The internship – for many young people today it’s a given step in the process of shaping their future. One of the last outposts of our youths, or one of the first bridges to cross into adulthood. Taking this step can be daunting and as you’ll soon learn, it might not turn out as you expected.
As you probably know, doing an internship is about gaining practical experience in the working environment, and preparing yourself for a future as one of those boring adults with bills to pay, by getting (and keeping) a job. Sometimes an internship will result in a job offer – not an unusual occurrence here at Testbirds where several employees transitioned into their current roles after starting out as interns.
“We quickly started working just like the “regular” employees and after going from intern to employee there really was no difference in the work at all.” – Julian & Kosti
As I’m writing this, the reasons for finding our way to Testbirds vary only a little among us interns. The main reason is, as mentioned, to gain experience in some way, although with different pasts and futures. Among us, we’ve come from bigger companies, from other tech companies, from tech-related studies, and non-tech related studies. Our futures also differ between continuing with current studies, moving on to a Master’s degree, or converting the internship into that boring adult job we all need.
“I had my first internship in a big company. That’s why I wanted to get to know the other side and gather my experience in a start-up. When I started here in Munich, I quickly got in touch with my colleagues and was able to take on my own tasks relatively soon.” – Felix K
With the purpose of gaining experience you don’t have, I think it’s reasonable to say that it’s normal for a soon-to-be intern to not know what to expect. This was the case for myself and other interns at Testbirds – we knew roughly what sort of tasks we would be given but were pleasantly surprised by the range of tasks, and the degree of involvement and freedom.
“One week before I started I was called by the HR department, asking if I would be okay with going to a customer’s site for testing. During the first half of my internship I spent a total of 8 weeks on site, testing an IoT device with the customer’s employees. That’s something I definitely didn’t expect – I think it’s very uncommon for an intern to spend so much time at a remote site and to become part of such a big project from the very first day.” – Annika
Having recently gone from start-up to scale-up, Testbirds has a transparent, relaxed working environment with flat hierarchies and open communication. We quickly learned how this allowed a wide scope of responsibilities and opportunities, even for interns. Personally, I thought I would be doing grunt work like proofreading, translating, and occasionally writing an article for this blog. I was quite wrong though – of course these tasks were part of my responsibilities but, I also had the freedom to bring my own ideas to the table and join interesting projects that others were working on.The relaxed environment allows flexible working hours and the choice of working from home when needed, which was a godsend in my struggle to balance the internship with a demanding university schedule and a satisfying social life. Work-life balance is an important aspect at Testbirds, even for interns.
“My expectation was that it would be a tough program and that I wouldn’t have a life outside work anymore, but I was wrong. Testbirds gives me the right opportunity for work, school, and life balance.” – Niels
Some companies might see interns as a welcome entity to dump menial tasks on without any regard for them as a person, but this is definitely not the case at Testbirds. A recurring observation in my research for this article is that we don’t feel like we’re interns – we all feel like full-fledged and valued members of the organisation, which raises the level of commitment and engagement in our work.As you’re treated as a regular employee rather than an intern, the work you do doesn’t differ much from what others are doing. You might start off with smaller, supporting tasks while you’re learning the ropes but you’ll quickly progress to bigger responsibilities – we’ve all had the chance of taking on projects where we had full responsibility. For example, within project management this means handling a testing project on your own, for business development you’ll be handling a deal with a client from first contact to (hopefully) closing, in human resources you could be responsible for implementing a new system for personnel management, and so on – but you’ll also always have the support of experienced colleagues. These colleagues might also teach you that you’re by far the worst FIFA player in the office, as one intern in Munich found out.
“I learned a lot about how to organise myself, take responsibility, and handle deadlines. Overall, my internship helped me grow as a person, and be more job-ready in a way my studies could never prepare me.” – Jonas
Not being “just an intern” also grants you the freedom to say no – if you have too much on your plate already you won’t get overloaded with more tasks. You are, of course, expected to deliver on deadlines, but how you prioritise and allocate your time along the way is up to you. You might misjudge your planning, but at Testbirds we know that being an intern is an experience where you learn from your mistakes. You’ll reflect on projects and see how to do better next time, you’ll realize that communication across cultural barriers can be confusing and difficult sometimes, and you’ll definitely learn the importance of using a calendar to plan your time.
“We want to maximise the contribution of our interns so they’re able to not only support, but be an equal part of the team. We’re happy to see many of our interns enjoy their internships so much that they stay and become permanent members of our nest.” – Human resource department
Interns are important at Testbirds. We bring in new mind-sets, curious personalities, and fresh perspectives to the team which is a positive influence on everybody’s work and workplace. We’re trusted to learn about the business and take responsibility over tasks and projects on our own, in order to grow into our role, and as people. Testbirds and the interns get a chance to see if the work culture, tasks, and skills are a good fit for both parties. Our experiences have been great and Testbirds continues to be present at university job fairs as part of our recruiting strategy to make students and graduates aware of us as an employer. If you’re interested in growing with our company, we’d love to meet you there and talk about our future together at Testbirds.
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About the author
Fredrik is our International Marketing Intern, splitting time between university and our office here in Amsterdam.
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Testbirds specialises in the testing of software such as apps, websites and Internet of Things applications by using innovative technologies and solutions. Under the slogan, “Testing Reality”, the company offers various testing methods to its clients looking to optimise the user-friendliness and functionality of their digital products. With over 250,000 registered testers located in 193 countries, Testbirds is one of the world’s leading crowdtesting providers. In addition, the IT service provider utilises cloud based technologies to support customers in the optimisation of their digital products. The combination of the two testing methods delivers a unique and extensive portfolio that takes the quality of software to the next level. Testbirds was founded in 2011 by Philipp Benkler, Georg Hansbauer and Markus Steinhauser. Today, the company has over 100 employees. Other than its headquarters in Munich, there are now offices in Amsterdam, London and Stockholm, franchises in Hungary and Russia and sales partners in Italy.
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