This is a different typeof blog post than I usually write. What started off as a quick reply to a question on Slack turned into a full article.
Whether you internship is 3 months, 10 weeks or you're just shadowing someone for a day, it's important to approach every experience with clear expectations. I always try to go in with a plan and an ask for the end of the internship. My usual goals are:
Networking. Understand who you should be introduced to, their goals and how to make a positive impression on them. For example, what teams are growing? In what capacity? You might meet a senior developer who's looking to build a new team, but what is their timeline? It's not enough to know a team is growing, but also if and how you can have a positive impact. Maybe the new team is only looking for experienced engineers.
Ask a million informed questions. To me networking is meeting people in dev, in HR, admins and trying to develop a genuine connection with willing to talk to you.
Learning. Internships are a great introduction into that field and company. It's a low stress way to get experience because interns are not expected to know anything about anything. There's no pressure to wow people because the primary goal of an internship is to learn. There might be companies taking advantage of students for free or cheap labor, but they are the exception.
So I always try to pinpoint the biggest and best takeaways for the program. It might be a better understanding of what they’re looking for in terms of new hires, getting more comfortable with their stack. Some interns want real project experience that they can highlight on their resume. No matter what, there's always something to learn
Follow up. For me, followup isn't just follow through, but also understanding what that that followup should look like. If you can, try to figure out what the next step would be before you leave the internship. Confirm how to follow up, who to follow up with and if possible, set a timeline for it.
Ideally, you will leave the internship with several people in the company willing to vouch for you with the hiring manager or the team.