As you may already know from the previous article, I work in the VG team, one of the most popular tabloids in Norway. Together with another intern – Marcin Mucha – I work on a new version of a weather iOS app — Pent. The idea of this service is to compare forecasts from two popular Norwegian weather applications.
These are the facts. But how about all the expectations I had before even beginning the work on the app and the internship itself? Well, let’s see!
Expectation: You will only do boring tasks, e.g. bug-fixing.
Reality: Absolutely not true! We work on a real application, which hopefully will end up with being launched on the App Store.
Expectation: If the application looks simple, its code must be easy to understand.
Reality: You spend most of your time debugging.
In fact, there is a whole new version of the application written, which hasn’t been submitted to the App Store yet. So, technically, we are not writing a new program. We’re just rewriting an existing code or adding new features to it. At first, when I saw the app, I thought the source code must be small and relatively easy to understand. I can’t say it is too complicated, yet it is not the same as I expected it to be. Fortunately, the code is pretty self-documenting. Still, I need some time to understand it before I can make some changes.
Expectation: You will spend most of your time coding.
Reality: You spend most of your time debugging, reading and learning.
Oh, yeah. I imagined this internship would be 95% of time coding but it is not like that. Before adding some new feature you first need to find out what is the best way to do this and how not to ruin the previous logic of the application. So, debugging, reading & learning – that’s what I do. Of course, that’s a bit exaggerated. I could also add “googling” and “waiting for Xcode to work” but you know… that would sound a bit strange 😀
Expectation: Developing for iOS 10 in Xcode 8 beta is just great!
Reality: Yes, it is but it comes at a price.
That’s the thing I mentioned in my previous post. There was a moment I was waiting for Xcode to open for 4 hours. I tried everything: deleting, updating, downloading – you get what I mean. Unfortunately, there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.
Expectation: You know exactly how the app will look as you have all the graphic design right from the beginning.
Reality: You are the UX & UI designer yourself most of the time.
Actually, it is the second biggest obstacle in my work, just right after Xcode beta. When you don’t have any information on the look of the application you can’t be sure what needs to be done. Just imagine there are some bugs known in an existing project. Is there any point in fixing them if the application may look completely different? Luckily, we’ve already seen some wireframes. It’s just great as now we know in which direction to move! Still, while adding some new functionality, I am kind of designing it just in the way I like it. It is also kind of nice experience to have, though.
Expectation: If you don’t know what to do – your mentor is always there for you.
Reality: Your mentor can go on vacations for 2 weeks.
It is the funny one 🙂 Of course, before going on vacations, we set up all the tasks together. At that very moment, I didn’t know what to ask as all questions usually appear during actual work. The hardest thing in solving our problems without a mentor was that they weren’t iOS related. Otherwise, I and the other intern from my team could ask any iOS developer from the office and they would help us , for sure. We really needed to consult our mentor as he was the only one, who was fully aware of the iOS Pent project. This was the time of making the decisions on our own. Luckily, after return, he said we coped well 🙂
Expectation: You are always told exactly what to do.
Reality: You can share your personal opinion and even argue, that’s okay.
I can choose the method of implementation by myself. Yes, after reviewing I am told whether that was the right one to pick. And that’s great! What’s more, if I feel like something is completely wrong, I am always heard.
Expectation: You will spend all your evenings at the office catching up with everything.
Reality: Your mentor is teaching you the need of drawing a line between your work and personal life.
Yes, we were actually taught once that overworking is unhealthy, haha. When at the office you need to be unwaveringly committed to doing your best but the balance should always be there.
It’s in your hands!
I am pretty sure every internship is completely different. Probably, if this article was written by some other intern from another team in STP, it would be a whole new story. Each internship is actually what you make of it. The one thing to remember: take out the maximum amount of invaluable experience from each of these ‘realities’, no matter what they are!