Implementing an Internship Program

Liz Rodriguez

Senior Director of Software Engineering at TopQuadrant



We enjoyed having interns, like we had in the past, but knew what we were lacking was a structured program to support their worthwhileness in the organization.

Actions taken

  • We created an internship committee within the web organization where we established a full spectrum of representation from all of our teams and that branch out to each of the areas within the company. In that combination we have a previous intern, a recent associate engineer hire, an architect, a tech lead, and a front end expert.
  • The committee vets interns who want to work with us and we have a coding assignment that we run through with these interns as they come in. From there, we all make a decision together on whether or not they would be suitable for the internship program.
  • Once they arrive for the program, the interns are assigned a team and a mentor within the team. The mentor is responsible for helping the intern set up their development environment, answering any questions that they have, introducing them to the rest of the teams, and guiding them through how things work. We usually have volunteers for this mentor role within the company who would have certain criteria to meet, including being with us for a while so that they know they system and are able to answer questions. If however, there are no volunteers, we pair them with someone who we think would be most suitable on the team.
  • The interns participate 100% in all of the work scrum activities. They are considered embedded as part of the team for those three months and work on everything that the team is doing.
  • We also incorporate activities throughout the internship program where we go off and do a community service project, as well as, schedule lunches with the interns and their mentors.
  • At the end of the internship there is a big presentation where the interns get to present to the entire organization. They are usually very good presentations where they go over what they worked on, their favorite parts of the internship, things they learned, and sometimes they will talk about what is next for them.

Lessons learned

  • It has proven to be a really good program from which we usually hire one intern per year.
  • We have learned a lot from the feedback we have received from the interns.
  • Providing interns with projects that the teams are already working on allows them to see their work go into production. This is much more uplifting for them instead of being giving off projects that never see the light of day.

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Liz Rodriguez

Senior Director of Software Engineering at TopQuadrant

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