Through my experiences from working in a computer science internship, in Ann Arbor, at a startup, I have learned a lot. Through trial and error, I learned what was great for my development as a computer scientist, and I learned about habits that i developed over the years that initially stunted my growth early on in the internship. Below are going to be the things that I would tell a student who is planning on working in a similar environment that I worked in this summer.
My first advice would be to never be afraid to ask questions when you are lost or confused. I could have saved so much time and completed more tasks if I would have let go of my ego earlier, and dropped the front of trying to seem more knowledgeable in the field of computer science than I actually am. I realized that I am more of a benefit than a nuisance when I ask my lead developers questions. A five-minute question/ explanation is way faster and more efficient than sitting at my desk for hours tackling a problem that I just don’t have the knowledge to solve.
My second advice that pertains to Ann Arbor, is to explore it when you’re not at work. Ann Arbor is beautiful and lively during the summer. There’s Art fairs, film festivals, restaurant deals, great meetups, and very nice people chilling around the diag. It’s very easy to fall into the Work 24/7 mindset, but it’s healthy and much needed to relax during your free time.
My advice that pertains to working at a startup is to actively work on relationships with your co-workers. Unlike very big corporate companies, you have the opportunity to build close relationships with everyone that works at the company. During my time at InfoReady, I went on walks, had lunch, and had coffee with multiple co-workers. These relationships not only makes the internship experience more fulfilling, but these relationships can also help you in later stages of your career.
Those are the small pieces of advice that I would like to have had when I started working at my internship. I hope that future student interns will find this advice useful as well.