Being a student is difficult, to put it gently. There’s the need to balance studies, extracurricular activities and time for friends and family.
With all that’s on your plate, it can be easy to overlook the importance of a rich internship experience. However, in today’s competitive economy and the age of technological development, that just might be what sets you apart from your peers.
To help students get a jump on their competition, Pentalog launched its IT internship program in 2005 and continues to offer IT enthusiasts such as students, recent graduates & those seeking a career change the opportunity to acquire the technical experience they need to excel on the job market today.
Insights from the Summer IT Internship
The training period at Pentalog usually lasts about 3 months in order to allow trainees to experience the different stages of a project’s lifecycle. This year, students joined our team in Chisinau at the beginning of June and continued to study until the end of August, working on their very own projects.
Irina, my colleague and intern coordinator, noticed how interesting it was to watch the trainees during the first few days of their internship, some a little distant and reserved. However, after the first presentations about Agile, some interactive games and team activities, she formulated a completely different opinion.
“I saw that they are really smart, intelligent and we will be able to collaborate on future projects. They will certainly succeed. Furthermore, they are young and constantly inspire me for new interesting actions”.
Before starting, interns had to choose a particular subject for their project – something they considered interesting and captivating enough to motivate them to develop a new, useful app, based on ideas they brainstormed together.
“We have decided to create a ‘Moodle-like’ application that will be used in universities. It assumes that teachers and students will be able to visualize lab work, individual work, homework etc. We consider it as a serious, ambitious, but also difficult project.” – explains one of the young developers, Ion.
Our trainees have encountered their fair share of challenges this summer, such as the large amount of information that had to be retained and applied in practice immediately.
But, they were guided by several experienced mentors, all Pentaguys, who helped a lot in systematization of knowledge and development of new skills. Two mentors are responsible for back-end programming – Petru and Alexandru, another two for front-end – Alexandru and Cristina. On top of that, other colleagues, like Dumitru, contributed as well with general mentorship support and guidance.
An Intern’s Day, the Agile Way
Our interns’ typical day includes all the well-known responsibilities and actions – stand-ups, meetings, performing of tasks. At the beginning of each iteration they have sprint planning. At the end – demo and sprint retrospective.
Through contributing to projects like any other employee would, Pentalog achieves one of its main goals – teamwork within an Agile project.
Roles are also divided similarly to real Agile projects, except for the fact that all interns-developers have been able to test their competencies in both front-end and back-end programming.
There is also a tester, who is responsible for quality verification. This way, students had a chance to learn more about working on different hypotheses and how to cooperate.
Another student, Vadim, went into details about the educational practices employed throughout his internship:
“First of all we began working on back-end. It seems to be a little more complicated than front-end. From the start of our internship, we have met some difficulties, but later, with the help of our mentors, we managed to get in rhythm. When we started working on front-end we tried to avoid our past mistakes and use the best practices taught by our mentors”.
“The intern team is quite great; our mentors are very helpful and always encourage us to ask questions about best practices and their implementation. We’re working on a Moodle-like web platform for teachers and students. We’re using NodeJS for back-end, MySQL for database and Angular for front-end” – summarizes Andreea-Cristina.
Feedback from Students and Mentors
I can’t bypass the fact that the internship program was an important challenge not only for our interns, but also for some of our colleagues. Irina reflected on her first experience as manager and mentor:
“I was asked if I would like to try myself as intern mentor and I thought that it could be a beautiful experience. I decided to challenge myself. Firstly, my colleague guided me, but later I began coordinating by my own, in the way that I feel it can be right. During this period of 3 months, interns achieved and continue achieving success, which makes me very happy and pleased”.
After all my discussions with our interns (which were filled with lots of positive energy and feedback), I learned that students chose to work with Pentalog because of its reputation of a large, competitive, francophone company with a team of diverse professionals.
This summer, all the interns’ expectations have proven to be fulfilled and even exceeded. They have grown professionally and personally, gained new experience and skills, made new friends and learned how important it is to be a part of a team.
Here’s some more feed-back from the students who attended this year’s Summer IT Internship:
“It’s a place where you can ask any question, regardless of complexity – and you will get a good and clear answer. A real benefit is related to the programming level and to the possibility of working with people from foreign countries” – Vadim.
“I found out about the internship opportunity at the ICT Career Orientation event in October. After speaking with my colleagues at the university, I found out that the interviews and online tests are pretty difficult. Therefore, to be accepted for an internship here became sort of a challenge for me.
Now that I’ve been here for some time, I’ve had the opportunity to interact not only with fellow interns, but also with the other company staff. All of them have been very friendly, eager to strike up conversations, challenge you to a match of tennis and answer any questions you have. I’m sure that this internship will help me acquire better web development, teamwork and soft skills” – Andreea-Cristina.
“As for me, Pentalog shows best organization, a friendly community, nice offices and atmosphere. I enjoyed enormously how we were accepted into the community and how fast we integrated. The most important lesson I learned this summer was teamwork. Compared to life in universities, where, regretfully, each leads a more selfish way, here you begin to understand how much cooperation is being imported for a common success” – Ion.
Based not only on the interns’ experience, but on my own as well I can safely say this program teaches you how to become a cooperative yet independent specialist. Pentalog arms interns with both the hard skills and solid experience that makes a driven professional, able to work for success.
Worth it? I think so.