It’s day two of the summer hackathon! We’re enjoying each other’s company, and making good progress on our app and coding challenges.
Today l had the pleasure of getting to meet our interns for the first time. They join us from Germany, Italy, Bulgaria, and Romania, and fit right in with our international team. Over the coming months, we hope to share more updates from them, but today l thought it would be a good opportunity to outline the TIMIFY Internship Program – how it came about, and what our hopes for the initiative are.
The TIMIFY Intern Program
We’ve been wanting to offer Product Team internships for a long time. The reason we held off, is because we couldn’t find an approach that we believed would offer real value.
Back in January, our Head of Engineering, Razvan, and Front End Developer Ardi, re-visited the subject over dinner. “The starting point of the conversation was our pain point: the realisation that we urgently needed to grow the team,” Ardi explains. Attracting developers in a saturated market is a challenge in itself; attracting those who share our company culture is an additional hurdle. “The culture fit is critical,” emphasises Razvan.
The conversation snowballed, and Yanko, Head of Front End got involved. Three core elements were identified for the program: theory, 1:1 coaching, and on-the-job experience – getting interns to tackle “real” system issues.
Initially, the plan was to partner with a university, to out-source the theory element. But after multiple conversations with university professors, two things became clear.
“We realised we wanted more control over the syllabus, and more flexibility on the pace of learning. At that point, we figured if we shoulder the theory element, we have no choice but to cut down on the number of interns we can take on”Yanko, Head of front enD
After four months of brainstorming, refining, and getting buy-in from the product and management teams, a plan was finally in place. Entry criteria was established; time needed for coaching sessions was allocated; and the syllabus was ready. Yanko took ownership for the program, and it kicked off the first week of April.
“The goal is, each intern leaves the program with significant coding knowledge and industry insights, that will propel them forward in their career. And if their pace matches TIMIFY, we can offer them a full time position”Razvan, Head of Engineering
Ardi continues, “We’re not looking for “superstars”. We’re looking for potential: students and graduates who are hungry to learn. The opportunity is there for interns to join the team, and ultimately shape the development of our software – and even the industry.”
The program runs for six months, and is divided into two stages: three months theory, followed by three months hands-on. Each Monday, a number of online tutorials and coding challenges are allocated. Fridays are 1:1 coaching sessions, with four members of the Product Team. Remote learning has its benefits; interns can partake without needing to uproot to Munich. And they benefit from a variety of teaching styles, thanks to the rotating coaches.
“The interns have different strengths, and varying levels of knowledge. It’s our job to nurture them, to give them the support they need to flourish” explains Ardi. Knowledge sharing is important, too. “A professor imprinted that on my mind. l wouldn’t be in the position I’m in right now, if others hadn’t taken the time to help me. It goes full circle,” Ardi continues.
“We’re just two months into the program. So it’s still early days. But we feel sure the core philosophy of the program is right,” Yanko reflects. “And It marks a new chapter in the company history.”
Intern First Impressions
The Hackathon event is the first time the interns got to meet each other, and the Product Team. Here’s what they had to say.
“Being here is motivating and fun. There’s an energy that comes from all the team being together; working, eating, playing tournaments. You can really sense the energy and it feels amazing. It inspires me to work hard on our hackathon challenges.”Nikolay
“I’m Munich based, which means I’m lucky enough to spend time in the office already. That’s my highlight so far: seeing everyone deep into their work, the teams interacting – it totally inspires me. I can’t wait to get involved in “real” projects. For me, working front end, and seeing a design come to life is really satisfying.”REA
“Right now, l work full time managing databases. I want to learn more, and explore other opportunities. I’m just not sure which direction l want to take. The internship is the perfect way for me to explore a career in software.”Jurgen
“I was already pretty sure I wanted to pursue engineering as a career. But getting hands-on experience and being given the responsibility that comes from being part of a team -and working on actual system issues – is what I’m really looking forward to.”Stefan