Why Interns Work on Our Most Important Products
For us, it comes down to acting out a key principle that makes the Integrity Way work: trust.
When you hear the word “internship,” do grunt work and pointless coffee runs come to mind? At Integrity, we’re determined to get as far away from that stereotype as possible when it comes to our internship program. In fact, we assign our interns to some of our most important projects.
Some might call us crazy for putting new developers in such significant roles. But for us, it comes down to acting out a key principle that makes the Integrity Way work: trust. Here’s why we trust our interns with our most important products.
We believe in the skills we've passed on to them
Before our interns jump into coding, we take time to equip them with the skills they’ll need for software development work at Integrity.
Our internship program begins with three weeks of building a fictional application together. We focus on building new technical skills as well as learning the Integrity Way of working. We spend time on this to give our interns a solid foundation in what they will be doing for the remainder of their time with us.
By the time they begin working on a project, we have ensured that they have the tools they need to be successful. This is the same way we train our full-time developers. We believe in the success of these skills so much that we don't have any reservations about anyone who has them working on our most critical products.
We believe in the interns
Whether it’s an intern or a full-time developer (in the best cases, it ends up eventually being both), we look for people with certain characteristics rather than just hard skills. You can expect any Integrity employee (intern or full-time) to be a team player, enjoy collaboration, value relationships, embody Integrity’s core values, and know how to respectfully challenge an idea.
We believe that these characteristics are what make developers successful. And since our interns are screened for and demonstrate these qualities, we don't worry about them working on our key projects.
It's best for the interns
For most, the whole point of an internship is to gain experience for the next career stage. Grunt work doesn’t accomplish this well. It does a disservice to the skills the intern has gained so far and defeats the purpose of the internship.
Our interns work on real software for real people. This not only makes progress on work we want and need done, but it also gives our interns the experience they came for. Working on real projects gives them a skillset and level of understanding that would be almost impossible to gain by working on routine tasks or artificial projects.
We believe in trust
Ultimately, the values that Integrity subscribes to require that we practice a high degree of trust in our team. Assigning interns to only "safe" tasks shows that we don't actually trust their competency; we're afraid they're going to screw up something important.
We refuse to view our people that way. We trust people to perform, we trust people to own up to their mistakes, and we trust our ability to quickly get back on track.
We place our interns on our most important products because we believe in giving them an authentic and productive experience as they’re setting the foundations for their careers. We want to show them a side of the industry that prioritizes people, and our hope is that our interns will take these same values wherever they go from here.