Internship at 10Clouds
Choosing a right career path is a hard but essential task. It is even more difficult to find a place where you can truly develop your skills and fulfill your interests. In my case selecting a field of expertise was obvious – I was always passionate about solving problems, appreciated math and loved tech – so I decided to go with coding! I could not imagine a better tool than programming to build great things with only a laptop in your hands.
In theory applying for computer science at Warsaw University of Technology looked like a perfect way to keep myself busy and satisfied for a couple of years, but I quickly discovered the skills they are trying to teach at the uni are, gently speaking, redundant (with few exceptions). I was literally starving for a way to utilize some knowledge and learn from professionals.
I have seen 10Clouds job ads before but never suspected they would have a place for an intern. My thought was ‘it would be cool to work there sometime’. They are really good at maintaining startup style and staying away from evil corporate practices. If you want to focus on coding and having fun while avoiding unnecessary formalities—this place is just for you. Technology stack used there is also very appealing—for me it was Python on the backend side that drawn me the most.
It turned out that a friend of mine was already working there and enjoyed that greatly. With some experience in web development and genuine interest in 10clouds’ approach I decided to give it a try and apply. The recruitment process was very pleasant. During the interview I had an opportunity not only to show my skills, but also to learn a lot about company and programming itself. There was even a short talk with the CEO! And now I’m here writing this post for you…
Working at 10Clouds is a unique experience. You can feel like home, because, well… it is a home—semi detached, to be exact :). People are welcoming and willing to help, or just greet you with a smile. I was kind of surprised of how quickly they want you to become a part of the family, even as an intern. You can participate in all internal events like meetings or hackdays and enjoy most of the benefits (free snacks included). Initially you get your place in a room with two to six other people (very likely the project team) and some necessary equipment you ask for. They want to make sure everyone can focus and just feel good.
The most important thing that will shape your work and learning process for the next couple of months is the project. The company specializes in developing software mainly for foreign customers, local ones are a minority. It’s an amazing feeling to cooperate with startups from around the world while staying in cozy house in Warsaw’s Saska Kępa. Some extra coordination and effort in overcoming language barriers is required but it definitely can be done.
The first project I had an opportunity to work on proved to be an interesting experience, especially for someone that just started their first job in IT! I was expecting some minor tasks or insignificant role, but instead I’ve became the only backend developer in the team. The project was rather small and not that hard to grasp (most of the code was already written). For me a bigger challenge was to interact directly with the client and suggest some suitable solutions. Sometimes I had a feeling that communication skills were more important than actual engineering. Essentially, any product that does not meet client’s needs is useless, even if it’s perfectly crafted. Proper understanding is crucial.
In the project there was also a manager responsible for solving everyday issues, staying in touch with the client and overseeing the entire process of development. Additionally I could always turn to a mentor—experienced developer who can answer most technical questions, review code and give general advice on how to approach a specific problem. Every talk with a mentor is really valuable—it’s good to hear some opinion from another perspective and It also helps to note things that might have been initially overlooked by an inexperienced eye.
More recently I have been involved in a new project that is quite different than the previous one. The team consists of more people and the codebase is effectively much larger. There are apps for web and mobile, all based on Django backend. I have an opportunity to work directly with a new mentor and spend some time with the team. Now I’m in the process of getting familiar with existing code and practices of agile development on a bigger scale. My tasks, at least for now, are less critical, yet allow me to understand how things work and are a great foundation for future work.
If someone asks me how to combine working and studying the honest answer would be that there is absolutely no problem with that. 10Clouds offers fully flexible working schedule – you can work from anywhere and take time off if needed. Actually a great portion of employees are still students. Maybe that’s a characteristic of IT courses that the last few years consist mainly of projects or research, so if you use your time wisely there should be plenty of it for self improvement. In fact this is our duty, as programmers, to be up to date with current technologies and learn by ourselves. Is there a better place to grow and become a professional than an actual work?
Looking back at my internship in 10clouds, the best thing about it is that it actually does not resemble a usual internship – you are rarely called an intern. They treat you as a co-worker and show a lot of trust. Challenges you might encounter depend on type and scale of the project. There is just one thing to remember – there are no stupid questions 🙂 Everyone out there is to help and share their knowledge. Furthermore, your own knowledge and opinion matters. It’s vital for any company to embrace fresh minds. In return you get a possibility to learn, meet amazing people and maybe stay for a little longer.