Some of the most rewarding internship experiences are those that both implement already-learned skills and contribute to personal and intellectual growth in ways that an academic setting cannot stimulate. Yeabkal Wubshit, a junior Computer Science major, held an internship in which he was able to apply his knowledge on a real-world platform. Wubshit was an Engineering Practicum Intern with Google in Sunnyvale, California, in the summer of 2018. His primary responsibilities included building libraries for verification of Google service accounts, and ensuring the authentication and authorization of service accounts.
Wubshit described his experience as the “best internship, because you work with some of the best computer science specialists in the world, you do something significant, and you get a good experience with working with others in a relaxed environment. Everyone is very excited to be there and very passionate.”
450 out of 50,000 applicants are accepted for this internship with Google, making the acceptance rate less than one percent, but Wubshit made a competitive candidate. He had conducted an on-campus project with NASA and other personal projects on mobile applications, and he is a member of the soccer team and the Programming Team. After the initial application on the Google home site, Wubshit had two highly technical phone interviews, including doing online coding over the phone.
One unexpected aspect of the internship, in Wubshit’s opinion, was the level of responsibility and freedom afforded to Google’s interns. While it was overwhelming at the beginning, he remarked that helpful coworkers, great resources, and a very positive environment all supported him. Accustomed to projects in an academic setting, he appreciated the challenge an internship in the computer science field presented: “If you write just one extra line of code, it could cost your company a million dollars, whereas it wouldn’t matter if you messed up in an academic setting. Whatever you do truly matters and is being used everywhere.” Wubshit expressed how gratifying it was to be so involved. “It’s crazy to think that part of my project is being used millions of times every second. It’s awesome to think I am a part of something being used worldwide.”
Wubshit enjoyed the internship so much that he has applied again for summer 2019, looking forward to making even bigger steps in pursuit of a career in software engineering.
Wubshit offered several pieces of advice for undergraduate students considering an internship, especially one in computer science: “It is important to stay open-minded and be able to adapt. Products may change in this field and you can’t be discouraged by that.” Being passionate about what you do and using the opportunities that come your way are key. He also quoted the application as one of the biggest mental roadblocks for college students in the internship process. “There is no way you’ll get there without applying. You have to believe in yourself. You have to like what you’re doing, perform your best, and present your best self.”
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