17 January 2020

My Journey from Student Intern to International Developer

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GearedApp Team

Hi everyone, my name is Aleks, a Mobile Developer at GearedApp. It’s finally 2020, inspired by the decade review trend I’ve been thinking back to my experience with GearedApp. In this blog, I will be sharing my internship experience with GearedApp and how I ended up working remotely from Bulgaria!


Why I Did the Internship

Like many other software dev students, from the first year of my course, I was constantly reminded that at some point I would have to do an internship if I wanted to be in a good position to find a job after I graduated. Once the third year of my studies was underway, and half of the people in my course were doing placements with different companies, I decided that was about time I went out there and found myself an internship. With that said, the opportunity to do that pretty much came to me, as I had the option to do a work-based internship as part of my second-semester modules.


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Finding the Internship

Once having signed up for the work-based internship module, I started looking for mobile development companies in Edinburgh. I sent an email to GearedApp, asking if they would consider taking an intern, which resulted in a video chat with Lara and Andrzej. Prior to the video call, I was expecting an interview with complex questions which made me pretty nervous. To my surprise, it was the complete opposite. Instead of the usual interviewer – interviewee environment, we just had a casual discussion of my experience with software development and my expectations of a potential internship, which was pretty awesome. Soon after the call, I received an offer for an intern mobile developer position in GearedApp.


The Internship

On the induction day, I was provided with a detailed plan for every week of my internship, including two weeks of react native focused training. During the whole internship, I completed training including completion of online courses and code assignments. In addition to two projects, one of which was a client project where I had the chance to learn how a software company uses source control and overall developing foundational source control knowledge. I also had the opportunity to learn, discuss and share opinions with professionals that have extensive experience in the field of software development. Even though everyone had their own stuff to do during the busiest periods, every time I asked any questions they were answered. However, it wasn’t like I was spoon-fed, it was more like I was given guidance and then I could then go and find the answers myself which really helped me learn independently.


The Takeaway

The most important thing I feel that I learned was how to use source control in a standardised way that companies require from developers. I also managed to see how an actual company operates, which is something you cannot gain from lectures and theories from university. At first, I started my internship with an okay knowledge of android development, but not to the level where I could start working straight away. From the internship, I managed to expand my knowledge of app distribution and learned a lot more about mobile development in general. Although my internship was focused on software development, working with a company that designs the applications as well allowed me to understand better the whole process of software development.

In 3 months at GearedApp, I feel like I managed to learn more than 3 years in university. I learned a lot of important skills like how to apply good practices that I wasn’t aware of before. I was hesitant about an internship in the beginning, but I soon found out that it’s 100% worth doing, which is definitely the biggest takeaway.


The Finale

Looking back at the whole internship as an experience, I’m extremely glad that I finally decided to get out of my comfort zone and allow myself to learn a lot of new things about the software development field. I feel like I was very lucky to meet the people from GearedApp. Without their guidance, I am sure that I wouldn’t be standing here right now saying that my internship was a very successful experience where I learned so much more than I expected.

After my internship, I was offered a permanent position but after completing my degree I recently moved back home to sunny Bulgaria. My contract was then changed to one where I was able to work remotely. During the stressful transition, GearedApp was able to, and continues to offer me flexible hours so I am able to work from home whilst I settle down. Despite being so far away from everyone, I am able to work just as normal, the only difference being communication, which is now fully reliant on video calls and slack messaging. Working remotely from home has allowed me to be in an environment close to family and friends which has put me in a great place mentally, making me feel more productive at work. Once I’ve fully set up my own office space here and settled down, I look forward to booking a flight back to Edinburgh to visit the team and be surrounded by the familiarity of chippies on every corner and fresh Scottish air.

I hope that sharing my journey will inspire other students to get out and try to get as much experience as possible. I have also learnt that anything is possible. It’s important to find an employer that has a positive attitude, and one that you feel comfortable with to have those difficult conversations. I am so happy to have had the experiences I have had at GearedApp and am very much looking forward to what lies ahead!