6 truths about interning at a start-up
At Internshala we post a lot of internship opportunities in start-ups. Now interning at a start-up is not quite like interning anywhere else, and it’s best to be prepared before you make a decision. Read on about the benefits and challenges involved in interning at a start-up.
1. Hard work and responsibilities: – A start-up is a small team, and when they hire new members, they’re looking for someone who can make an impact. Big companies can afford to hire interns who don’t do much work, but start-ups cannot. Expect to have more responsibilities than you would get anywhere else. At the same time, don’t expect defined work hours and weekends off.
2. A diverse experience: – Start-ups usually don’t hire super-specialists for every job, and even if they do, these specialists have to be good at other things too. You cannot say, “This is my area of expertise and I cannot do much else.” Expect to dabble in areas that are not part of your job description.
3. A cohesive team: – There may be exceptions, but the team at a start-up is usually very friendly and good at working together. You will make great contacts and will have every opportunity to network. Reaching out to another team member for help is also easier in a small team.
4. Dedicated mentoring: – Your mentor will generally take their job seriously and you will not be left on your own until you figure things out. Although the founder or mentor will be extremely busy, expect to receive guidance and feedback whenever you require it.
5. Involvement: – To make your internship worthwhile, you need to be really involved in the company’s activities and truly believe in its goals. Expect your opinion to be asked for and for it to have importance.
6. Changing priorities: – In start ups, course corrections or changing priorities is quite a common thing. The code that you spent a week writing is no longer needed and there is something else more important and urgent you may get shifted to. Be ready to to deal with such knee jerk changes and use them as an opportunity to learn to adapt really fast.
Interning at a start-up has its challenges and its risks (the company may not succeed), but the experience is worth it. Nowhere else will you get the same amount of opportunities to learn new things, and need we mention that it looks great on your CV?
A word of caution: once you’ve interned at a start-up and liked it, nothing else may seem exciting enough!
Have you ever interned at a start-up? Tell us about your experience. Planning to intern at a start-up? Voice your doubts!
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