Updated: Dec 29, 2022
I am an undergraduate student in Biotechnology. I had a semester-long internship based on the Internet of Things (IoT) and Confidential Computing. The latter is a comparatively new IT field and was fun to delve into overarchingly. Confidential computing is a subset of Data security which lets you use AI/ML technology on datasets while guaranteeing privacy and security.
Motivation and Application Procedure
I started mailing for research internships, mostly because everyone around me was doing the same. I did get some positive replies, but either the work was remote, or the travel cost to the University was high. Also, in the process, I realised that, unlike circuital branches where you do relevant coursework for ML or other areas, my branch is acting as a barrier for an offline research internship. Hence, to bag an internship of my kind, I followed a non-conventional path and applied for off-campus internships instead of applying through OCS or summer programs. If you are applying for an off-campus tech internship from a non-circuital branch it is preferable to have a good CGPA and some 3-4 solid projects to emphasise that you have developed skills in the same. The projects can be open source as well. The key is to remain persistent and put in excellent effort while building up those projects. I kept on applying to different places while also working on a lot of open source projects. Since I have contributed to a lot of Open Source projects, I got approached by the company and I ended up taking that offer.
During my first year, I was mainly focusing on institute academics and was not much involved in coding apart from courses. During the third semester, I learned DSA and practiced as much as I could. After this I started exploring this field, I did a bunch of courses on a variety of topics from sites like Coursera and Udemy. My aim was to explore as much as possible; so that I was able to find something that I really liked. While the courses were a good start to things, I worked on Open Source Projects to develop my skills. I contributed a lot and as I told before this helped me in getting the internship.
The Internship Experience
I had a semester-long internship based on the Internet of Things (IoT) and Confidential Computing at Ultraviolet, Serbia. The latter is a comparatively new IT field and was fun to delve into overarchingly. Confidential computing is a subset of Data security which lets you use AI/ML technology on datasets while guaranteeing privacy and security.
My internship fields were comparatively new, and little advancement had been made. Hence, I had to learn the techniques and stuff from the internet to apply the concepts. The skills required were non-conventional and could be built from scratch if given proper time and effort. While working as an intern, some misconceptions got debunked.
There is a lot of hype created about DSA that it is tough and you need long months of practice to achieve mastery, but it was manageable for me. Other than that, there is a general tendency for imposter syndrome to develop while doing the internship; whether or not you are fit for the role. But, instead of getting demotivated at that time, you should consult your coworkers, especially people senior to you in that company.
While I was determined to get an offline internship, I accepted working here because they offered me a good stipend. I have been working part-time with them for more than 4 months now. It has been a great experience since, unlike other corporate places where work gets monotonous after a point in time, I always keep learning something new since I am working in new fields.
I recommend that the students don’t follow the herd mentality, and apply for the fields in which they are interested in. I encourage all of you to explore the creative options like corporate research or not so explored domains, as well because one never knows which area might excite you, and you might end up achieving great heights in that instead of performing average in something else.
Interviewed by - Prisha Jain