From Intern to Web Designer/Developer in 1 Month: Norbert’s Internship Story
Dedication, motivation and passion are qualities that can help you excel in any career. Here’s how Norbert used these qualities to secure a full-time position just one month into an internship.
A company is the people who create it. It is thanks to their dedication and hard work that companies grow and prosper. When Norbert came and applied for an internship at Atwi, the team saw him as a young, enthusiastic man who wanted to achieve something big as a web designer/developer. And Norbert has proved himself to be an invaluable team player ever since.
Learn Norbert’s story of how he went from intern to team leader.
My success formula: Motivation, passion, determination and a little bit of luck
My journey at Atwi [WAcademy subsidiary in Poland] began in March of 2021. A friend shared he was applying for an internship, and I decided I couldn’t pass the opportunity. As luck would have it, I got in, and I immediately started the training program.
I was so excited for the opportunity to try something new. Since my previous work experience was not related to IT or web design at all, I figured starting with an internship was the best move. Although I didn’t have previous training in web design or development, I was eager to learn, and before joining the program, I was already proactively learning the ropes.
Once in the program, I immersed myself fully, and I guess my motivation and determination showed because just one month into the internship, I was offered a full-time position at Atwi. Luckily, the company was looking for someone to fill a position, and that is how I switched careers in just a month.
Support and constructive criticism help push forward
When I joined Atwi, I was mentored by Michał Iwanowicz, who is our Director of Web Design. However, he was not the only person who supported me. From the very first days, I realized everyone on the team was there to help. More experienced colleagues were always willing to answer my questions and assist me with any problems I faced.
While I didn’t intern for long, I remember my internship very well, and that is mainly because of the amazing people I worked with. I credit the amazing outcome of my training to the people around me because when you have support, you can expand your knowledge in as many ways as you have people around to share their insights with you.
Of course, in the beginning, I took my time to design websites, but with every new website built, I gained more knowledge and more skills. Eventually, as I started building websites for real businesses, I was already not only quicker but also more skilled in what I was producing.
The constructive comments I received directly from project managers during this stage helped me improve and understand how to work with different kinds of people productively.
3 most important lessons I learned from interning
I strongly believe that one never stops learning, especially since web design evolves so fast. But if I have to look back on that first month, these are the things that, perhaps, shaped me most.
- Patience is a key to success, and you should never give up, even when facing challenges. I’d say, especially when facing challenges!
- If you are unsure about something – don’t be afraid to ask. The more questions you ask, the more knowledge you gain, and that is always a win.
- The customer is always right, and when creating a product for someone else, you have to fully cater to their needs, likes and dislikes.
I believe this is the mindset that helped me stay on track and become better every day. During the internship, I decided I wanted to become a professional web designer/web developer, and so I learned patiently, I asked questions and I worked with clients, without forcing my ideas on them. At the end of the internship, I truly felt I had the skills to do what I like most – creating websites.
Interning is a life-enriching experience
As you can guess, I’m a big proponent of internships. Of course, everyone has to find the right internship. I personally have experience with other internships, and I can confidently say that none of them were as fun and successful as this one. Interning at Atwi gave me five important gifts: real-life experience, ability to develop my skills, a chance to network with professionals in the industry, build my portfolio and explore.
At Atwi, I had the chance to build websites for real businesses, and that is a truly invaluable experience because I was able to apply what I learned in real-life scenarios. At the end of the day, learning theory and completing basic tasks is important, but you do not learn faster than when you have a real deadline for a real client expecting a truly great website.
Internships are also great because they offer an opportunity to develop skills under the supervision of professionals. Today, there are so many online courses you can choose from, but nothing beats an internship where you have a dedicated mentor who can answer all your questions and give advice. And if you get to intern along with other people, you also have an amazing chance to build relationships with up-and-coming professionals.
Ultimately, on the most basic level, a good internship enables you to build your portfolio (or resume), which is vital when looking for work. You also get to explore the fields you are interested in and decide whether you want to continue on the career path that the internship may lay.
My internship at Atwi definitely helped me build a professional portfolio, gain practical experience, learn how to solve problems using methodical approaches as well as practice effective communication. These are the lessons I can bring to any life situation.
From web design intern to team lead
Today, I’m a full-time web designer/developer at Atwi. In August 2023, I was also promoted to team lead, which means I oversee the work of our web design interns.
I usually start the day by checking the work of my mentees. I check their progress and share feedback to put them on the right track. The ultimate goal is to ensure that interns learn and clients are satisfied with the final result.
Once I’ve taken care of that, I then check the feedback from clients, whose websites I personally work on. If fixes are required, I make sure they are implemented quickly and effectively. Next, I move on to new projects. Using the forms our clients submit, I start building their business and ecommerce sites.
In the meantime, I’m always ready to help others. Whether I have a few questions from interns who need web design tips or a colleague wants to brainstorm ideas, I’m there to listen and advise. I truly appreciate a collaborative work environment, and at Atwi, we often have contests that lead to group outings, including lunches, paintball or bowling. It’s always something different and exciting.
In general, no day is the same at Atwi. Every task is different, and while it’s comfortable to work on something that you are already great at, challenging tasks are usually the ones I seek for growth. Also, while I personally prefer to work remotely, I enjoy coming into the office once a week to meet everyone in person and solve problems face to face.
Inclusivity is the future of internships
You no longer need a degree or extensive experience to start a career in web design. As long as you have the desire to learn, you can enroll in an internship program that offers you both training and an opportunity to build a portfolio of real-life projects.
I think that the landscape of internships will continue to change in the future to offer more opportunities to anyone who is passionate about gaining skills. I also believe internships will change as AI becomes more integrated into our daily lives. For example, AI and machine learning algorithms could help match interns with suitable opportunities by analyzing skills, interests and career goals.
I’d also love to see project-based Internships, where interns work on specific projects or tasks to gain practical experience while helping companies achieve their goals. In general, I believe companies will start investing in internships more in the coming years. After all, internships can help raise highly qualified employees.
Without a doubt, internships should also focus on diversity and inclusion to attract talents from diverse backgrounds. And companies should adopt hybrid work models to provide opportunities for both in-person and remote internships. This is the easiest way to ensure inclusiveness and empower everyone across the globe to take control of their careers!
Story by Norbert Dowgiert, Web Designer/Developer at Atwi, a WAcademy company. October 2023.
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