Early in 2010 the Graduate Developer Community held an event to connect Undergraduates with Interns. One successful placement that resulted from this event was Kamil Olesiejuk obtaining a 3 month internship at Android application development startup Novoda.

Internships are often misunderstood from both sides, so following the internship we interviewed both sides to find out how they got on in the hope that we could inspire more companies to recruit interns and more undergraduates to consider looking into interns.

Here is the feedback from undergraduate Kamil Olesiejuk

What made you look for an internship?

I wanted to gain some experience, try something new. Get a bit of a sneak peak of adult life. Also see how do I fit into a working environment. Above all, I wanted to do something really interesting, have fun. Learning new things and money were also factors.

Do you have previous commercial experience?

No.

Did you meet many companies before selecting Novoda?

I have applied to a few companies, met some recruitment representatives at career fairs, and spoke to a few other people at the intern-employer meeting organised by Graduate Development Community where I also met Novoda.

What was it about Novoda that made you select them?

They came across as really interesting and smart people from the very start. They were working in an interesting and fast-growing area, and they already had experience in it. Novoda seemed like it could be a really good and fun place to work in.

What were you expecting?

Having no prior commercial experience I was not sure what to expect. I think I was expecting to learn a lot, but the actual experience exceeded my expectations by miles.

Please describe in your own words the tasks that you did?

I was put in charge of a build system for the Android applications that Novoda was developing. I was give a lot of freedom on how do I go about it exactly. Since Novoda already had a build system from before, I started working with it learning about build systems in general, the tools that they were using as well as a few alternatives, and the specifics of the Android platform. I was given lots of support in the learning process, and also very frequent consults on what I’ve done, what I should focus on next and pretty much any question I had.

What do you feel you have taken from this internship?

I have learned a tremendous amount of things ranging from build processes and tools, through development environments, the Android platform, and source code management tools, to what seemed like a ton of experience of what’s it like to work for a company. I’ve learned to work on my own more effectively, make decisions (and mistakes) in a working environment.

All this in a friendly, supportive and fun environment.

Do you feel your work has helped Novoda?

I sure hope it did. Honestly, I do think that I have contributed to their work. Since I wasn’t working on any particular project the contributions might be a bit more tricky to spot, but I do believe that I have made their life easier, and development more streamlined. Those kind of contributions sometimes require a change in working style, and take time to adapt. They are also never finished and need constant tending and improvements, but I believe I’ve made a good start.

Right now, I’ve taken up the work that I’ve done at Novoda, and made it my final year MEng project. I’m still in close collaboration with Novoda on the project, getting feedback on my work and support on it.

What advice would you have for undergraduates considering finding an internship?

First understand that it can be a huge benefit not only to Your CV but also to You as a person, and that it can be fun at the same time. Next decide on an area of interest and look for one. It is very important not to be afraid of doing it – be excited about it instead! Don’t worry about lack of experience, focus on what You’re good at and like. Be approachable.

If you are an undergraduate considering taking on an internship then visit http://www.enternships.com/ a website dedicated to helping undergraduates connect with SMEs and startups.

If you are involved in a business looking to recruit interns to help with any part of your business please visit http://www.enternships.com/ a website dedicated to helping startups and SMEs connect with top interns. To get more information on how to run an internship please see this guide: http://www.cipd.co.uk/publicpolicy/_internships-that-work.htm

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