Sunday, March 25, 2012

Internship or no internship ??

"Should I go for an internship ? " - I have been asked this question a number of times these days and I could never reply it as a yes/no. Probably it depends. But depends on what ? To some I replied - "Yes go for one if you find an opportunity ", to some I could not give a concrete answer. Probably I was not sure. The reason is - my friends and colleagues have a divided opinion on the matter. One thinks, "Why go for an intern ? Instead one should sit at home and enhance his skills." Other said, "why cant one enhance his skills while he is an intern ?" And many others are not that clear about it. So you see that is the problem !!

Interns can sometimes be very useful. There is no denying the fact if you get to intern with an excellent firm. If not, you got to think hard and decide. Interns can be rewarding or sometimes not, sometimes they are paid, sometimes not. But I personally think the money factor should not be a very big role in this decision. It should be more about the time you devote and things you learn. Here is a small story.

Have you heard of  Wes Cherry? Probably not ! Have you played Solitaire on windows ? I think I can safely assume you have. If not, find a computer near you that has windows. Go to start up ->games-> solitaire. This is it !! It has been a part of windows operating system since windows 3.0 itself. Windows 3.0 was released in 1990 and I guess it has always been a part of it since then.  Why are we talking about though ? Yes, lets get back to the point. Solitaire was wrote (developed) by Wes Cherry in 1989 while he was an intern at microsoft. At that time there were few games and this became immensely popular. To verify how popular and tempting it has been let me tell you that people have also been caught playing Solitaire in their offices and some of them fired too :P . Dont believe that ? Look here yourself. To his misfortune though Wes received no royalties for Solitaire. So internships can sometimes be not rewarding at all . But then they are pretty useful. In wes's case itself, he later got an opportunity to write some code for the "microsoft Excel"  and yes he was highly rewarded for this.

The moral of the story is - though you could not be rewarded for your work as an intern it gives you a great opportunity to get a full time job with the same firm and enhances your chances to get selected into some other firms as well.

I myself did an internship at IIT Bombay in 2010. It was a 6-week internship and to this day I cant believe I wrote such a huge volume of code. I was a part of the team (of 5 people) who developed an excellent software. It was there that I realized how much I loved this field of software development. Not only that, I realized for the first time how important testing and UI (user interface) design are !! Though I can still not decide whether I should advice you to go for an internship or not, I think you should go for it. Take a chance, work hard, put in extra hours and I bet it will definitely benefit you in the long run :)

Last, but not the least, if you dont get an opportunity dont be disheartened. Trust me, I have seen a number of people bagging an excellent offer inspite of no internship/good projects. But yes, in that case you will have to work just a little harder.

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