Internships are a freaking cool thing. Having the opportunity to spend a summer working at a tech company, making money working on a project which will actually see use in the real world, is an experience like no other. I was lucky enough to intern at Arm this year, and I couldn’t have found a better place to intern. Arm’s microchips power some 200 billion devices, from smartphones to smart cars, and the company takes in smart, motivated engineers who help to make the world a better place.
After 13 weeks, I finally finish work here today. I’m really sad for it to come to an end, but I’ve learnt a great deal from being here. Many of the things that I have learnt complement what I'll soon be studying at university, while others are more personal, meta, or are lessons about the real world.
[Currently undergoing IP review]
Throughout my internship, I worked on the Morello project. Morello is an experimental architecture funded by the £70m Digital-Security-by-Design research programme, which aims to make computers safer by reducing the impact of memory hacking. You can find out more about it here.
What have I learnt?
I’ve learnt many lessons over my internship. Of course, at such an advanced company like Arm, it was inevitable that I would learn so many new technologies, programming techniques, etc.. I’ve learnt model tracing, debugging, return-oriented programming, and threat modelling to name a few. However, as my first ever industry experience, my internship has taught me some highly important the personal lessons which I’ve taken onboard and give an insight into the real world. Of these, the most important ones are as follows:
The best part
It's difficult to say which part was the best, as all of it was extremely good and I've had no real negatives about the internship. However, after giving an intern presentation, someone asked me a question which made me think about how I would sell an internship at Arm to other students. I've already described many of the benefits of working at Arm, but if I were asked for just one thing that stands out, I'd probably say something like this:
Advice for aspiring interns
It's well worth applying for internships! This holds especially true for tech, where experience holds a lot of weight in applications, but I'm sure it's also a very good idea for people in the natural and social sciences as well as those like History or Languages whose course might not immediately suggest where they'd be working next.
So, what advice would I give? It's not perfect advice for any means (your mileage may vary), but:
And finally, don't stress out about it too much. Sometimes your luck just won't hold out and you might not get an internship. And that's okay. Even just applying is hugely beneficial, and getting one stage further in the process shows that you're improving. Not getting an internship is in no way a black mark, and many people get their dream job without one. So, by all means, apply for internships – they're great – but don't fret if you don't get one. It isn't the be-all and end-all by any means.
Also, apply to Arm. You won't regret it. ;)