When I started my internship in the summer of 2018, I truthfully did not know what to expect from the upcoming months. I had applied for an internship position at Playtech at the end of my second year of studies towards a Bachelor’s degree in Informatics at TalTech. I won ’the long battle of applicants’ for the Java Developer intern position, but that was just the beginning of the mysterious journey lying ahead - the internship.
Since I derived my expectations regarding the internship mostly from other people’s experiences, perhaps my internship diary can help future Playtech interns with setting theirs.
As probably many other interns before me, I also dared to dream of passing the internship program with flying colors and, therefore, hopefully, at the end of it, receiving the opportunity of becoming a permanent member of the team. I was determined to turn my aspiration into reality.
Without having any significant prior work track record or experience as a developer and having heard various stories from other college students of both disappointing and successful internship experiences at other companies, I tried to set my expectations correspondingly to others’ feedback. I was hoping for the best but expecting the worst, thus guaranteeing that any surprises coming my way had to be pleasant.
Internship diary: Week 1
On my very first day, I was dressed for success, ready to absorb all the new information. I knew to expect an absolute information overflow. After receiving a brief introduction to casino gaming machines, our product in the Videobet unit I joined, I was sent to the QA department for the rest of the week so that I could learn more from having a hands-on experience with the product through manual testing. This enabled me to discover the main features interactively at my own pace.
I also had additional in-depth information sessions each day covered by my future teammates. The opportunity to get acquainted with the product in QA beforehand certainly made it easier to follow the information shared during these sessions. Still, as expected, there was a lot of new knowledge to acquire, more than one could take in at once. Thankfully, my team had accounted for that and was always there to refresh me on the more complex topics.
Internship diary: Week 2
The second week started with me joining the Java development team. I could not expect them to entrust me with any development tasks at first, so being already prepared to write unit tests, which is considered a common starting point for interns to settle in, I was surprised to hear what they had in mind. It was not unit tests, although it did involve testing. They handed me the server load testing project - it was an already existing project, used to measure server performance at the end of each development cycle.
My role was to refactor the project by following a provided to-do list, run server load tests, and compile comparative reports. Obtaining an adequate overview of the load testing system took time as I wanted to investigate all the details that were not included in the initial introduction on my own, asking as few questions as possible.
But whenever I could not figure something out on my own, my team was there to help me. Additionally, my team invited me to attend all the team meetings from day one and often encouraged me to express my opinion on different matters within my competence.
Internship diary: Weeks 3+
I continued working on the server load test project for the rest of the summer. As I got more familiar with the project, I was able to present my suggestions as well for improving the load test. So the refactoring to-do list grew longer.
But of course, the internship period did not only involve working. There were plenty of entertaining social events throughout the summer. One of my favorite events included our Tallinn intern team and mentors going mini-golfing after work and later ending the evening at a pub, watching football. We the interns had not had a chance to bond that much before as we were situated in different teams, but this event brought us closer together.
During the summer, I even had the honor of organizing a team event. My manager had come up with an idea to take the team horseback riding, and I helped to breathe life into that plan. None of the team members had much previous experience with horse-riding, not to mention everything that comes with it - horse grooming and saddling up. So it was both an entertaining and an educational activity for everyone, and I enjoyed introducing my team to something that I loved.
Internship diary: from internship to a full-time job
As summer was drawing closer and closer to the finish line, so was my internship. Though those few months as an intern had only felt like weeks, I could notice my self-growth. My technical knowledge and problem-solving skills had greatly improved. Besides the technical aspects, I also felt a lot more confident in the social aspects of work, such as expressing myself in daily stand-ups and team meetings.
Overall, I was feeling more and more convinced that this was the right profession for me, and in the end I was fortunate that there was a vacancy in the team and that my team thought I was worthy of the position. Thus, on one memorable day, I was offered a Junior Java Developer position, and my positive reply was quick to come.
The internship gave me the chance to find my place in the world of IT and the company, an opportunity I am highly grateful for. As a full-time member of the team, I still enjoy the continuous self-growth from meeting new challenges every day.
I would suggest the Playtech internship program to anyone interested in experiencing everyday life in a successful international IT company while also developing their personal professional skills and finding their place in the field of IT.