My Summer season Return Internship @ Slack: A Information on Constructing on Previous Experiences

Embarking on a journey 

Stepping out of SFO with the familiarity of the fogginess of town, my story at Slack unfolds as soon as once more. As a return intern, I discovered myself prepped for an additional thrilling summer time, and this chance encompassed a renewed sense of anticipation — a mixture between identified pathways and new adventures.

Returning to an internship can usually really feel like slipping again into a well-recognized routine, very similar to driving an outdated bike. Nevertheless, this time round, the gears really feel a bit totally different. It’s not only a return to the acquainted, however a chance to construct upon the teachings realized throughout my first summer time. Navigating as a return intern whereas hoping to attain distinctive experiences is undeniably invaluable and necessary. So how will we benefit from our brief 12 weeks right here? 

Assembly the Voyagers, Cell DevXP, and myself 

  • I’m going into my senior yr at Rutgers College, majoring in Pc Science.
  • I used to be a return intern to Slack on the identical staff as final summer time, Cell Developer Expertise.
  • I used to be primarily based in San Francisco for each summers (2022 and 2023).

Leveraging previous voyages for present successes

I interned on the Cell Developer Expertise staff, aka mDevXP. As talked about in this weblog submit, the staff works on bettering the event expertise for cellular engineers at Slack (therefore the identify) and builds options to empower builders to ship code with excessive confidence and velocity, whereas additionally having a pleasing and productive expertise.

The information I gained from the BuildKite undertaking was pivotal after I returned to Slack this summer time. With the stable basis of understanding improvement intricacies from my earlier position, I ventured into a brand new undertaking – making a customized plugin for Android Studio, named Skate.

Skate is a begin to deal with lots of the ache factors skilled by Android builders at Slack. I had began the Skate plugin undertaking and applied a “What’s New” Panel characteristic that might take a changelog Markdown file and parse it to simply present the most recent modifications by date.

The panel shares info in a “stickier” manner, by offering Android builders at Slack with extra visibility to remain up-to-date with the most recent updates, bulletins, and information inside Slack. This permits us to get related info instantly within the software our builders are all day by assembly clients the place they’re.

It was actually cool to develop Skate as a result of it was the staff’s first expertise in creating intelliJ plugins, and in addition my first time contributing to an open supply undertaking. It’s named after me as properly, Kate & Slack, so it’s good that my identify will all the time be within the plugin!

The abilities I received from final yr – understanding tech stacks, navigating codebases, and communication – all grew to become instrumental. Exploring totally different facets of the mDevXP’s operations — on this case, the shift between scripting, Python, Android, and iOS — was extremely enriching. This exploration not solely expanded my technical proficiency but in addition broadened my understanding of how versatile a staff might be. I got here to understand the fluid dynamics throughout the staff, and the adaptability required within the tech panorama right here at Slack. Regardless of having totally different tech stacks, the abilities have been nonetheless transferable. 

Reaching the vacation spot: What can I do to benefit from my internship?

Asking questions and posting updates in public channels

Considered one of my favourite components about Slack is how a lot we worth our personal product in day-to-day improvement and work. I like how engineers, managers, and designers are all accessible through DM, and bulletins are adorned with emojis and a plethora of reactjis as properly. The vast majority of undertaking channels being public additionally contributes to the transparency tradition, which is useful for interns too, since there may be documentation of their work in these channels.

Issues I’ve realized from working at Slack

  • By default, all the time preserve it within the channel. I had a public channel #proj-android-studio-plugin to submit day by day updates of my undertaking, and I’d additionally submit all the things else within the channel for visibility. Until you’re requesting direct assist from somebody, it’s all the time higher to maintain it public. Some examples are:
    • Questions and blockers that you’d in any other case DM somebody about. Begin a thread dialogue because it retains an organized documentation of what you have been caught on, and the way you result in the answer
    • What you’re at the moment researching and studying
    • Thrilling updates and milestones about your undertaking!

  • Listed below are additionally just a few shortcuts that I realized from engaged on the intellij plugin, which I stored in a canvas doc in my channel:

  • Have async conferences if potential. It’s higher to deal with issues offline than hassle busy devs with conferences!

Reintroducing your self and constructing new connections

As a return intern, it’s necessary to re-introduce your self to the staff, because it’s been a yr. Don’t hesitate to reconnect, particularly with members you could not have interacted with as a lot the earlier summer time. Or, if there are new members, be happy to achieve out and arrange a fast 1:1 chat.

Right here is my recommendation for 1:1 or “espresso” chats:

  • Have a minimum of 1:1 per week with a brand new particular person on the firm (if not two)
  • Analysis a bit in regards to the particular person’s position and getting ready questions for them
  • Arrange a free assembly agenda of what to speak about
  • Attain out to individuals for those who see one thing cool or attention-grabbing! For instance I used to be scrolling by way of an Android dogfood suggestions channel and noticed a message from an accessibility PM at Slack, and realized a lot about what it takes to make the product accessible throughout desktop.

Reflecting and receiving suggestions

Considered one of my most precious classes I’ve realized as an intern is the significance of suggestions and reflection. Together with conducting your undertaking, you’re additionally rising as a person within the office and business. Here’s what I’ve discovered useful all through my internships.

  • Ask for suggestions frequently: Don’t be afraid to ask!
  • Write it down: We’re not superhuman, and it’s simple to overlook typically. It’s all the time a good suggestion to jot down it down to trace your progress.
  • Act on suggestions: Getting suggestions is ineffective till you act on it, and folks will even be inspired to present you suggestions in the event that they see it accounted for in actual life.
  • Give suggestions too: Suggestions is a two-way road, and sharing constructive suggestions along with your staff members, mentors, and supervisor will create a tradition of two-way communication, and it’ll profit you and your staff with steady enchancment.

What I’ve realized

As return interns, we’ve got the distinctive benefit of leveraging our earlier information in regards to the staff and our staff members, making this exploration much less daunting and extra accessible. We’re in a chief place to be taught and take up as a lot as we are able to, from acquainted duties to thoroughly new domains. It’s one of the rewarding experiences, and these 12 weeks will go by rapidly. Don’t overlook to take pleasure in your time, get to know everybody, and in addition to have enjoyable. 🙂

Taken with interning with us? Apply now