Mid-Summer Advice for Our Summer Intern Class
I recently shared the following guidance with the 4 summer interns (all rising college seniors embedded in our engineering team) based on talking with them, their mentors, and other who are working with them.
What would you add or change?
Like the TSA airport slogan goes, “If you see something (e.g., a bug or areas to improve), say something”. Far more impactful than say something, is do something. You have just as much agency as every full time Datavanter — jump in and fix and improve and create!
On speaking up:
Each of you is here because you deserve to be. We want you to share your questions and opinions. Don’t sit silently on your own voice! Even better than questions, your observations or recommendations or push-back are highly desired by your peers. Challenge yourself to not only speak in every meeting you attend, but challenge prevailing ideas or bring an unorthodox perspective or generally be skeptical — this is powerfully helpful in driving the team to refine their thinking and find new solutions.
We want and expect each of you to deliver meaningful impact. Your code and documentation and content will live on and be useful and visible for months and years to come. Make sure you know the full impact your work can have (e.g., have you spoken with all the key people involved/invested in your work or whom benefit from your project? Have you gotten their feedback?) and build towards the maximum impact so you can leave a big imprint on the team and product. Avoid down-scoping or watering down your deliverables.
On corporate citizenship:
Every office and workplace is different and Datavant has its uniqueness too.
At Datavant, we value:
- hard work, work ethic, and dedication
- execution and delivery: a strong finish on 2–3 impactful projects is better for everyone than 80% complete on 5 projects
- contrarian thinking
- learning and growth
- respect of peers’ time
- efficiency (i.e., don’t waste your own time)
- bringing up solutions & recommendations rather than problems
- an energetic yet professional office space where everyone can collaborate and also work productively.
- building relationships and bridges across teams