17
Oct

Emag Internship Program

It’s awesome to be a young student and learn a lot of cool stuff about programming. It is even better to have the opportunity to learn in a big company, with a lot of senior programmers who can answer all of your questions.

This is what we intended to do with the first version of Emag’s Internship Program. We selected 16 students out of 800 applicants and created 4 technical teams. Then we gave each team a project to work on for 2 months. We used SCRUM as a management tool and we divided the period in 4 sprints.

I had the great opportunity to be the mentor of one of these teams. My role was a mix of program organizer, technical team leader, scrum master, product owner and of course teacher. As a teacher, I didn’t offer them lessons on how to do different things. I believe a lot in self learning, so I empowered them with directions where they can find solutions to every problem they had.

It was a great period and a huge learning opportunity. My interns have learned a lot of new technologies: SOLR, Elastic Search, logstash, kibana, PHP, MySQL, Javascript (JQuery), Symfony2, RabbitMQ, and I learned how to bond a team of 5 total strangers and create a great product.

Here are some things I have learned from them:

  • to have success on a big project, you need to first focus on the team. People need to be open, available for any questions and to offer help, befriend the other team members. Honesty is a key part of the success of a team. I periodically held one on one meetings with all of them to check their expectations, their problems, their ideas, how they work with each other.

  • you need diversity in a team. The best ideas that were born inside the team were from conflicts between different personalities. If everyone is open to different ideas, this can lead to better ideas, thus a better product.

  • When learning a new programming language, you need to take it one step at a time. It’s better to learn how to code in a new language then jump directly on a framework, because you understand really better the though process behind that language.

  • When developing a large project, with several people, you need a management process in place. Scrum was great for us because it allowed us to discuss every day and see where we are in the development of the project. Also it allowed us to see who is overwhelmed by work and to distribute resources in that direction (i.e if someone had too much work, someone else jumped in and helped him).

  • New technologies are best learned if you can test them while learning. They had to learn a lot of new technologies in very little time. Were they to read a 600 pages book before jumping into code, that would have slowed their process. However, after learning the basics, they directly started to code and learn along the way, easing their learning process and discovering problems they never though would appear.

The product they have been working on is simply called Product Matching and it’s objective is to match the documentation of several different products and decide which ones are identical.

Here is what my team thinks of the Internship program:

Silviu Andrei Dragnea (Faculty of Computer Science from the Polytechnic University of Bucharest)

“The first day at eMAG was very exciting, given the fact that the company’s headquarters were presented to us and eMAG overall and how each department contributes to offering quality services to its clients.  So far I got used with the project that I would have to develop together with my coworkers.  . Although initially everything seemed really crazy, now things are clearer. George Olah was there for us from the first day and he made sure that we would stop being shy towards each other and towards him. He helped us integrate in the eMAG team.”

Daria Nedelcu (UPB Faculty, Computer Science)

“This internship program is my first work experience in an organized environment and it is very enjoyable and fun. So far we have learned how to use many new technologies and how to integrate them into our project,t Product Matching, which I find very interesting and complex. EMAG team is very friendly and willing to help us and teach us new things, for which we are all grateful.”

Adriana Ancuta (Faculty of Cybernetics, Statistics and Informatics, ASE)

“I applied for this program looking for a challenge and I can say that so far my expectations have been met. I had the opportunity to supplement my knowledge in practice, and to use technology completely new to me and learn about which steps to take to develop a project. I came into contact with well trained and interested IT people, from which I’m learning something every day.”

Dragos Alexandru Mincu (Politehnica University of Bucharest)

“In the first weeks of this internship I had the opportunity to get familiar with PHP syntax, with specific NoSQL database Apache Solr, with Solarium library that integrates them both. My mentor, George Olah, is a person with good experience in PHP programming and web development. One thing I appreciate is that he built ​​his professional skills by learning and working on his own projects. People who work at eMAG are sociable and a good company for your free time.”

What do you think about an internship program? Would you join Emag’s Internship Program next year?

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My name is George Olah and I am an entrepreneur and web developer. My favorite web domains are web development, online gaming, gamification and social shopping. If you need any work done in these fields please contact me!
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