whether this is your first internship or your first in the tech industry, here are six tips for crushing it.
1. Don’t Feel Like You Need to Understand Everything
The tech space is filled with complicated products and competitors. As an intern, your goal is to help where you can and learn as much as possible. Product knowledge is important, but it’s not everything. Your team will supply the information you need, so don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s more important that you show up and engage with the problems than for you to understand the ins and outs of the business.
Remember, this is a learning experience for you. Engage with your internship by asking a lot of questions. It’s up to you to take the most away from this experience, so look to learn about the business, develop network connections, and help a company.
2. Show Interest and Suggest New Projects for Yourself
Whether your company has a single specific project for you to do or a list of different tasks, tackle your projects headfirst. Show your excellence and reliability with everything you do. The tech space moves at a breakneck pace, so pay attention and offer to help wherever you can. You’ll be trusted with more important things, and in turn your resume will grow more impressive based on the value you bring.
This also allows you to find to gaps in the workflow. As you accumulate to the atmosphere and fall in line with your team, you’ll be able to see smaller issues that your team may not have the bandwidth to solve. This gives you the chance to suggest projects that will help them out. The fresh perspective you’re bringing to the company lets you see the other places where your time can be spent. Things like streamlining processes and offering solutions to smaller problems your manager hasn’t had time to deal with go a very long way.
3. Sync with Your Team Often
You’ve been hired to support a team, so pay attention to what’s happening with them. Your teammates might be overwhelmed for reasons outside of the company. Be compassionate! If you have the bandwidth, offer to take some of the less exciting work off their plate. Sometimes that means doing more grueling tasks, but fostering relationships with your teammates and mentors is one of the best things you can do in an internship.
This also falls in line with point number one — ask your team members to teach you so you can better help them with their jobs. The more help you can give them, the more likely they’ll be to recommend you for a full-time position either within or outside of the company.
4. Explore Regions Outside of What You Were Hired For
If you’re as lucky as I am, you’ll have a manager who encourages you to investigate different aspects of the business. If you’re not encouraged, ask. The more you can understand what other teams do, the more you can understand the big picture. If you were hired for marketing, ask about the different marketing teams and projects. Talk with brand professionals, pricing experts, or content developers. If you were hired for web development, take some time to talk with the product experts and programmers. Find people who do great work and pick their brains about their projects and the different challenges they face.
Talking with people in different departments also lets you explore what you enjoy doing in businesses. If you’re talking with programmers and they mention they code mostly in Java and Golang, it’ll give you a good idea of what coding languages you should know. If you’ve always been interested in pricing, talking with someone about what they do can demonstrate what the job actually entails. You’ll come out of your internship with a good idea of what business processes you’d like to work in (and which ones you want to avoid!).
5. Find and Hold on to Different Mentors
Being on a team is a fantastic opportunity for you to find mentors and interact with them often, but it’s not the only place. If your company is anything like LogRhythm, you’ll work and communicate with a lot of people outside of those on your team. Finding mentors in other teams is equally important! It never hurts to have multiple inputs to career issues you’re facing. It’s also likely that you’ll learn a thing or two from them, so find people who share your passions. Maybe one of the accountants has kids and you’re interested in how he handles work/life balance. Maybe one of the engineers worked in your dream field and has contacts to share with you. Talk to people, get to know them and learn from them!
Additionally, take this opportunity to ask for feedback from everyone. Whether you want an outside opinion on something you’re working on or advice about a job down the line, everyone has a different perspective. Asking for feedback is an incredible way to set you up for success in your internship and beyond.
6. Try to Get a Standing Desk
If you don’t have one when you join, believe me — standing desks are great. Shifting between sitting and standing at your leisure can keep you from bad sitting behavior and even increase your productivity. Additionally, if you have a hard time sitting still like I do, standing desks can be a great way to release a little extra energy. This was great for me as an intern! I was able to contribute to and support my team while staying comfortable.
Standing desks have become a popular office trend in recent years and a lot of tech companies already offer these. If you believe this option will help you in the long run, don’t be afraid to ask for one! However, standing desks are not replacements for walks. Walks in or outside of the building are helpful for your health, so be sure to do a lap every once in a while.
With those six things in mind, we here at LogRhythm hope you’ll crush your internship! Breathe deeply and don’t be afraid to make some mistakes. You can do this!