Two months of the internship passed in the blink of an eye. I was really surprised by how much freedom we had in our project. We made all decisions on our own: from architecture design to last implementation details. Such kind of internship developed my skills in machine learning and programming in general, as well as showed me how important teamwork and communication are.
The intro that Elon Musk would be proud of ⤵
The labour market is changing fast. The way we work and do things is shifting due to the influence of machines, robotics and artificial intelligence.
Does it mean that human work will become obsolete with time?
Some of the tasks – indeed. However, according to the automation paradox, reducing repetitive jobs is often followed by the creation of more high-profile, computerized positions.
The labour market of tomorrow requires visionaries, tech adepts, creative thinkers, complex problem solvers, and leaders. And whereas academia lags behind changing labour market needs, we believe that at least businesses, as a more dynamic sector, should reconsider how they prepare youth for the challenging future.
We at NeuroSYS decided to contribute to raising the generation that won’t have a problem to fit in through meaningful engagement. This is how the tradition of hosting unconventional tech internships for undergraduates has emerged. And today we share its secret sauce with you:
Summer internship at NeuroSYS: how it works?
We choose to prepare students to the career in tech & IT by showing them the great potential of technology, discovering and developing their interpersonal skills, inspiring to dig deeper into the topics they like and fighting a fear of learning new things – because this is what truly matters in the context of the dynamic labour market.
Besides, what’s the point in treating interns like a low-cost labour only suitable for tasks that nobody else wants? Without serious challenges and meaningful assignments, such training is a waste. A trainee learns nothing and starts hating the future career from day 0. Whereas for a company it’s lost opportunity costs – an odd-job worker ready to run away asap instead of a loyal skilled specialist onboard.
And when it comes to pair programming… I’ll just leave this here:
That’s why instead of monotonous repetitive tasks and shadowing, students at NeuroSYS work on their own project built around one of the suggested problems. How they proceed with it is up to them, since they get a full ownership over the project. The only compulsory part is to use new technologies from the range that we can provide support with (artificial intelligence, machine learning, augmented reality, indoor positioning systems), work in the team, and deliver what they plan in time.
Such an approach aims at developing students’ creative and critical thinking. During their time at NeuroSYS they learn how to answer the “why?”, “how?” and “what if?” type of questions, not just store knowledge in their heads. In this digital age, it’s essential to be able to navigate in all the data available rather than memorize it.
We surround students with mentors, trainers, a Scrum master, and a wide range of specialists who can advise on where to look for the necessary information, help with the process but impose no guidance or compulsory directions.
We do our best to create a real commercial atmosphere around the interns’ projects. Everyone in the company acts as a stakeholder – eager to see the progress and help if needed. So from time to time, we all gather for a demo, where interns present what has been done and get feedback from others. Being in a focus of everyone’s attention combined with full freedom of actions proved to boost self-discipline and self-management within the internship project team.
We organise workshops and training on the subjects that interns are interested in or required for the project. This year students opted for Scrum, React, .Net Core, Machine learning (object recognition), and career advice. Moreover, we encourage interns to use our newest hardware (MS Hololens, a robot arm, an IoT platform, a deep-learning robot etc.) in their projects.
The internship ends with the final demo and a lil hunger games integration:
This year internship was rated 9.3/10 by the students and got very positive feedback:
I love the idea of making an internship as a students’ project. Everything (except for the general project theme) was up to us: technologies, the form of application, roles in the group.
The innovative idea, technologies that interest me and a possibility to use Scrum in practice helped me develop professionally within these two months. The outcome of our internship is not only the fixed hours spent working, but a tangible product that we managed to create. I find this very motivating.
We believe that such form of engagement is a win-win for both the company and students. You can read our thoughts on how it can benefit businesses and our takeaways from the last summer internship.
Tips for potential applicants: how to get an internship?
The next round of our summer internship is still a while away from now, but it’s a high time to make sure you’ll be the one selected for it.
We’ve talked to our HR specialists about selection criteria, and this is what they advise to future candidates:
We search for students who are proactive and as passionate about technology and innovations as we are. And for us, an indicator is how a candidate distributes his/her time and energy.So if you say you’re interested in a certain area, we expect you to prove these aren’t just words. Tell us how you got enthusiastic about this topic and what you do to develop yourself in it. Any extracurricular activities is a plus, of course.Even if you tried yourself in something before, but it proved to be not “your thing” - don’t hesitate to mention it and explain why it didn’t work at the interview. This means you’re not just guessing about what to do in life, but put an effort in finding this out. There is no other way to find yourself without trying and failing - it’s natural and we appreciate it.
Our internship can teach you many things. But if you aren’t open to development and growth, we won’t help you.Develop your natural curiosity. When you finally find the thing that you’re passionate about - do everything possible to develop yourself in it.Usually, the university alone isn’t enough for that. Try to do more things that can help you stand out from the crowd: read books, take online courses, participate in related events, competitions, hackathons… There are so many opportunities around that usually don’t cost a thing! All in all, you can create your own project or try your chances as a freelancer or a volunteer while studying.
… We hope you’ll find this useful. If you want to hear more IT career advice on our blog in the future – give as a sign 😉