It was the last day of my third year, and I was packing my bags to go back home. Lots of companies had visited our campus for summer internship recruitment, and I didn’t get selected in any of them. It was frustrating to go through the selection procedure of every company and finally get rejected. Most of my friends were going to intern in companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Samsung, etc.
Then on the last day, I got a mail asking if I would be interested in intern in a stealth mode startup based in Bangalore. I was not excited about joining another startup. In the past, I had interned with two startups, and the experience was great, but not again. The person who mailed me had seen my Windows Phone app development articles on a few websites(Tuts+ & Windows App Tutorials) and was impressed by my profile. Here’s an excerpt from his mail.
“I came across your profile and liked your articles which you have published on tuts and your other blogs. I was wondering if you like to intern with us in coming summer vacation and help us with our Windows Phone app.”
I enquired about the work and other details, and finally, he convinced me to come to Bangalore and work with their team blindly. He didn’t give out details about what they are building.
The next two months were incredible. Later on, I came to know that its another startup(Zeta) from Directi’s founder Bhavin. The team had engineers from Google, Facebook, Microsoft, LinkedIn, and Directi. I was the only fresher(or intern) in the team, and others had at least 3–4 years of experience. The work was excellent, and I never felt that I was just an intern. I am not very good at algorithms and competitive coding, so it was impossible to imagine working in Directi, which has one of the most stringent selection procedures.
It was a completely new experience for me. I hadn’t worked on projects at this scale where there were proper teams to handle server, client, infra, UX, platform, etc. Directi was incubating it, so they had enough resources in spite of being a startup. Directi’s tagline resonated perfectly with every single individual in the team,
“Intelligent people, uncommon ideas”
Everyone was self-motivated and very excited about the work we were doing. Even the other teams in Directi didn’t have a clue about what we were building. Intense discussions, priority log meetings, daily standups, and weekly team updates were a part of the work schedule.
As an intern, I was grateful to have an excellent mentor and a great team. My mentor made sure that I got work that would be learning new things and not repetitively picking up similar tasks. We had weekly one on one interactions in which he discussed how I could utilize the coming weeks in a better way. For most of the internship, I didn’t know who was my official mentor as I could go and get help from anyone. I was amazed to see that the terms we came across in our Software Engineering books were being used/implemented here. Another good thing about this internship was that I was not assigned a side project which had no impact on the main project. I was able to contribute to the main project from Day 2. My contribution was over 60% in a team of 4 to the windows-client codebase during those two months.
It was a life-changing experience for me as one day, I was packing my bags to return home, and on the next day, I was flying to Bangalore to work in a ‘stealth mode startup.’ I got an opportunity to work in one of the best teams with a great mentor and arguably the best stipend that any company that visits our campus offers(except Codenation, but it didn’t select anyone). It got a lot sweeter when they offered me a pre-placement provide about a month before my internship ended.
The farewell couldn’t have been better with a team lunch(with funny farewell speeches) and an excellent gift from the whole client-side team :D. They kept bugging me to stay and complete my BTech later :D. I realized that they were serious when Ramki asked me to explain why do I need to complete my BTech :