Dear Tech Intern Class of 2016…

First of all – congratulations on scoring what’s (hopefully) going to be a fantastic internship this summer! It’s a huge accomplishment, and I’m sure you went through many applications and interviews to get this gig.

Though your HR contact has probably already made it clear how great your internship will be and how much fun you’ll be having, there are other things that perhaps aren’t as obvious. As a former summer tech intern, there are some things that I wish I had taken advantage of when I had the chance. So you can avoid missing the opportunities I didn’t take, I’ve outlined advice below…

Network internally and externally
The great part about summer tech internships is that HR usually does whatever it can to help introduce you to the different folks at your company – be it through happy hours or intern tech talks. I definitely took these events for granted – don’t make the same mistake. If you find that someone that speaks or you speak to is interesting to you, follow up with another coffee chat to learn more about them. People do not turn down coffee chats initiated by interns – after all, they are trying to convince you to come back to work for their company.

One thing I wish I also did more of was networking externally. Sure – I did set up a couple of coffee chats here and there after tech networking events. But I could’ve done so much more, especially since I was in San Francisco at the time. Wherever you may be, there are SO many resources and so many smart people to leverage.

Figure out your likes and dislikes
Since internships tend to be pretty short-term, this is the best time to figure out all of your likes and dislikes. Though you’ll probably be ramping up half of the time (it depends on how big the company is), start a private blog on lessons learned at work, how your relationship is with your manager, how you like your team, etc. Take note of what you’d like to see more of, what’s working, what’s not working, etc.

Have some fun
You’ll definitely want to get your work and projects done during your internship, but this is also a chance to show your team (and perhaps the rest of the company) that you’re also a human too. A mistake I made during internships was being a bit too serious about work. If you don’t allow yourself the chance to be yourself at work – you might find out too late that you aren’t a good fit for the culture. It’s ok to loosen up a little bit.

Give back
Last but not least, not getting more involved with the outside community was a big regret of mine while I was interning. Wherever you may intern, I bet that there are some really impactful non-profits that you can get involved in. Better yet – ask the HR lead of your intern program to see if he or she can’t help organize an intern-wide community service project. Sure, you might be busy with intern events and parties, but it’s important to also take the time to step back from the glitz and glamour of summer tech internships and give back to communities as well.

Hope this was helpful – would love to hear your thoughts on other advice you’ve heard!


Notable reads from this week

Though I find maybe one or two solid and thought-provoking articles each day, for whatever reason (maybe the Facebook/Twitter gods were smiling down on me), I came across a number of great reads yesterday that I wanted to share. In case you don’t have the time to read all of these articles, I’ve TLDR’ed them for your convenience. Enjoy!

Can Silicon Valley Be Saved?
Published March 6, 2014
TLDR: Though Silicon Valley, particularly San Jose in this case, is home to mega-corporations including eBay, Cisco Systems and Adobe, people don’t really want to live in this area. Some of the reasons that are brought to attention include the lack of a unified public transportation system, little walkability (San Jose’s congestion is the seventh highest in the nation), and barely any culture that attracts tech people who like food, bars and an overall urban atmosphere. Samsung is hoping to contribute to this change with a brand new building that promotes walking instead of driving.

The Ultimate Guide to Solving iOS Battery Drain
Published March 27, 2014
TLDR: My friend Jessie told me about this article and how the author of this blog, Scotty Loveless, worked on the Genius Bar for about two years. Though I already knew that leaving my 3G on in places with poor service drained my battery, I didn’t know about BAR (Background App Refresh) or that quitting my apps actually messed with the phone’s RAM. To get the most out of this article, I advise that you read it somewhere where you won’t be distracted, so you can follow each step in the article.

The Internet’s Telltale Heartbleed
Published April 9, 2014
TLDR: I had read plenty of other articles about Heartbleed, but none of them explained the bug as well as this one. Key takeaways include: 1) Up to 500,000 sites were affected; 2) Heartbleed is scary because you can’t detect whether requests for information are malicious or not; 3) OpenSSL is a volunteer project, and is only overseen by four people; 4) Unless websites have specifically told you to change your password, there isn’t much to be done as of now (maybe wait a little longer, then change all of your passwords).

Will starving artists turn to coding instead of waiting tables?
Published April 11, 2014
TLDR: A feature story on Fractured Atlas, a non-profit in New York that’s looking to help artists get and learn the resources they need in order to become entrepreneurs. Since the program is so new, there haven’t been any Atlas alumni just yet, but it might be worthwhile to keep an eye on this organization.

When the restaurant you Googled Googles you back
Published April 13, 2014
TLDR: A swanky, three-Michelin star restaurant is now catering a more personalized dining experience by doing research on its clientele beforehand. Though it sounds creepy, the intentions are good. Taking a page from the article, “If a particular guest appears to hail from Montana, [the maitre d’] will try to pair up the table with a server who is from Montana.”

300M downloads and $600M in revenue say Google is the ‘loser’s choice’ in mobile games monetization
Published April 14, 2014
TLDR: In a VentureBeat survey, it was announced that when it comes to monetizing their mobile games, developers are using companies like Vungle or AdColony instead. As for which mobile ads proved to be the most annoying, banner ads, notification ads and surveys ranked in the top three.