I’m Wako (the Swahili word for “Yours”) and as of this week, I’m a Software Engineer at Administrate. The rest of this article will go into my experience as an intern at Administrate and lightly touch on my life in web development in general.
Speaking of my life as a developer. It more or less started about a year and a half ago as a side quest. Building a basic understanding of programming languages and concepts on mimo, for example. The main quest was Biomedical Science, having completed a BSc at the University of Hull.
My curiosity and tendency to dive into things with both feet are what initially pushed me to explore the possibility of a career in tech. As I was thoroughly enjoying learning something new and catching glimpses of how powerful the skill of coding could be.
How did I get here?
I spotted the opportunity to take part in Administrate’s Summer Internship program as I was becoming more sure of the kind of environment I wanted to work in. I hadn’t worked in a professional environment before and the best experience I had was a six-month intensive full-stack course.
I was eager to gain experience in a role with plenty of room for mentorship, working with technologies I was at least partly familiar with. That being said, I was a little excited about getting an invitation to an interview. Just a little.
Although they kept their cards close to their chest after the second and final interview, I had a good feeling about our talks. When the offer came in I felt like the previous year of work was finally bearing sweet fruit.
What was the internship like?
My experience with the recruitment process as a whole was very refreshing. In the sense that the communication from Administrate was always clear and transparent. I felt like I had found something that could potentially meet every goal I had set for myself.
In the first 6 weeks, I worked on mostly front-end tasks in an agile environment. I learned a lot about the daily software engineering processes, got to learn from talented and experienced developers and made meaningful contributions to real-life projects.
Then, for the first time, Administrate gave me and the other interns the chance to move to another team in the business and work in a different area of the wider ecosystem. This gave me the chance to see more back-end and dev ops projects. Leaving me with a much broader set of experiences.
I didn’t feel like I was spread too thin. As I got to see that the different teams aren’t always stuck doing one specific thing day in and day out. I got all the support I needed along the way as well as opportunities to work on my own. Almost like I was a fully-fledged member of the team and not just an intern.
Valuable Lessons and Takeaways
Keep it simple
Like the tickets on a Kanban board. It’s best not to think of each task as a massive mountain that needs to be climbed in one go. There is often an example of what you need to do, and no need to reinvent the wheel (at least not every time).
Teamwork makes the dream work
We get there much faster when we travel together. Pairing on tasks that had me stumped helped me learn the quickest and lean on others’ expertise. I was even surprised once or twice at how much my knowledge, questions or suggestions helped members of my team.
How do I feel now that it’s over?
In the first interview, I asked what their ideal outcome would be for the intern they decided to take on. A question that you should definitely ask wherever you go. The interviewer paused and went on to describe a process that would teach the intern a lot about working in a professional environment. And at the end of that process, such an intern would become a promising candidate for a junior developer position.
I’m glad that in the end, I wound up in that best-case scenario. Working from wherever is comfortable and still feeling connected to a lively community. If you’re reading this, I hope you can have the chance to intern or work here. As businesses like this, places that feel like home, don’t show up every day.