An AT&T Foundry Intern’s Guide to Being an Intern: 7 Tips for Success

July 05, 2017
By Camden Krupala

Take a trip with me to the Internet of Things (IoT) AT&T Foundry. A variety of projects – both completed and ongoing – fill the lab. Here, some of the brightest engineers in the industry help bring ideas to life.

This isn’t your average group of engineers. They tackle unique problems in the expanding IoT ecosystem. I got to intern for a whole year in this special innovation center.

Throughout the year, I worked on several projects submitted by big name companies. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I also worked on my undergraduate senior design project, the Connected Health Station.

At the AT&T Foundry, I learned many new concepts and revisited some from school. And I had a blast doing it all. I gained priceless experience and knowledge along the way. As my internship draws to a close, here are 7 tips to a successful internship—and career for that matter.

1.         Make connections.

This might seem obvious, but the first thing you should do as an intern is get to know the people you work with. The first day, week, or even month of your internship may be a little stressful, but you have resources to help you out – the people you work with! Get to know their strengths and where their passions lie. This will help you during your internship when you aren’t sure about an idea or the next step.

2.         Ask questions.

This is critical. There can be a lot of acronyms and technical concepts in the tech industry. Don’t be afraid to ask those questions. Remember those connections you made when you arrived? They’ll know who can best answer your questions. It’s important to make the most out of your time there. Don’t hesitate to ask questions – it’s the only way to learn.

3.         Talk about your ideas.

If you have an idea or thought, say it. Put yourself out there! There are no bad ideas. Introducing new concepts can help the ideation process, and it may even trigger another idea by someone else.

4.         Be curious.

Take advantage of any creative freedom you are given and act on your ideas. You never know where your curiosity will take you. Never stop learning and exploring new ideas and concepts. Stay up to date and research new topics, ideas and projects whenever you can. They might come in handy.

5.         Fail.

Learn something from your failures. Failure happens all the time. Your greatest strength will be the ability to pick yourself up and try again. An internship, like life in general, is an opportunity to fail, learn and succeed. Also, accept critiques to your work and ask for feedback – it’s an opportunity to refine your skills and improve your knowledge.

6.         Watch the clock.

Manage your time wisely. Make to-do lists. Maintain a calendar – whatever you need to do to stay on track and organized. Overestimate time it takes to accomplish certain tasks. For extra things you need to get done, keep pockets of free time. If you find yourself in a bind, communicate it and make people aware. They will appreciate the heads up and will be willing to work with you.

7.         Have fun.

Make jokes, laugh and smile. It sounds cheesy, but it will help you relax and make your internship considerably more enjoyable. Have a shared interest with a co-worker? Talk to them about it! People love talking about similar interests.

A special thank you to Craig Lee, IoT AT&T Foundry director, and the team there for making my time as an intern something I will remember for the rest of my career. To all future interns out there: I encourage you to enjoy the ride and learn as much as you can.

 
Camden Krupala - AT&T Foundry Intern 

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