In summer 2016, four MCL members—Siyang Li, Chen Chen, Shangwen Li, and Jian Li—worked for Google, Facebook (Chen and Shangwen), and Apple respectively as summer interns. We are so glad to have them share their internship experience.
1. How was working in Apple/Facebook/Google?
Jian: The working environment and atmosphere in Apple are amazing but very unique when having Internship at Apple. You can work with smart people all around the world, who are friendly and helpful. Mentors and managers work closely with interns so that we can make contributions. I was working as a R&D role, which I enjoyed a lot. Moreover, you can also find good work and life balance here since there were several special events only for Apple summer interns.
Siyang Li: This was my second intern at Google, so everything went quite smoothly. My colleagues were friendly and helpful. Whenever I got stuck, my host answered my question quickly and pointed to helpful resources. Life there was easy, as almost everything (food, gym, laundry) was free. I guess this is Google’s trick to make you more concentrated on work.
Chen and Shangwen: It is firstly excited to get into Facebook—one of the top IT company in the work. On the first day of our training session, we met a lot of young genius from top Universities. We started to feel pressure from then. In the company, everyone is smart and diligent. That makes the moving pace extremely fast for the whole team. It is good to visualize, experience and push the high speed and learn from the genius around us. On the other side, there is still a lot of fun during the time we are in Facebook. There are many interesting events, such as city sightseeing, Facebook summer party, team sailing, and watching Broadway musical shows. As a summary, it was beneficial for us to learn from the summer intern program in Facebook, which is fortunately full of joy as well.
2. What did you learn from the internship?
Jian: The most crucial thing I learned during this summer is the importance of presentation, which is exactly what Prof. Kuo always emphasizes. We should deliver not only very decent work, but also excellent presentation as the final stage. Each intern needs to present his/her work to the VP of the department. Therefore, we need to learn how to communicate and present in a concise way to make people appreciate. BTW, I also learned playing Ping Pong a little bit.
Siyang: The biggest gain from my intern is coding experience with TensorFlow, the library designed for large-scale computation including deep learning, which is extremely helpful for my future research. Now I can build and train deep neural network more efficiently.
Chen: I had learned to write clean and easy-to-understand codes. Besides, I also learned how a product is built and developed by a crew in a high-speed R&D department. Finally, how to balance life and work is also a good thing to know in such a competitive environment.
Shangwen: The biggest thing I learned from the internship is the different style between industry and academia. During internship, you have to get used to the new working environment in a very short amount of time. While in PhD, fundamental research is important, in industry, it is about the speed. The quicker you finish the task, the better. My mentor used to say “if you can finish the task without understanding it, it is the best”.
3. Any suggestions for other MCL members?
Jian: I really suggest everyone from our group develop effective presentation skills. A good presentation is definitely not everything, however, it could be the soul making people treasure your value. Whenever in regular communications such as meetings, discussions, or even big moments, an impressing presentation is necessary and even a must for working at Apple. I also suggest our members to try Apple products and you will love them without doubts.
Siyang: To search for an internship, one should start early since there are more openings. The content of the intern project is quite important. It would be ideal to choose a project highly related to his/her current work, as experiences from both sides are mutually beneficial.
Chen and Shangwen: We would like to recommend our students to have one such internship before their graduation. It is beneficial to know the job market through such an internship. Other than that, we can realize our advantages and shortages during the real experience in industry. Besides, if you want to get an intern for the next summer, prepare as early as possible.