Five Pieces of Advice for Interns
Every year, Amazon provides opportunities for hundreds of students to work at AWS. For these students it’s often intimidating and nerve wracking to begin with. For me on the other hand,it’s an exciting opportunity to invest my time in students.
This year, I’m mentoring an intern on our team and as I prepared to introduce myself to this student, I kept thinking of the best advice I could give. Here is what I came up with.
Ignore the noise
At AWS we work at a furiously fast pace. This often means that not every meeting or even conversation will be relevant for you as an intern. It’s important to stay focused and ignore the noise. You will be successful if you’re able to stay completely locked in on the task at hand.
Read less, Code More
There are over 160 different services at AWS. Your project will involve a number of these services. There is an inherent tendency to read pages and pages of documentation to get a full understanding before getting your hands dirty. This however, is not the best approach due to the time constraints associated with your project. Learn by doing and you will move forward quicker than just reading documentation.
You don’t need to learn everything.
The best engineers are often thought of as “know it alls”. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Great engineers know and recognize the limitations behind trying to master everything. It’s just not feasible. It’s important to be “okay” with not knowing everything because the greater skill is knowing how to find answers rather than having all the answers.
Error messages are friends not the enemy.
You’re going to get stuck at times, and that’s okay. Don’t let the weight of the world be on your shoulders when this happens. Instead, read and interpret available log messages.They often hold the key to opening the door to your problems. Apart from the occasional erroneous log message, most messages are often descriptive enough to tell you what you’re doing wrong. Read them carefully and unblock yourself.
Enjoy yourself! You’re one of a very few number of students who get this amazing opportunity to learn and be trained at a great company. Enjoy it and make the best out of your time here at AWS.