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Engaging in an "Open First" remote internship at Collabora

Gustavo Noronha avatar

Gustavo Noronha
October 20, 2020

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Co-authored by Olivier Potin

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced companies to move very quickly to a partial or even full home office regime. In this context, Collabora is at a very privileged position, since remote work has always been at the core of our day to day operations. Over 80% of our people work remotely from all over the world even when our offices are open.

As the pandemic continues to wreak havoc across the world, many students' scholarships have been impacted one way or the other. As the world economy is being shaken, many of them are facing challenges finding internships and entering into the professional life.

At Collabora, and despite of COVID-19, we want remote internships to have the power to get students, regardless of where they live, into a dream job. Or, at the very least, provide them with informative venues for exploring and confirming (or not) professional interests. Our internships also connect students with a larger ecosystem of FLOSS projects and vendors, serving as a good way to improve their visibility and networking.

Remote, you say…

When someone joins Collabora as an intern, our main concern is ensuring they come out at the other end with new technical skills and a general idea about the day to day life of an engineer. We strive to make it a fun experience, by ensuring the internship is structured around an interesting and achievable project with plenty of support from some of brightest and smartest seasoned FLOSS developers, regardless of where they are in the world.

The concept of a remote internship may raise some doubts, or even red flags, for many students, as would remote jobs for professionals. As a result, we pay extra attention to how we onboard and support our interns, making sure they have all they need to thrive and excel in their assignments.

As interns are usually inexperienced in the workplace, we have built an internship mentorship program which:

  • defines in great details the project and the expectations;
  • makes sure the adequate level of guidance and attention - synchronous and asynchronous - is provided through committed mentorship (to hone their technical, communication and soft skills) while allowing autonomy and flexibility;
  • and ensures regular face to face interactions over video calls to establish trust and rapport with the interns, and boost their self-confidence to voice their opinion and ask questions whenever needed.

Our program continues to be iteratively improved every year as we - the interns and the company - learn from each great and rewarding experience.

Additionally, we strongly encourage our interns to take part in at least one open source conference relevant to the work they are carrying out. Despite these conferences being mostly virtual nowadays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they continue to be an excellent opportunity for interns to be exposed to a much wider community of professionals.

I'm sold, how does it work?

The typical timeline for our internships is 6 months (including the time to get acquainted with the ins and outs of remote working). The internships are paid, and all the necessary equipment is provided, as is full access to the company's infrastructure.

In terms of projects, while we do have some in mind that are ready for interns to dive into, we would also love to hear of the FLOSS code or projects that you are passionate about. Is there something you would like to improve and contribute to? If so, please let us know!

The ultimate goal of our internships is to provide an opportunity for students to test drive a career in open source software engineering. It goes without saying, however, that our hope is to see our interns become a permanent part of the Collabora family, and their engagement turn into full-time employment.

Sound interesting? Please visit our Careers page (https://www.collabora.com/careers.html) to learn more about applying to our 2021 internship position.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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