A First High School Internship: For me and for Arcurve

Ana DuCristea
September 9, 2021

In a few weeks, I’ll be going back to school as a regular Grade 12 student… with two months of work experience, learning, and connections made while delightedly getting my hands dirty as a software development intern at Arcurve. It’s hard to believe that I’m lucky enough to be one of the first two high school interns at Arcurve and that my experience here has exceeded expectations I had for this summer. Of course, as things often are, my path here has been a combination of luck and dedication.  

Since the young age of about ten years old when my father gave me the book ‘Invent Your Own Computer Games with Python’, I have been fascinated by the amount of power and freedom that simply entering code into a computer could give me. Of course, at that age such ‘freedom’ was mostly restricted to changing players’ letters in tic-tac-toe or increasing the range in Guess the Number. However, being exposed to the realm of possible programs, apps, tools, robots, etc. that I could possibly create with programming with enough learning spurred me to continue learning it; a motivation that has continued to this day.

Many tutorials, edX courses, hackathons, camps, and projects later, my skills had greatly improved from tic-tac-toe to creating my own subtitle syncing program and Arduino projects. One of the things I completely lacked was work experience, but how might a Grade 11 student go about looking for a software development internship before summer?

After some research, I soon found out (not unexpectedly) that there were next to no job postings for high school software internships in Canada. I decided to take things into my own hands and began to apply for university positions at local companies, including Arcurve, in the hope that they might consider me anyway. , but after a few weeks I received no response (automatic application/resume reviews probably threw me out initially).

My next strategy was to email HR with a sort of “cover email” including my resume, LinkedIn, and skills I could offer despite my young age. After sending out about a dozen of these emails and sending follow-ups (I used a spreadsheet to track responses and follow-ups sent) I was happy to receive a few responses despite most of them saying that they did not hire high school students, and one of them considering me but backing out due to COVID.

After hearing that I was having difficulty finding an internship, someone I had met through LinkedIn gave me the advice to go straight to the top and email the CEOs of local companies. At first, I was quite apprehensive to take her advice, but she advised me to let go of imposter syndrome, fear, or anything else that might be holding me back from doing so. After thinking about the pros and cons, I decided to take her advice in my situation.

Among the few CEOs to whom I sent cover emails was Jay Gohill, who was kind enough to forward it to Arcurve HR and ask them to schedule a casual meeting with a few employees to talk about Arcurve and what role I could take in the company. A few months later, I began my first summer internship!

I’m very pleased to say my time at Arcurve has not been a summer of gofer-ing coffees or data entry, but rather one of diving into projects with coding, design, planning, and more. Thanks to Arcurve’s trust in my abilities, I’ve learned a lot about work in general as well as specific things such as React/NodeJS, Typescript, DevOps, Power BI, Figma, Git collaboration… the list goes on. It’s amazing to think that the code and ideas I’ve created this summer are part of professional projects, and that I’ve met so many great people in the process.

Thank you Arcurve! See you next summer?

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