This post was supposed to be published earlier this year, but life happened but I'm back. One of my online friends recently got a software engineering internship (S/o to him) and he asked a question in our online community that I help managed: "As an intern, what are some things you wish you did?" This question brought me back to this half written post, so here we go.
Last year, I wrote a blog post that "quietly" went viral:
Black Girl | Whiteboard(Part 1)
Everyone loved it. So then a month later I actually started the position. So the position was a Temp to Hire position, if I did well during this period it would turn permanent.
Let's just say, I almost didn't get full-time hire status. My laptop was broke the first month, other things transpired and all in all, my confidence took a sharp dive, which prevented me to challenge myself more.
There's tons of articles on how to get the job, but barely any on how to convert or keep a software engineering job or even preparation for the annual review.
Through my experience, here are some tips that can help you secure the offer!
1. Know the command chain
The command chain is different for different companies, so know who will be giving your review and really know who the reviewer will ask about your progress and accomplishments. Ask people who are making the big decisions "How you're doing" frequently. Have weekly or bi weekly one on one's with your boss, supervisors or whoever is in charge of giving or writing your feedback. Most conversations had about you will be behind close doors.
2. Ask Questions
No matter how stupid it sounds, still ask questions. I've learned when you're quiet people perceive you to be "not interested" "not smart enough" and so many other things. I hate that's even the case, but that's how it is working with other people in corporate America. Might I add, ask questions once you've tried figuring it out yourself. Bottom line, ask questions!
3. Challenge Yourself
When it's time to pick "user stories" or "assignments" in general, pick the ones you're comfortable with but also pick ones that challenge you. You may be compared to your other team members on the scope of how challenging your work was or how much you've contributed.
4. Brag Document
One of my favorite quotes i hear at work is: "Make sure your boss knows how awesome you are" and that reminded of an earlier email about a brag document. A Brag Document is document of your accomplishments even if you think it's miniscule. Have this saved. In the past, I've even sent my boss a bi weekly email about my accomplishments within the past two weeks and what I planned on doing within the next two weeks(This discussion can also be apart of your bi weekly convos).
This is also helpful when people try to dispute your contributions. During my internship I had a situation where I had to dispute a situation and I had to bring up the receipts.
So, I know this goes against all of the "Don't give your whole life to a job.." rhetoric but although it's true, I think it's important to make an impact not just with your work but socially. Every company is different with many different ways to get involved. Get active in something at your job, regardless if you plan to look for a new job else where it's important to build your network. The smartest ppl don't always get promoted, sometimes it's the most liked person.
6. Own the project, take the lead
People love leadership.. simple. Take the lead on projects in whatever way you can.
7. Continuous Learning
Take advantage of any learning opportunities your company may provide but also spend certain days of the week perfecting your craft. One thing I learned on my most recent team, was that in order to perfect your coding skills, you must spend time throughout the week learning new tools and etc.. even outside of work.
One Last Thing…
I hope if you're in the midst of a internship and wanting to go from intern to full hire this will help you or even prepare you for your annual review. This is something I didn't have, so I wanted to share from my mistakes and epiphany's to others in my same situation.
I am aware that all companies don't follow the same procedures when it comes to these decisions, but I do feel like you can take certain advice and apply it to your own particular situation. :)
I recently published my website. I offer resume services and free calls on transitioning from intern to hire and helping you with your annual review and just my journey through tech in general. Just fill out the contact form on my website :)