What makes a winning Intern? Make an instant impact at your workplace

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Alex joined Makerere University in 2016, majoring in computer science. He had a passion for software development. While still at MAK, Alex devoted a lot of free time to self-study, going beyond the curriculum to learn about the latest technologies and programming languages. This dedication involved participating in free online courses, joining coding forums, and even contributing to open-source projects. This extra effort helped to build a solid foundation in software development.

In the final year of study, University students are required to find internship placements to apply their theoretical knowledge in the work environment and gain practical skills. The internship retention rate is always low due to poor work ethic and on job performance of most interns. Alex got an internship opportunity at a mid-sized tech startup in Kamwokya, Kampala, Uganda’s equivalent of Silicon Valley. Initially tasked with basic data entry and assisting in project meetings, Alex quickly displayed a keen aptitude for software development. Driven by curiosity and a proactive approach, Alex started to contribute to the startup’s main product by suggesting improvements and even developing small features in their spare time. As I love to say, “You cannot easily hide an elephant.” When someone is truly outstanding, know staff or supervisor can easily hide the impact and contribution they bring to the team.  Alex stood out immediately. He was not only quick to understand the tasks assigned but also proactive in identifying areas where the company’s technology could be improved. With a strong grasp of software principles, Alex began suggesting optimizations and enhancements that created instant app success.

This ability to apply theoretical knowledge from university in practical ways, coupled with the additional skills gained from self-study, made Alex a valuable asset to the company.

Recognizing Alex’s potential, the company offered him a mentorship under the lead developer, and an offer for full-time employment after the Internship period. This opportunity allowed Alex to refine their skills further and take on more complex projects. Within a year, Alex was pivotal in redesigning a core component of the product, which significantly improved its performance and customer satisfaction.

Alex’s innovative ideas and commitment to excellence led to a permanent position as a junior developer, quickly followed by promotions to senior developer and then team lead. His journey from intern to a core member of the team at the company serves as an example of how dedication and seizing opportunities can lead to remarkable career advancements.

Copyright Mr Strategy, 2024. All rights reserved.

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