Taking on a group of new interns might seem like the last thing a company would be thinking about during a global pandemic, but despite all of the difficulties that Covid-19 has brought with it, that's exactly what Gearset has done. Four software engineering interns and one marketing intern (me) all joined the team in July for a period of ten weeks. We decided to get together and share our experiences, explaining what life is like as an intern at Gearset.
Starting a new job and working from home are each pretty daunting prospects. Add them together, and you might think...nightmare! Most of us felt anxious about how this would work. Getting to know a new team and learning a bunch of new skills remotely doesn't sound like the easiest task, but, as Sam says, "I shouldn't have worried! Gearset did everything to make sure I was comfortable, sending a brand new laptop, monitors, and other computer tech - even offering to provide a new desk and chair if I needed them."
Our first week struck a good balance between learning about the product, meeting the team, and starting to produce our own work. We had the chance to attend lots of virtual onboarding workshops which were run by people from a range of different departments, giving us insight into Gearset's open, collaborative nature. "Everyone you work with feels more like a friend than a colleague," explains Matt, "and that makes the experience quite unique." With a fantastic team to offer guidance and support, we were able to produce real, impactful work from the get go.
What we do
At Gearset, we work on the same projects as any other member of the team, which is incredibly rewarding. "Gearset has a flat structure," explains Blair. "Throughout my time working on the product, I’ve spoken directly to the head of product design, and my decisions have had a clear impact on the app." Similarly, in my first four weeks as part of the marketing team, I've already had the opportunity to write several blog posts, create a customer story, work on this month's newsletter and help boost Gearset's social media presence.
Learning on the job has some serious benefits, too. "I'm getting better at navigating a huge code base because of Gearset's reviewing culture," says Sam. "My work gets checked, and I'm also checking and trying to understand other people's code, which means I'm learning very quickly." For many of us, working in this type of environment is a completely new experience. "Learning a lot of new information can be quite overwhelming," adds Matt, "but it's easy to contact any member of the team through Slack if you've got a question."
In addition to this, each intern has a mentor from within their particular department. "I can be quite an anxious person, so it's been really helpful having a specific person to talk me through things and to offer a helping hand," recalls Sam. "They keep track of how your internship is going, so you never feel abandoned." Will agrees, "it’s been such an important part of the experience."
All work, no play? No way!
Even though Covid-19 means that we don't get to experience what it's like to work in the office, Gearset has created an active and lively social life online. It's easy to connect with other people from the company through Slack, and there are a whole range of interesting channels outside of work. You can bond with co-workers over everything from sourdough recipes🍞 to cute animal pictures in #animalympics 🐈, and there's always someone hanging out in #buffalo-tea for a brew ☕.
During our first week at Gearset, we took part in an 'intern quiz', which helped us with getting to know more of the team - especially since it unleashed our competitive sides! Every few weeks, there's also a 'drink and learn' event, where different people from the company give 'lightning talks' while we all have an afternoon soft drink or beer.
The best bit? Being part of the Gearset team
As you can probably tell by now, being an intern at Gearset is pretty damn good. But what's the best part?
Sam, who's going into her Masters year at the University of York, thinks it's the friendly atmosphere. "Everyone is so nice all of the time! Plus, the Friday takeaways aren't too bad either."
Matt, going into his fourth year at Southampton, agrees: "Even though we're working, I can still be myself. It sometimes takes me quite a while to feel comfortable socializing with new people, so I'm really grateful that Gearset is open and accepting."
For Blair, a soon-to-be third year student at St Andrews, and Will, who's about to start a Masters degree at York, it's about the impact we make from day one. "Seeing that our work makes a difference is a great feeling."
I'm about to start my third and final year at Durham, so for me, the feedback culture at Gearset has been incredibly valuable. I know that when I start my dissertation, I'll have developed the ability to criticize my own work and think more deeply about how each word on the page makes a difference. Beyond university, that's an important skill for life!
Even though we didn't know what to expect when we first started our internships from home, it's clear that now, despite the distance between some of us, we all feel proud to be part of the Gearset team.
Want to join us?
If Gearset sounds like the kind of company you want to be part of too, check out our job vacancies.