Over the past year, I’ve been learning lots as an Arcurve intern. With the next cohort of interns getting ready to start in May, I wanted to welcome them aboard and share three tips for a successful internship at Arcurve:
1. Ask Questions
As an intern, you might not know how to complete your assigned tasks right away. Instead, I like to break down my tasks into smaller, simpler sub-tasks and then write down all the questions I have for each sub-task. It’s a lot more effective to approach your tech lead with “Where can I create a release in Azure DevOps?” and “Which build artifacts should I be using?” rather than “I don’t know how to deploy”. You might not have the solution but asking questions will get you started on the right path.
Sometimes your questions can even lead to process improvements in your project. For example, we had an issue on a project where we couldn’t tell which tickets were still in development and which were complete and waiting to deploy to QA because we only had “in-dev” and “in-QA” columns in our project management board. During a standup, I asked why we didn’t have another column for “dev-complete” and the entire team agreed it would make our workflow more efficient, so we added one!
Another area where I gained a reputation for asking lots of questions was during our weekly intern Community Social Responsibility project meetings, where I became known for starting every meeting by asking everyone “what’s the most exciting thing that has happened to you since our last meeting?”. While it quickly turned into a running joke within our team, it helped to break the ice and get our CSR project started off on the right track!
2. Embrace the Unknown
A natural part of onboarding with any software development project is the feeling of discomfort and a lack of familiarity with the codebase, conventions, or technologies. While it’s initially overwhelming, the best way to get more comfortable with your project is to embrace that feeling of discomfort and get started!
For example, when I started on my first project, I had no knowledge of .NET and Angular, the two primary technologies in that project’s tech stack. The first easy bug I was given was to fix a dropdown menu that wasn’t alphabetically sorting options. With no context or knowledge of the tech stack, it was harder than it seemed. In fact, that task took me around 2 days to complete including locating the bug in code, attempting a fix, submitting a pull request, and continuously modifying my solution until my tech lead accepted it. Fast-forward 6 months down the road and when a similar alphabetical sorting dropdown bug was reported, it took me under 15 minutes to find, fix, and pull request a solution!
Despite starting off unfamiliar with a certain technology or framework, you’ll be surprised at just how quickly you pick up new skills, build upon your existing knowledge, and regain that sense of confidence during your internship.
3. You get out what you put in
This last tip has made the biggest impact on my internship experience at Arcurve by far. I started my internship with the mindset of making the most out of everything it had to offer, which meant I wanted to chase every opportunity to gain new skills, meet new people, and try new things.
In my technical work, I’ve presented at client demo sessions; researched, drafted, and delivered a technical proposal for a new client app feature; and taken on more responsibilities such as production hotfixes and estimates. Through the CSR project, I volunteered with the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter, networked with several local breweries and businesses, and put my passion for video editing to use with The Most Arcurvian Intern ad campaign. With YYC Tech Gives, I got a chance to lead Arcurve’s fundraising campaign alongside some amazing Arcurvians, volunteer twice at the Calgary Food Bank, and celebrate Arcurve winning the SPAM cup for the first time in 12 years!
Recently, I’ve been helping to form the Arcurve Social Events Committee, an employee-led initiative to bring all of us Arcurvians together through some fun, casual social events and exciting team building activities. The bottom line is that you’re here for at least four months, so why not make the most of it?
I’m super excited to meet this year’s cohort of interns and watch as they find success in their projects and this year’s CSR project! To keep up with all the exciting intern adventures, stay tuned to our student feed here.