About the author: Vinay Kumar is a final-year UG student of Electrical Engineering at Delhi Technological University. He recounts his experience of securing an internship at Solid State Physics Laboratory (SSPL), DRDO during the pandemic.
The first time I heard about DRDO was at a workshop in my college. Since I had a keen interest in doing research work on embedded systems, my seniors suggested that I go for an internship at DRDO. They explained how doing an internship at DRDO would not only give me some work experience but also help me with mentorship.
At the beginning of March, I began the process of looking for an internship at DRDO. However, I was unable to find any internships online. This could be because unlike internships for computer science, hardware-related internships were hard to manage from home. Since I could not find an internship online, I got in touch with a few scientists on LinkedIn. Although I did not get a positive response from most scientists, one of the scientists forwarded my application and documents to the concerned department. Even then, I did not get any response from the organisation. After writing several emails to nine labs out of fifty two labs that DRDO has across India and not getting anywhere with the application process, I realised that this might not be the best way to secure a DRDO internship. Therefore, I decided to visit one of the labs along with a friend who had a similar experience.
Once we reached there, the officials told us how the lab receives two to three thousand emails every day regarding an internship there, and it was infeasible for them to select among these many applications. Moreover, these applications were from all over India, and they could not offer an entirely virtual internship as the students might have to come in once or twice during the internship. So, the best solution is to apply for an internship at the nearest DRDO lab.
We submitted all of our documents, including a resume, cover letter, no objection certificate, referrals, result from the last semester, and my college identity card at the reception. We also wrote an application addressed to the director of the lab. After a few days of our visit, I received an email from the office regarding my selection for an eight-week internship under Shri. Raj Kumar Gautam. As soon as I read the words ‘HRD SSPL’ in my phone notifications, I jumped up in excitement. The moment that I had been waiting for months had finally arrived!
On my first day of the internship, I had a video call with my mentor, Raj Kumar Gautam, along with other interns. He gave us a virtual tour of the lab, and we also got to talk to two other scientists. When the time came for picking a topic for my project, our mentor gave us the freedom to choose any topic that we may be interested in. However, I decided to go with the one suggested by him as I knew that I would be able to get proper guidance about that from a senior scientist. So, over the next eight weeks, I worked on “Study of Read-Out Electronics for Shortwave Infra-Red (SWIR) Imaging Technology.” It was a group project, and I worked with four other interns to complete the project.
Since this was my first time working on infrared, I learnt a lot. The schematics of the embedded circuit were created online using software. This project was an excellent way to get hands-on experience in the field as our practical exposure had been limited ever since the college classes had moved online. At the end of eight weeks, I submitted the research report to my mentor. On the very next day, I was called to receive my certificate.
Although the process of getting an internship at DRDO might seem difficult, especially given the current situation, it’s doable if one persists!
Now that you know about the application process at DRDO, go ahead and apply! If you are looking for more research internships, then you can register on Internshala and check out internships as per your preferences.