Jan Mikolajczak

Intern

During my time at university, I was looking for summer internships as a way to learn more about the practical sides of programming and to help me decide what kind of career I wanted to pursue. As it turned out, applying for an internship at Softwire was the best thing that could have happened to me.

First off, the entire processes was very simple, reassuring and flexible. After a short phone interview, I was invited for a half-day at Softwire, with a tour of the office and several further interviews. What surprised me the most was that the interviews themselves were… fun! They were based on puzzles, with a focus on exploration and with somewhat open-ended answers. I wasn’t asked to regurgitate knowledge, or to show I already knew how to do the job – instead, I was invited to show how I go about understanding a problem and trying to come up with a solution.

Shortly afterwards, I received an offer for my internship. In the meantime, it turned out my summer had become booked up and I was sad about the prospect of having to turn the offer down. But Softwire was more than understanding and flexible about this and proposed I complete the internship the following summer. It was well worth waiting for.

The internship programme started off with a couple of weeks of exercises aimed at different components of software engineering tasks, preparing us for a bigger project that would last the majority of the internship. This project was an internal system for handling small money transfers between employees, and from employees to the company: petty cash, lunch payments, personal debts, etc. We worked as a team of six interns with a project manager and a tech lead, and managed to build it from scratch in the duration of the summer. Seeing it launch and used “in the wild” was incredibly rewarding – it is that thrill of building real-world stuff for people that makes me excited about software engineering. Today, this system is part of the daily business at Softwire and no one even thinks twice about it – how cool is that?

But the internship wasn’t all work – far from it. From the first day, there was always something entertaining going on: pub trips, board games nights, summer picnic with all kinds of casual sports, interesting talks and presentations during lunches, table-tennis tournaments, beer-pong – you name it! And I really mean “you” – all of this stuff was grassroots organised. It was very clear to me that that’s the culture at Softwire: if you have cool ideas, or want something fun to happen – go ahead and get it going, people will be there to help.

Just a few weeks later, I was thrilled to receive an offer for a permanent role. At that point, I knew that building software was what I wanted to do and that Softwire was definitely the place I wanted to do it. It has a killer combo of values: excellence and fun; plus, it strongly believes in the interconnectedness of these values and that’s a philosophy I’m ready to get behind.

Jan Mikolajczak