Web development Internship at Innobyte – interview with Radu Marin

2020 has taught us that things are moving forward, that we can adapt and operate remotely very efficiently, despite social distance and the current context. July 2020 marked the beginning of the latest internship program organized by Innobyte, the first to take place 100% online.

Although cher biggest challenge this year was the way the internship took place so that the internship could take place, here that the online has said its word once again, and we are proud of the results. All four interns did very well and became our colleagues, full time developers.

 

Radu, software developer at Innobyte and mentor of the internship program, told us how it was, the challenges encountered and what the results were.

 

Q: What can you tell us about this year’s internship program? How was it born?

Radu: Organizing internship programs at Innobyte has become a tradition. However, much has been discussed as to whether and how to launch this program this year as well, taking into account the pandemic and restrictions on social distancing. We have been working from home since March of this year, and returning to the office was unlikely.

Well, here’s the good news from Alex, Head of Project Management at Innobyte, on a beautiful, warm end-of-June day. I was asked if I wanted to get involved in a new distance learning project. You realize that I could not refuse such a challenge, especially since I had participated as a mentor in last year’s internship.

This gave me the confidence I needed to lay the groundwork for what would become the Internship 2020.

 


“The biggest challenge this year was how to organize the internship so that it takes place, in the context of the pandemic and social distancing. We focused our efforts to create an adapted program, based on the online transmission of information to all interns, self-learning and then testing the knowledge gained. After the selection process, I started the internship program with 4 interns. ” Alexandru Tudor, Head of Project Management


 

Q: How did the selection process take place?

Radu: The selection process has been modified for this internship program, compared to previous years. We believe that the classic interview, especially one held via skype or telephone, in the absence of face-to-face interaction, fails to convey so well the passion, the level of knowledge and the motivation of the candidates.

I wanted to have a chance for all those eager to be part of the team. Thus, the process consisted of 3 stages:

Stage 1: Application period. The first step, made by the candidates, by contacting Innobyte and expressing the intention to participate in the internship program. The CVs were analyzed to check the current level of knowledge of the candidates. However, this step was not eliminatory, all the candidates who wanted to move on to the next phase were able to do so.

Stage 2: In this phase, instead of a classic interview, each candidate received a document with the requirements of a small project (low difficulty) for the development of a simple web application. The document contained the necessary specifications and the way of working, having a deadline for the development of the application of 2 weeks from the moment they received the specifications.

Stage 3: The third step was a discussion with each candidate. Within it, the candidates had the opportunity to present the application developed in the 2 weeks allotted.

Based on the results of the last 2 steps, each candidate received a score. The first 4 candidates (with the highest score) were selected to participate in the paid internship program, full time. The ultimate goal is that at the end of the internship period, depending on the evolution of the interns and their interest in staying in the team, they will become junior developers at Innobyte.

 

Q: This is the first 100% online internship organized by Innobyte. How did it go?

Radu: It is true that it is the first internship 100% online, but this has not changed much the structure of the internship.

Indeed, it was necessary to adapt it to the current situation, namely remote participation. The starting point was the structure of the program in recent years, to which small changes were made to perfect the processes. The desire to (improve) us is something natural in the learning and development process 🙂

The internship took place over a period of 3 months and was structured in 3 stages:

  1. Back to basics. We started with the basics of programming, a few rules, progressing towards the Object Oriented Programming part. Also during this stage I studied some technologies / basic notions to help the interns in the next stages. These include MySQL, PHP, Design Patterns.
  2. Magento. After the first stage of learning and recapitulating the basics for web development, I switched to Magento. As in the previous stage, we started with the basics, building along the way. This stage ended with a practical test. It had a fairly large share in the final results.
  3. Practice. After the test, each intern was assigned to a real ongoing project, along with other programmers , QA specialists and project managers. Each received tasks appropriate to the level of experience and received guidance from the team. During this stage, they had the opportunity to actively participate in the software development process, they were able to experience what are the daily challenges in a developer’s life and how to work on a real project .

 

Q: What were the peculiarities and challenges of this year?

Radu: The biggest challenge, from my point of view, was the fact that all the communication took place online, at a distance, unlike in previous years.

However, although we may sometimes feel the lack of human contact, face-to-face discussions, we were able to communicate and collaborate effectively. To lessen the impact of the lack of face-to-face discussions, we introduced a daily video call with the whole team. This call was a good opportunity to meet, both professionally and personally.

Also, the interns collaborated and communicated with Ramona, project manager. She frequently organizes video and telephone discussions with the team to discuss their journey and to “take the pulse of the team”, to identify their needs, how they feel, what they like and what they want.

 


“The first online internship organized at Innobyte was extremely successful, despite the challenges that arose with the pandemic and social distancing. We tried to create as many online interactions as possible, both through daily meetings with the mentor and through other online meetings to socialize and get feedback from them. What we love very much is that the intern team was very united, especially in a period when they work exclusively from a distance. ” Ramona Tudor, Project Manager


 

Q: Please tell us about the evolution of the 4 interns

Radu: From the beginning of the internship, I emphasized that the 4 interns make up a team first and foremost and that they must learn to work as such. I think this has helped a lot in eliminating a possible unhealthy competitiveness, which would more hinder them in the learning and development process, instead of bringing benefits.

All 4 interns had previous basic knowledge in programming, which helped them in the selection stage. During the internship, they managed to successfully build on this foundation, reaching, after 3 months, junior web programmers (Magento).

One of the things I enjoy the most is that they managed to form a real team and helped each other constantly during the internship.

 


“Given the limited availability of time for mentoring developers, this year I tried to find a more efficient solution. Making some changes to the teaching method, I managed to organize the program with a main mentor. Thus, this internship was not only one of the few programs developed in the current context, but it was also the most effective internship in the history of Innobyte, using limited human resources and yet having one of the best results so far. “ Alexandru Tudor, Head of Project Management


 

Q: How would you describe your experience as a mentor?

Radu: It was a challenge for me as the main mentor of this program. It started from a different approach than in previous years.

Unlike last year’s internship, where I was quite a lot of mentors, this year I had the opportunity to get much more involved, given the fact that I held the position of main mentor during the 3 months. Any experience like this gives you an extraordinary space to grow. It helped me that I went through with the interns all the material and notions from the internship phases, I can say that I also settled the bases. Overall, it was a constructive experience for me, it helped me develop both as a mentor and as a programmer (and human).

In conclusion, I thank all those who were involved in the Internship 2020 program, both the Innobyte team and the intern team. It wouldn’t have gone so well without them. See you at the 2021 Internship! 🙂

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top