Software Engineering Internship: The Value of a Strong Mentoring Program

Jim / September 7, 2016 in 

BTI360’s Software Engineering Internship with Mentorship

Take a second to think about the mentors you have or have had in your life. Think about the impact they’ve had on your personal life, your education, or your career. Now, pretend that you never met them and you never learned those lessons from them. I’m sure you’ll agree that your knowledge base just got a lot smaller.

Mentors can provide valuable insight and guidance as you move through your career — no matter what stage you’re at but especially early on. I’ve learned many lessons and experienced personal and professional growth as a result of having a mentor beginning during my software engineering internship. So I’d like to encourage you to seek out a mentoring relationship if you don’t have one already.

My Experience Prior to BTI360’s Software Engineering Internship

While in college, I learned quickly that it was never about writing the cleanest, bug free code. It was about getting a “good enough” grade. In fact, I never even knew how to write a unit test until I entered the real world! I remember one assignment that I spent hours on. I got to a point where I was so frustrated with the assignment that I decided to give up because I knew it was “good enough” even though there were bugs in my code.

My take away?

  • Unmaintainable code is ok as long as I could maintain it until I turned it in.
  • Sharing code was considered cheating at my school. It would also raise the grading curve.
  • Unit tests? What are those?

I had great teachers that taught me the theory and the syntax. However, I didn’t know how to work on a dev team, and I didn’t hold myself or my code accountable — I never really had to!

When I started a software engineering internship at BTI360, I subconsciously brought those same approaches and ideas from college with me. I felt like a pretty good programmer in college, but BTI360 trained me to be a “software engineer.”

  • I had to maintain code. Wait, what??? I thought I could start over once the assignment was due.
  • Other people were writing code in MY code base. I thought I wasn’t supposed to share?
  • How do I know that what I’m writing isn’t breaking the codebase that everyone is contributing to? Ohhh, that’s what unit tests are for.

So I had to learn how to become an awesome programmer. It’s seems pretty daunting trying to reprogram yourself to think differently than the way you were trained throughout college. Fortunately I learned I didn’t have to do it alone … I had a mentor.

Why Is Mentorship Important?

A mentor is someone who will not only help you grow but also hold you accountable for the work you do and the goals you set. In software engineering, there are so many different areas we need to focus on to be the best we can be. Learning and mastering technologies, becoming a reliable teammate, and writing clean and unit tested code are just a few of the areas we need to master. Having a mentor who can share their experiences will help you become the best engineer you can be.

What’s BTI360 Doing About Mentorship?

BTI360 understands that the jump from college to the real world is a big change, and we want to provide the tools, including mentorship, along the way that will help our young professionals make that transition smoothly.

The Summer Software Engineering Internship

Starting the summer software engineering internship for the first time can be a little overwhelming: new teammates, new technologies, new code base. BTI360 pairs you with two mentors that you’ll meet with on a weekly basis. These regular meetings help you build a strong mentoring and teammate relationship. They will be there to help you overcome obstacles and answer any questions you might have. Did I mention you also get free lunch during these mentorship meetings?!

After Graduation

At BTI360, mentorship doesn’t stop after you’ve graduated from the software engineering internship. As a full-time teammate, you’ll work on a project, which will be exciting and overwhelming. BTI360 will support you along the way. Our goal is to place you with a teammate who will mentor you and help you grow as a better software engineer, leader, and teammate.

The mentorship that BTI360 provided me was invaluable. I learned what clean code meant and was held accountable during code reviews. My mentor taught me leadership lessons and helped me through difficult relationships with non-BTI360 coworkers. He even helped me grow as a leader. I built such a good relationship with my mentor that I’ll even be in his wedding this fall. BTI360’s focus on mentorship not only helped me become a “next level” software engineer, but also helped me create very strong friendships and an enjoyable work environment.

Are you a Software Engineering Major?

Currently in your junior year at school, looking to put your technical skills and knowledge into practice? Then BTI360’s College Hire Program is for you. Get a head start on your professional career and gain valuable, hands-on experience through our paid, summer software engineering internship program.

Are you a soon-to-be Software Engineering Graduate?

Perhaps currently in your senior year as a software engineering or computer science major? Well, transitioning from college student to a young professional in the “real world” can be a time full of excitement and apprehension.

At BTI360, we develop you, a young engineer, both personally and professionally, helping you establish the skills to succeed as a versatile and valuable leader on your software team. Check out our opportunities to become a full-time BTI360 Teammate after graduation!


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