2020 was unexpected and full of challenges for us all. Although Playtech moved its summer internship program to autumn, it turned out to be very popular and as many as 28 interns started climbing their career ladder with us last year. Ria-Sadu and Maarja-Liis were two of them who we interviewed so they could share their experience.
Maarja-Liis is currently a second year student at the Haapsalu College of Tallinn University, studying Applied Computer Science. For her internship, she joined our Testing group as a SQA (System Quality Assurance) Engineer intern. Today, she’s in the shoes of a Client QA Engineer in our Casino unit.
Before starting her internship with us, Ria-Sadu had previously worked at the Estonian Ministry of Finance in the field of Regional Administration Policy and had coordinated teacher education at the University of Tartu. As an intern, she also joined the SQA team but currently, she holds a full-time position as a Technical Account Manager at Playtech.
Class of interns 2020
Where did you get the idea to apply for Playtech internship?
Ria-Sadu: Most of my work experience was from the public sector and I wanted to try out something completely new. I looked around and realized that technology and IT-related companies would be perfect, although without an IT-background, maybe hard to reach.
Testing seemed to be a field where my-kind-of-people could fit in. I took an online course in basic programming at the University of Tartu and read a lot about testing. Then I went for a job interview at Playtech. They did not choose me for that position but suggested applying for an internship in the quality assurance team.
Maarja-Liis: Before applying for the internship, I had had my eye on Playtech for a while and dreamed of joining the QA-s. As soon as Covid was over and they started hiring again, I actually applied for a full-time QA position but got rejected – but as giving up was not an option, I decided to apply again for the internship and luckily got accepted!
What did the hiring process look like for internship?
Ria-Sadu: You fill in an application form on the Playtech webpage and choose the position you want to run for. Second step is an interview with the respective team lead and a home assignment. The application process started in March, but everything got locked down due Covid-19. To my disappointment, the summer internship got cancelled. The greater the surprise in September when I got a call from Playtech asking if I wanted to apply for the autumn internship. Of course I did!
Maarja-Liis: Unlike Ria, I applied straight for the autumn internship program at the end of the summer. I was actually on a road trip around Europe with a broken laptop and filled in the application on my phone, and also did the test assignment using that – while by a lake in the mountains, in southern Germany!
My interview took place after completing the assignment – it was with the two potential mentors from the team and an HR Generalist. A few hours later HR gave me a call with the results, and that’s when the "yes" word was given!
Is Playtech all about IT or can you become an intern without previous IT-studies?
Maarja-Liis: Well, it is definitely good to have basic knowledge, but as said, all positions do not require it on an advanced level. For me, my previous background in IT and obtaining a degree Applied Computer Science helped me to adjust and understand everything better.
Ria-Sadu: I would say it depends on the field you are interested in. There are jobs where programming skills are not a must. Of course, it was difficult for me in the beginning. My brain was flooded with new information and I made a huge effort to remember all the bits and pieces I saw or heard. Soon it dawned on me that – as always – it is not most important to know everything, but to know whom to ask or where to look for information.
What did you expect from the internship? Did you get what you were looking for?
Maarja-Liis: My main expectation was to get as much hands-on experience as possible, accompanied by a clear understanding of whether QA Engineering is really the path I want to follow with my career – I can say both expectations were fulfilled.
Ria-Sadu: As I said before, I craved for a leap into the new and unknown. Here everything was new: working for a big international unicorn, using new software programs, working in English, and the whole internship program as well. Just like Maarja-Liis I wanted to learn as much as possible.
My mentor Liisbet answered my endless questions and quickly involved me in real work, which felt good and scary at the same time (“…what if I mess up something?”). The team was very supportive, and everything worked out just well.
What was the most difficult part of the internship?
Maarja-Liis: Hmm, I think the fact that due to this pandemic, most of the internship was done remotely. Don't get me wrong, it's great to work from home, but I can only imagine what the whole experience must be like under normal circumstances.
Ria-Sadu: I guess for me it was the period when I thought that I have already learned so much but felt that I still knew so little. I wonder if children feel the same way when they learn to walk. Once the adult lets go of your hand and you must start taking the steps on your own.
Which were the highlights of your internship?
Ria-Sadu: We had one joint event with the whole group of interns when we went climbing at the Tartu Adventure Park. The whole year had been quite awkward because of Covid-19 and doing something fun and exciting together just felt so good. Climbing up high in the trees was a a moment of overcoming my limits for me. It felt extra good at the end of the day eating pizza together.
Maarja-Liis: I am a bit jealous here, as when I went to Tartu from Tallinn for the interns' event, it got canceled due to bad weather! So, I think my highlight would be that my mentor, Eva, trusted me enough to throw projects at me already early into the internship – thanks to that, she gave me a chance to learn a lot during a short period.
What do you think are the personal qualities that help an intern get the most out of this experience?
Maarja-Liis: Willingness to learn and ask questions! There are no stupid questions here.
Ria-Sadu: First words that popped up for me are curiosity, an open mind, and commitment. And good two-way communication is always of great help.
Both of you are now working at Playtech but not on your internship positions. How did you land these positions?
Maarja-Liis: Quite early into the internship I knew that I wanted to stay at Playtech for real - I loved the experience, the people, and the job itself. At the beginning of December, nearly a month before the end of the internship, an open position came up in another department, in Casino Professional Services Team for Client QA. I consulted with my team lead and mentor, and they both recommended applying.
Quite quickly I had the interview and got told that they would happily have me join! I am very glad though that I did the internship beforehand, as everything I learned during that is still relevant to my new position as well – one can never have too much knowledge! In general, a 10/10 experience and would definitely recommend!
Ria-Sadu: We both knew from the start that my System QA team cannot keep us after the internship ends. Of course, there were days when I was hoping for a miracle to happen that would allow us to stay. I was happy when our internship was prolonged until the end of the year and it lasted for 13 weeks instead of eight.
I also discussed my plan to apply for a vacancy in the Service Operations team
as a Technical Account Manager with my team lead. New year begun with the great
news that the TAM-team gladly invited me onboard. I would probably not be here
if I had not applied for the internship in the first place. The internship
helped a lot – both when running for the new position and now going through the
What are the things you value the most about the internship or Playtech in general?
Ria-Sadu: It was great to see how well things were organized prior to our internship. Everything was planned and put ready for us. I loved the team support and knowing you could always ask for help. It was extra important when we worked remotely from home. I also noticed how great an effort Playtech makes to give its employees the feeling of belonging to one big work-family. I guess it is not easy when your people are spread over 24 countries.
Maarja-Liis: I completely agree with everything that Ria said - the team and organizational sides were both amazing. As I also mentioned before, the fact that as an intern, you are a full-time member of the company and your team – it really gives you valuable hands-on experience and knowledge.
What would you suggest to people who hesitate whether to apply for the internship or not?
Ria-Sadu: Go for it! At Playtech and overall. It is an intensive learning process which takes one out of their comfort zone. A great way to find out how you feel about the work, the company and about yourself.
Maarja-Liis: Well, there really is nothing to lose – so do it! Your time will not be wasted and you can broaden your skillset as well as knowledge – all of this will come in handy in the future.