The internship program through the eyes of a former intern

The internship program through the eyes of a former intern

In KOMPAS-3D development, there is a program of student internships: novice specialists study theory, practice on real tasks, learn to interact in teams. We interviewed Kateryna Malysheva, a graduate of the program, KOMPAS-3D software engineer.

From the interview you will learn:

  • how beginners do not get lost in the code of a large project

  • tips on self-organization when working remotely

  • Do extroverted programmers exist?

Tell me how and why you became a programmer.

In 2022, I graduated from the Higher School of Economics in Nizhny Novgorod majoring in Applied Mathematics and Informatics. With a mathematical education, she could either go into science or programming. Fundamental mathematics never attracted me, as well as scientific work, and software development, on the contrary, always interested me. Therefore, the choice was obvious for me.

Is ASCON not your first place of work?

Everything is correct. In the fourth year, I found Intel for the position of program manager: I accompanied the releases of a product that worked with neural networks. It was interesting, but I wanted to try myself more in development. Therefore, I decided to quit, finish university and then look for a new job.

How did you get to know the company?

I came for an internship last fall. I was attracted by the fact that ASCON is one of the few Russian IT companies that gives students the opportunity to start a career as a developer. In addition, in the first years at the university, I studied the C++ programming language, which was exactly what was needed in the company. While preparing for the interview, I repeated some points from object-oriented programming, at the interview itself I was also asked about constructors and destructors, I was given several tasks to write an algorithm – the process of checking hard skills is almost the same as when getting a full-time job.

Describe your internship.

It lasted three months, all this time I worked remotely. The first few weeks were theoretical training, everyone got homework, and then we started working in teams – I liked it and remembered it. Our manager Andriy Bilyakov gave us tasks, we discussed them with the guys, coded and showed the results to Andriy. It was a real test drive of tasks, employees constantly stayed in touch with all trainees and interacted with us. Not every company has this. And it was great that all interns were on the same level, without any hierarchy in relation to the other team: all levels, active, can offer their ideas with full rights.

Vyacheslav Limarov, head of the KOMPAS programming department:

At the moment, there are very few high-class specialists on the market. So few that such candidates occur less often than once a month. Therefore, we decided: if there are no professionals, why not try to grow them ourselves?

Nizhny Novgorod, where interns were recruited, has been looked at for a long time, as there are many educational institutions and representative offices of the largest IT companies. As a result, when we opened an internship vacancy on hh.ru, we received a flurry of applications – there were hundreds of them.

What did we do then? 12 young specialists were selected and divided into 4 teams, each of which consisted of 3 specialists and a curator. I selected the curators with burning eyes 🙂 young and energetic, but already with good knowledge.

The classes were held for three months and required the interns to be quite seriously involved in the process. The training had two key sections:

  • a block of classes on C++: the interns themselves prepared messages on a given topic, and the curator at the class strove to ensure that the materials were mastered equally well;

  • design and implementation of a simplified graphic editor: the emphasis was on teamwork, acquiring skills in working with flexible methodology and making the most of design practices and patterns.

For the closest simulation to reality, GitLab was used to work with the source code and maintain the team’s backlog.

As a result, we accepted seven of the 12 program participants who completed the internship program, received positive feedback from the curator, and at the final stage were interviewed by the company’s leading programmer. Over time, it can be said that all trainees have joined the team and are making strong progress.

This year, based on the need for specialists, we again recruited interns who have already started training.

What are your responsibilities now?

Immediately after the internship, I went to work as a real programmer, but I did not immediately start working in the team that has formed now. At first, all the interns were together, we didn’t have release cycles or PI planning, we just did technical tasks like refactoring. I wouldn’t call it hard, rather monotonous work that allowed me to smoothly immerse myself in the product. From a technical point of view, the compass is large and complex, and otherwise it would be more difficult to “flow” into it.

A few months after my employment, the former interns (including me) were assigned to permanent teams, where the work is built according to the usual plan: we have three weeks to plan, the first, second and third sprints.

During planning, we communicate with analysts, discuss which works should be included in the technical release, prototype tasks for further sprints. Next, we analyze to what extent the prototypes embody everything that is needed, something is refined, something is completely corresponded and finally implemented.

The rest of the time we deal with tasks from the backlog. I participate in all processes and stages of development. Of course, not everything works, because there are tasks that are difficult for a beginner to do: you need to understand well how this whole big system works. But even if something is unclear, I know that I can turn to colleagues and they will always help me with work on the code.

Have your ideas about KOMPAS-3D and the profession changed in any way during the time you worked for the company?

The project is big, and at first I just got lost in the code, digging deeper and thinking “what’s going on here?”. Now, when I climb somewhere, I’m not so scared. With practice, the fear of a large-scale product goes away. At the same time, I find some patterns in the code and learn directly from the product.

Of course, during this year, my programming skills have grown: you are constantly in the environment, coding, and the language, despite the fact that C++ is quite complex, is easier.

But coding alone is not enough for growth. The IT industry is fast moving and developing. If you, for example, do not read about updates in the language, then you do not even stagnate, but gradually degrade until your direction flies forward. Therefore, at the very least, articles on Habra become familiar reading.

Work in the team improved significantly, soft skills improved: conflicts happen, it’s normal, and you need to be able to solve them.

What is the most important thing for you in colleagues, especially considering that you work remotely?

I think it’s sensitivity. Sometimes remote workers can get lonely. Therefore, I like that I can call a colleague at any moment, discuss work issues and have a little chat. At the same time, all of you can work in different cities: Kolomna, Ryazan, Nizhny Novgorod or Moscow. But that doesn’t matter when there’s an opportunity to exchange news, like on a lunch break at the office. Ease and accessibility of colleagues is important.

There is a stereotype that programmers are closed and unsociable people. What is your opinion on this?

It is very difficult to answer this question unequivocally. It all depends on the company and the environment of a particular person. For example, I had classmates in undergraduate who really resemble the collective image of a programmer. But many change over time: boys graduate from university and soon realize that a closed lifestyle is not the most interesting strategy.

And how did you join the team?

I was very fortunate to speak at the Developers Conference (note: an annual internal event for ASCON professionals, subsidiaries Renga Software and C3D Labs, and technology partners) with a talk about feature branches. It was a great experience. I had never spoken to such a large audience before, so I was very nervous before the start, afraid that more experienced developers would bombard me with questions that would be difficult for me to answer. But the excitement wore off as soon as I was on stage: I had a great support team of fellow former interns in the front row. I am very proud that I did not refuse the offer to speak and coped well with my task.

The main thing that I took away from this experience is getting to know and communicating with colleagues. The conference helped establish contact, understand who does what. As I said, many people work remotely, and the meeting and speech at the conference allowed me to get a better feel for the team.

That’s why I’m sure that openness and sociability make life a lot easier, shame goes away and, maintaining communication, it becomes much more pleasant to work.

Concentration on distancing: the experience of Kateryna Malysheva

I am happy that I work remotely. It is very convenient in all senses: from this academic year I combine work with evening studies at the master’s degree; if I get tired of Moscow, I can go to my hometown – Nizhny Novgorod for a few days. However, at first I felt that I lacked self-discipline, so back in Nizhny I had a list of things I had to do in the morning, before work, written on a white magnetic board:

  • make a bed

  • have breakfast

  • drink tea

  • prepare the workplace.

I needed to make sure I was comfortable and ready to start the day. Every day I checked each point, and after three or four weeks the habit was formed. For a moment I didn’t need this list, everything was done automatically, and any distraction factor was excluded. To record and comment on work tasks, I tried several applications and settled on Obsidian and OneNote, which turned out to be the most convenient for me, for example, here you can group tasks, manage both work and personal affairs.

You already mentioned your studies, can you tell me more?

I am studying at the Master’s program “Business Analytics and Big Data Systems” at the Higher School of Economics. Teaching is conducted in English. Apart from the fact that it is very interesting – we dive into economic and mathematical modeling, neural networks and deep learning, etc. – I like the community in which I find myself. IT experts from different fields, with different professional interests, are studying with me on the course, all of them are very lively and active.

For me, such interaction with the community is very important, I missed it in Nizhny Novgorod, and now I feel that I have found myself in my place.

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