My internship experience as a Product Engineering intern in Circles.Life
Written by Wonn Jen Lee
Why did I choose to become a product engineering intern at Circles.Life?
I chose to take up a role as a product engineering intern as it was one of the basic skills of a software developer, and I wanted to gain some experience in that role. I applied to various companies, but I chose Circles.Life as it is in a growth phase. I wanted to experience the challenges and solutions of working in a company that was in the midst of scaling up its processes.
How is my experience as a product engineering intern?
I have learnt a lot from the time I spent as a product engineering intern. In the beginning, I was as uncertain and confused as can be, and hesitated to make minor changes to existing code, in fear that I may break it. And yet now I find myself refactoring a large part of applications and pushing them to production with confidence.
This was partly due to the onboarding process, which gave me a chance to learn the intricacies of the services, and also to build up my confidence through making smaller changes in the code. It was also during this period when I got to know my team, which played a big part in my journey. I learnt a lot from Sudaraka (my team lead), as well as my other teammates, about the different services and frameworks used. Sudaraka also gave weekly tech talks which were an interesting change of pace, and allowed us to gain a better understanding on different technologies.
Nearing the end of my internship, I got the opportunity to take up tasks as part of a company wide initiative to resolve long-term technical debt. It was slightly daunting, as the pace that we were expected to work at was pretty fast. There were periods when I was quite stressed about it. But I always made it through the week, and could tackle the issues again fresh the next week. It was also here that I got to work with more people from other teams, and learn from them as well. This period was both the most tiring, but also the most fulfilling period.
The only downside to this whole internship would be that it occurred during the COVID-19 period, which meant that I was largely working from home. Nevertheless, my team still found time to occasionally meet in the office and go out for lunch. The company also had various initiatives which were pretty fun, such as a cycling cohesion and a virtual lunch!
How do I find Circles.Life?
Circles.Life is a place where everyone is encouraged to grow and learn. In my time spent at Circles.Life, I was mainly working on the Config Manager (CCM), which is an internal service used by the other developers. I had the opportunity to decide on the changes which I wanted to make, which was something that I had not expected. It gave me a sense of ownership, and motivated me to do the best I could. And after making the changes and deploying it to production, it makes me proud to see other people using the service that I had worked on, and giving positive feedback.
What did I learn from this internship?
One of my greatest takeaways from this internship would be learning how to work with different groups of people. As compared to working in school projects, which usually involve only a few people, working in a company requires interactions between not only my team, but people from other teams too. This coordination between different groups was a new experience for me, and something that I had to get used to. But by the end of the internship, I had made quite a few friends with people from the other teams, and I am glad to have been given the opportunity to work at Circles.Life!
Here are 3 tips on how to make the best of your internship:
1. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
It’s good to try and solve problems by yourself, but don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need! The people working around you would be glad to help you out. And by asking for help, you will be able to learn something new as well!
2. Have an outlet to release stress
After a long day at work, it is important to have some way of releasing your stress. Personally, I will take some time each week to go for a run when I’m feeling stressed. People work better with moderate amounts of stress, and it will help if you have a method of releasing stress, be it through exercise, watching shows or playing games.
3. Don’t just focus on the skills
Internship is not just about the technical skills that you pick up. The friends and connections that you make are just as important, and they make going to work a lot more fun as well. The people that you meet at your internship, and the experiences that you have are what makes things memorable!
Lee Wonn Jen, is currently a final year student at Nanyang Technological University Singapore (NTU). He has just completed his 6 months internship at Circles.Life as a product engineering intern.