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Joining the Real World: 7 Tips for Internship Success

AT&T | YouTube

Last year, Camden Krupala joined the engineers of the Internet of Things (IoT) AT&T Foundry. Throughout his internship, he worked side-by-side with career engineers to bring innovative ideas to life -- tackling some of the biggest roadblocks in the expanding IoT ecosystem.

The IoT Foundry is one of four foundries established around the world to spark new ideas and facilitate the rapid development of new technologies. Camden was part of the team that made those ideas into reality, even continuing work on his undergraduate senior design project, the Connected Health Station.


After his year in the lab, we caught up with Camden to get his advice for students who are breaking into the “real world” through internships. Here are his tips for thriving in any internship (and beyond):

1. Make Connections

This might seem obvious, but the first thing you should do as an intern is get to know the people you work with. The first day, week or even month of your internship may be a little stressful, but you have resources to help you out -- the people you work with! Get to know their strengths and where their passions lie. This will help you during your internship when you aren’t sure about an idea or the next step.

2. Ask Questions

This is critical. There can be a lot of acronyms and technical concepts in the tech industry. Don’t be afraid to ask those questions. Remember those connections you made when you arrived? They’ll know who can best answer your questions. It’s important to make the most out of your time there. Don’t hesitate to ask questions -- it’s the only way to learn.

3. Talk About Your Ideas

If you have an idea or thought, say it. Put yourself out there! There are no bad ideas. Introducing new concepts can help the ideation process, and may even trigger another idea by someone else.

4. Be Curious

Take advantage of any creative freedom you are given and act on your ideas. You never know where your curiosity will take you. Never stop learning and exploring new ideas and concepts. Stay up to date and research new topics, ideas and projects whenever you can. They might come in handy.

5. Fail

Learn something from your failures. Failure happens all the time. Your greatest strength will be the ability to pick yourself up and try again. An internship, like life in general, is an opportunity to fail, learn and succeed. Also, accept critiques to your work and ask for feedback -- it’s an opportunity to refine your skills and improve your knowledge.

6. Watch the Clock

Manage your time wisely. Make to-do lists. Maintain a calendar -- whatever you need to do to stay on track and organized. Overestimate time it takes to accomplish certain tasks. For extra things you need to get done, keep pockets of free time. If you find yourself in a bind, communicate it and make people aware. They will appreciate the heads up and will be willing to work with you.

7. Have Fun

Make jokes, laugh and smile. It sounds cheesy, but it will help you relax and make your internship considerably more enjoyable. Have a shared interest with a co-worker? Talk to them about it! People love talking about similar interests.

Learn more about Camden’s experience at the IoT AT&T Foundry and his Connected Health Station in the video above.