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 Novoda director Carl-Gustaf Harroch

Why did you opt for an intern?

We did not really consider getting an intern until the event was announced by the GDC. We thought we would just go to the meetup and see how it turns out.

Have you used interns before?

No. We are a very young company and Kamil was actually our first employee.

Did you meet many before selecting Kamil?

We had a couple of chats with all the students at the event. Did not go to any other events prior or after. Kamil was a clear choice.

What was it about Kamil that made you select him?

The main criteria for selection was his ability to handle a project on his own and be entrepreneurial in his work. We could not afford to spend much time nurturing him. We wanted to setup the aim of a project and let him play with the technology and come up with solutions. We needed an independent student with little guidance from our part. We obviously help him along the way but it was important that he would not require our help for each bits and pieces of the given project.

Did you pay Kamil?

Yes. We believe in paying for work done. We paid him above the minimum wage.

Please describe in your own words the tasks that Kamil has done for you

We needed a build and continuous integration server for android. There is no current well working solution out there and Kamil was set to play around with Maven/Hudson and a mac mini to come out with some sort of solution. The conclusion of his work is summarized in his blog post: http://novoda.com/2010/08/13/android-continuous-integration-android-maven-plugin/

How this has helped the business?

The blog post has been mentioned a couple of times in different articles. Event though we will move away from Maven, it has been a great experience for both Novoda and Kamil. Furthermore, Kamil is still working part time within Novoda as part of his master degree continuing the work he has started during the summer. We foresee great solutions coming from his work this year that will help our company ensuring best practices in testing and CI.

What did you feel Kamil did well for you?

He was motivated and excited about Novoda which makes us feel we are going in the correct direction with Novoda. As we are a young startup, he gave us the opportunity to employ somebody without the risk of a full time employee. He worked hard and hopefully learnt a lot!

Do you feel this has helped Kamil?

I can’t talk for him but I believe he really appreciated the work done and gave him an insight of what startup life is all about. The fact that his master degree follows his work at Novoda is rewarding for both him and us.

What advice would you have for companies considering recruiting an intern?

Don’t expect much and give a lot of leeway to the intern. Worse case scenario, nothing comes out of it. Best case scenario, you have a dedicated and potential employee.

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

Don’t expect much – especially monetary – and try to look into a field that is of interest. Don’t just look for an internship for the sake of it. Try to find a field which is of interest and which lets you play with technologies that you would not necessarily done at Uni.

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