The first job is a trial and a constant session of self-questioning: “Am I going to find a job that suits my needs both financially and socially? Am I going to come through? Am I going to find something that I like? Am I going to find a job at all?”.

In my case and my fellow interns’, the answer was yes to all of the questions listed above. I managed to be employed by one of the most successful Romanian companies: Tremend Software Consulting. And this is how my internship went…

Day 1: So many papers

Well, it wasn’t only about signing papers, even though that took away half of the day. It was also about getting to know the company, meeting the team I was going to work with and starting to have an idea about what the department did. But first things first. The induction was meant to familiarize us (the interns) with the company environment. The people here were really friendly and patiently explained to us (who had no work experience at all) what things were going to be like. We took a glimpse into our weekly schedule and also found out about the company’s perks and procedures. Adult life was beginning to take shape.

The next thing on our list was meeting the department we were going to work in: the Chip Design division. Here I discovered a friendly team that soon became like a second family to me, a warm environment, and a place where I could grow as a professional. I ended my day with a big smile on my face. It seems adult life isn’t that bad after all.

Day 2: The first task

This day started well. I arrived at the office on time, grabbed a cup of coffee, and waited for the first task to welcome me to my first job. Soon I received my long-awaited task – a documentation that would help us get familiar with the new tech environment, the development procedures, and specs about the projects developed within the department. At first, everything seemed simple – it was just another document you had to go through, just like in college. But as I kept reading and learning, I realized that things were starting to get more challenging.

Day 3, 4, 5…: The Documentation Saga

I spent the next few days browsing the documentation, and as I kept reading, I realized that although the faculty subjects provided us with a strong foundation, there were so many things left unknown. Luckily for me, I had a great team of professionals who proved to be exquisite mentors for all of us less experienced engineers.

A few weeks later:  Labs

Finishing the documentation felt like a big accomplishment. We came to understand so much more about the new programming languages we were going to work with and we also got familiar with the tools we were going to use on a daily basis. It was time to take a step forward, towards the practical work – The Lab.

Then the true challenge began. As we got deeper into it, we realized how little we actually knew about the world of verification and how much we enjoyed discovering this tech field. We learned something new every day and at every step of our journey we had our great mentor, Ciprian, the Engineering Manager of the department, who stood by our side and helped us grow.

I remember one time I didn’t understand a concept, even though Ciprian had just explained it to us. I was a little bit ashamed to ask him to explain it to me again. It would have been the 10th time I would ask for his help in the last hour. He never seemed bothered by my questions (or my colleagues’). On the contrary, he always tried to invest as much time as possible in his explanations so that we could comprehend every aspect. Even more, he held weekly individual coaching sessions with every intern, just to review our code and make sure we fully understood every concept and there were no unanswered questions.

At the end of the labs, we all learned a plethora of new things. It was a fun journey, spiced with moments of pure cluelessness when we had no idea of what the next step should be, and of deep pride when we came up with a good idea all by ourselves. 

Then it was time for a real task to kick in and show us how little we truly knew.

A couple of months later:  First Task

We waited a while for our new task to arrive. In the meantime, we tried to get familiar with the piece of code each of us was given. We barely understood anything and we were suddenly hit by the realization that it wasn’t as easy as we thought it would be. To be honest, at first it was really hard to understand the code written by someone else. It was a beginner’s task, but still a task nonetheless. I don’t know what any of us would have done without the help received from our team.

At first, we were unable to make sense of what we were required to do. After hours of continuous meetings with the client’s team, we were as clueless as we were at the beginning of the day. And every time we ended up doing the same thing: going back to our mentor, explaining to him what the meeting was about and asking for a “translation” on what we really had to do.

During the lab, we gathered a lot of information whose usefulness we were still unable to comprehend and we felt like nothing could be put together into something that made sense, so a series of unacknowledged questions started to arise: “How am I going to remember all these things? Am I ever going to be good at this? Am I ever going to be able to do this perfectly, like the others do?”.

Spoiler alert: no one is perfect. And I found this out when I received my first task. Imagine arriving home after 8 hours of work and realizing all you did all day was running around in circles, trying to understand the code written by so many other developers (some more experienced than others, or more careful about their writing style), and hitting dead-end after dead-end, no matter the routes you took in trying to get a grip on what was happening. It can be daunting. In my case, the scenario above had been going on for several weeks.

It was reassuring to find out that everyone went through the same stage as I, when they first started their journey in verification. No one had any idea about what was happening at first and everyone struggled to understand the problem. But eventually they did. Some faster than the others. And as the weeks went by, with all the help coming from our team, my fellow interns and I left the frustration aside and started to focus all our energy on code/functionality understanding. By the time we finished the first task, we started to get familiar with the new environment. Helped by Ciprian, and the rest of our team, we soon started to have fun working, which now I really know is the key to fulfillment and being good at what you’re doing.

Today

Now each of us has successfully finished his/her first real task and we are currently working on those that followed. We learned plenty of new things here and there are so many more on the way just waiting for us.

For me, the experience of my first job brought a brief understanding of how things were going to be in the near future. I feel I grew on both social and knowledge-related plans. And I also discovered that work can be fun, and it should be that way. And this company has a tremendous way of combining work with fulfillment.

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