Hacker Career Advice

10 Week Summer Internship Plan

Most summer internships run about 10 weeks. And while that might seem a like a long time, it’s really not.

Big companies like AmaFaceGooFlxSnapSoft hire armies of interns every year and offer formal training, networking events, mentors, etc. It’s a great experience, but it’s hard to make an impression when you’re in a group of hundreds.

Conversely, small or midsize startups often hire & staff interns on real projects—treating them like full-time employees. But, you probably won’t get much training or have a lot of other interns you can relate to.

So, how can you maximize your internship experience? Start with a plan:

Week 1

Schedule 15-30 minute meetings with everybody you can, not just the engineers! Introduce yourself to the sales team, marketing, operations, customer support. Learn about them, their roles, how they fits into the organization, what they are working on, and what’s missing.

This will quickly give you the context to make a meaningful contribution.

Week 2

Talk to your manager or mentor and set some goals. Use what you learned the previous week to define what you’re going to work on, what you want to learn, and a final deliverable.

This will help you focus your time, identify resources you need, and give you something concrete to put on your resume.

Weeks 3–8

Aggressively pursue your goal and check in regularly with your mentor. Learn everything you can, ask tons of questions, and continue to expand your network.

Ask if your colleagues if you can sit in on meetings outside your core area / project too. Keep track of what you accomplish throughout these weeks too, since it’s harder to remember later on.

Week 9

Start preparing your final deliverable, which could be a presentation, paper, demo, or a deploy. Get help, double check your results, and document your work.

By this point, you should also have a feeling for whether or not you’d like to continue working there next summer or full-time. If you feel strongly about continuing, tell your mentor / manager

Week 10

Present or demo your final deliverable and get as much feedback as you can.

If you have the opportunity to continue your relationship with the firm, awesome. If not, perhaps your colleagues can help you find other opportunities in the future.