I recently completed a semester-long(5 months) internship as part of my college curriculum, at a small sized organization with about 80 employees.
Backdrop : The company offers an ERP Software. Over the years, as the size of the database increased significantly, the performance of the software became noticeably slower. So it was planned to do database reorganization and restructuring, in order to improve the query time.
Task : I was supposed to develop a tool that would automate the process. I had to work individually, along with the help from my mentor. So, initially I studied the codebase in order to understand some parts of the business logic and the database design. The tech stack that I had to use was c#/.Net
Before starting the internship, I had no experience in writing code in c#/.Net. Also, my knowledge of DBMS was limited to what I had read in online articles and through YouTube tutorials. I had to spend about one month learning all the necessary things, and doing some practice assignments given by my mentor. I also had to understand and use the coding practices followed there, which was a new thing for me. In the beginning it seemed quite daunting and face paced, but I caught up eventually.
This is a statement I read somewhere in an article. Fortunately for me, I had a very positive experience with my mentor. He is an extremely polite and supportive person. He helped me with a lot of things, despite being worked up with his duties as the CTO of the organization. After I began my actual work on the application, he let me decide the timelines for day to day tasks. And even after wrong estimations initially, he didn't correct me until I got the hang of it. To summarize, a good manager/supervisor/mentor plays a very important role in determining your learning curve and overall experience at work, regardless of the company.
I have always wanted to work on stuff that is going to have some impact on the end user experience. In this case, the users were the account managers of around 40 Enterprises, who would now have to see the loading screen for a couple of seconds less. Seeing my application being deployed on production servers was a moment of pride for me.