It’s summer intern season again!

Over the years I’ve grown to really appreciate mentoring interns. My early intern mentorship experience was at a company that used interns like they were Mechanical Turk. Our interns did grunt work for a few weeks without really ever getting a chance to learn and grow. It wasn’t a great environment for the interns and it was a bummer for contributing engineers because we had to watch someone waste their summer.

My experience with interns for the past few years has been completely different. Instead of watching interns whither away at monotonous tasks, I get to watch them own development of a feature with real customer impact. It’s more fulfilling for them since they’re doing actual valuable work. And it’s more fulfilling for the team because we get to watch them grow.

Every year I give our interns the same piece of advice. Don’t worry about the product. Don’t worry about the code. Worry about your development. The success of an internship shouldn’t be measured by objective code output, but rather by subjective experience. If the intern feels like they’ve benefitted from the program then it is a success. In my eyes their growth is all that matters.

Good luck 2024 summer interns. Keep learning!