There’s nothing quite as exciting and terrifying as landing your first proper job, even if it’s a part-time internship. Our interns discuss the personal lessons they had the opportunity to learn at the start of their professional careers.
Internships programme is our way of giving students a chance to gain real work experience and prepare for the challenges of working in the industry. For most of them this is their first workplace, so we make sure that we guide and help them so they could get the most out of the experience.
We asked three of our interns from different departments to share some of the best lessons they learned during their internships at Degordian.
Elizabeta, (Account Department Intern for 1 year)
Never settle for just OK, because the great is out there
As a marketing student, I’ve always felt textbook knowledge wasn’t enough to fully grasp what working in marketing is really like. I wanted to use what my college courses have taught me and apply it on real business cases.
I also developed an interest in digital marketing which advances faster than books can follow and the only way to be up to date is working and researching this marketing segment every day.
When deciding on my first step into the digital world, it was important to find a workplace that would fit my temperament. Working in a suit-and-tie environment was never my thing and I could only ever imagine myself working in a communicative and dynamic atmosphere.
All this inspired me to take the leap into digital and apply for an internship at Degordian. It turned out to be all I wanted, and more.
I have all the opportunities I was missing during my studies – to learn from experienced people, work on real cases and amplify my knowledge.
Dedicated work really does create opportunities
I’ve been a part of the Degordian team for over a year now and I have acquired more knowledge than I could have ever expected.
As soon as I started my internship as a Community Manager, I learned to multitask and prioritize. I managed more than twenty social network pages and each had their specific content, communication and occasionally active Facebook applications.
From the very start I had great support from my team leader, she was always available and willing to guide me. In this kind of working atmosphere I was motivated to proactively ask for more client servicing tasks.
I was curious about the background of every task such as monthly reports, research or preparing the presentations and I felt me understanding them was important if I wanted to do valuable work for clients.
The Account team recognized my enthusiasm and gave me the opportunity to advance my knowledge and go in the sales direction. As an Account Intern I manage less brands in comparison to my previous position, but the scope of working on a brand is wider. My work also includes a full understanding of all of Degordian’s products, digital strategies and traffic. I do a lot of learning by doing and it’s a great opportunity to develop myself, this is something that constantly keeps me motivated.
Tomislav, (Development Department Intern for 1 year)
Great things happen when you don’t limit yourself
During my interview I expressed an interest in developing mobile apps and my inclinations did not get overlooked when I started my internship.
My first assignment was to build an Android app for our existing Mediatoolkit web tool for real-time media monitoring. That’s a very complex tool with a lot of features so I was actually a little surprised with the great deal of trust I was given to develop this app.
Being the first and only mobile developer at the firm, it was pretty scary to start with a project like this even though I had a fair share of experience in developing some simpler Android apps. I didn’t know what lies ahead and if I’ll even be capable of finishing it as a well-working and usable product – this entire Android app depended on me and that was frightening. Or at least seemed that way at the beginning.
The truth is, I was given a great deal of support by the people I’ve worked with in the process (my project manager, backend developers, designer) and they all gave their best to make it as easy as possible for me to focus on the development of the Android app itself. So, even though I didn’t have a mentor that would lead me through the mobile app development process, I didn’t lack help from experienced people.
Finally, I’ve finished the app and it actually worked pretty good and looked even better. What a relief. That was my proudest moment and I actually can’t describe how fulfilled and accomplished I felt, and it felt even better when we went public and we got great reviews. That really confirmed my value at Degordian, and I knew that my colleagues really appreciate my contribution as well, regardless the fact that I am “only” an intern.
Insecurity is part of the learning process
Now I’m here over a year, and when I look back, I see how much I’ve grown on that project specifically and learned more than I could ever imagine in a relatively short time.
Things I’ve struggled before with now I can solve without a problem and most importantly, my motivation and drive have grown and it pushes me to make every next thing better than the last one.
My time at Degordian really shaped me in a professional way and strengthened my confidence as a mobile developer. Being backed with a lot of support and trust, I’m not afraid to take new challenges. By doing that, with every new feature or functionality that I have to implement, I’m expanding my knowledge which is not only appreciated by Degordian, but also by any other employer out there.
Hrvoje, (Design Department Intern for 2 years)
Deadlines are not your enemy
When I started working here, my schedule got filled up really fast. I knew that it was going to be harder for me to do all the stuff for college now that I’ve got extra responsibilities, but it turned out even more difficult than I thought. I was having problems with managing my timeframes and tasks, every deadline seemed too tight for me to do all the work. It was becoming very frustrating to work like this and I was determined to make a change in the way I deal with everyday tasks.
I started organising my day and began to respect the time I have to complete my tasks. As time passed I got better at time-management, and believe me, I do not waste time that easily anymore.
I realized that the more time I have to complete my tasks, the more chance I have to drag it out and do a sloppy job. The workload actually makes me organised and focused, and everything is getting done in time. :)
A sunny disposition is half of a job well done
In the design department we are all good friends. We motivate each other and try to keep a healthy and positive atmosphere in the office because over the time we have learned this is one of the greatest ways to keep your creativity going. Of course, it’s not always sunny in Philadelphia.
Often you’ll think you don’t have the time, resources or capabilities to do what you’ve planned. The key is not to look at this situation as a problem, but as a challenge that you must overcome.
For me, a positive perspective and problem-solving attitude proved to work the best on cloudy days. A positive outlook opens my mind on how to cut corners to save time, find resources when there isn’t any and build up capabilities. By keeping your spirits up and discovering a new angle, you’ll find yourself doing all that you’ve planned and still getting a satisfying result!
You’re only growing if you’re taking in the good and the not so good
Working on a large number of projects means you have to work with a lot of people, be it clients or colleagues. It took me time to adopt a relatable and professional approach, but I learned how to communicate with different personalities and handle various situations.
I started appreciating the feedbacks I receive, positive and negative. I think them through and take in as accomplishments or just something that I need to work on to make into accomplishments.
The things I’ve gotten to experience and draw from during my ongoing internship have made me a better colleague, better friend, a better person and I can’t wait for what’s next.