Authority Partners Lab is a program for young engineers seeking the first-hand experience in software development. The 16-week internship offers an opportunity to learn from the best and work with the latest technologies on exciting enterprise projects. Only the best applicants get the chance to become a part of this process, and they are guaranteed a life-changing experience. The interns grow from inexperienced engineers to capable professionals who join Authority Partners to tackle problems of the modern world.
While the improvements in the technical skillsets of the interns are unquestionable, we have always valued other, many non-technical skills our interns learn. These become pillars upon which their professional career is built. It is not enough to learn how to code; they need to become real professionals and engineers working independently. This prepares them to tackle all the upcoming challenges and enables them to work with demanding clients.
As, perhaps, the most important characteristic of any professional, taking responsibility for one’s own work can come in many forms. From showing up on time to delivering results before deadlines, it is very important to be a responsible team member in a cooperative work environment. The whole team often depends on individual team members’ performance. Estimating the amount of work (or time a task would take to complete) is an important part of the software development life cycle planning phase. Commitment by team members to their estimations and deadlines is an aspect of work that poses a big problem to many young engineers. Working on individual or university projects rarely has this aspect, and practice through working on projects during AP Lab gives the interns a real challenge. This is a challenging skill to master, and it’s important to start practicing as early as possible.
Most of the applicants for the internship program have the solid entry-level technical knowledge and a few projects already completed. However, these projects are mostly done as side or university projects and don’t demand serious involvement or teamwork to complete. Because of this, they lack experience in teamwork, lack a sense of inter-team dependencies, and don’t have a real appreciation for the scope of projects that can be tackled when working in an efficient team. Superstars who are used to code for a team of 5 quickly get overwhelmed by the enterprise level of work they need to complete. It is both a humbling and inspiring experience. For many, this is the first time they discover the real potential of teamwork and cooperation. By working together, individuals embrace teamwork in order to complete a common goal.
When faced with a two-week sprint, interns are often very optimistic and relaxed because of the impression that two weeks is a long time. Engineering students (and students in general) are masters of completing tasks as close to the deadline as possible. Being presented with 10 full working days seems like a lot. This quickly stops being an issue when the first problems inevitably appear, and time magically runs out. Managing time becomes one of the key skills to learn to navigate the whole internship program successfully. Synchronizing all five team members to work together is an even bigger challenge. Each of the interns has the opportunity to try out their skills by being a team leader for a sprint. Since working hours are not strictly defined, interns need to organize their time to deliver results before set deadlines.
Engineering is a profession where things have to go wrong. This happens to everyone regardless of the size of the project or experience level, and issues often come when they matter most. Dealing with these can be very stressful but is a necessity in professional life. Through learning debugging, problem-solving, and, most importantly, patience, interns can learn that troubleshooting is a regular part of the working day and should not be feared. An engineer that masters this skill is an invaluable member of their team and any company.
The quality of the delivered product is one of the key metrics in the software development industry. Time spent on fixing bugs is time that is not spent on developing new features—because of this, being detail and quality-oriented is one of the most important characteristics of capable engineers. Learning when to be detail-oriented and when to sacrifice quality in favor of delivery can also be an important but tricky skill to master. When faced with an audience of your peers and future colleagues, the project our interns are presenting needs to demonstrate quality and results.
While going through the internship program, most people focus on how their technical skillset is improving. Without even realizing, they become professionals ready to join AP and begin their exciting career.