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Ágnes Nyárádi Image
Ágnes Nyárádi
Senior Brand Manager

Internship experiences from the forefront of GRC software development

January 9, 2024
0 min read
2023 Diligent Interns Award Ceremony

Embark on a journey through the eyes of two exceptional interns: Anett Törteli, a Product Design intern, and Sarolta "Saci" Nagy, a Software Engineer intern, share their experiences working at Diligent, and they offer valuable tips for future internship applicants. In this interview, we delve into their paths from the initial application process to their meaningful projects.

Can you share some tips or strategies that helped you secure this internship? What steps did you take to stand out during the application and interview process?

Anett: When I think about the application process, two main factors helped me the most. The first thing was to consider my goals and values, and I looked for companies that resonate with them. It took me several application processes to acknowledge this principle, to be honest. But it works and can save you a lot of effort because, in the end, you will excel in those interviews where you are a company fit. My other tip would be to have only those experiences on your CV that are relevant to the role, and always include keywords from the job description to make it easier for recruiters to see that you are a fit.

Saci: I already had a lot of experience with front-end interviews, so I reviewed typical React-JS-HTML-CSS questions in my mind to avoid any surprises. I practiced a bit beforehand and went through some algorithms, but mainly I focused on being myself and radiating my enthusiasm for learning programming at Diligent.

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Above: Anett Törteli and Sarolta "Saci" Nagy

Internship interviews can be competitive. What did you do to prepare for the interview, and what advice would you give future interns to excel in the interview process?

Saci: Have something to showcase. A pet project, a friend’s project you worked on, or maybe a previous relevant job. Never go anywhere empty-handed, and remember that enthusiasm, experience in your field and soft skills are the strongest determining factors. Additionally, be yourself, be confident and articulate your goals in your career.

Anett: On one hand, as a design intern, it’s important to showcase your case studies by validating the design problem and explaining how you solved it — practice it beforehand. Also, come up with questions the hiring manager may be interested in regarding your projects and previous experiences and think about the answers. On the other hand, I suggest collecting common interview questions for the role as Saci mentioned before. I get very nervous when I have to answer unexpected questions, so this was very useful when I was asked to describe a difficult situation in a previous role. And, of course, research the company and think about what resonates with you, from their values, what you would be interested in working on — your enthusiasm will be appreciated if you share it in the interview.

Internships often serve as a steppingstone to a career. What motivated you to pursue this internship, and what are your primary goals or expectations for your time here?

Anett: I’m a career changer, so I was seeking an internship to complete as the next step of my transition. As I already had the education and worked in related areas like UX research, this time I wanted to get some initial experience in design to be competitive for junior roles. Although I understand the importance of specialization, I needed a more specific idea about my goals. When I started at Diligent, my mentor helped me define a specific scope: becoming an iOS designer. He also made sure that I’m reaching this goal by going through a structured plan from learning the foundations to being involved in more and more impactful projects. Thanks to this goal-setting, by the end of the internship, I will already have a niche that I’m specialized in.

Saci: I applied for the internship because a former classmate started her career here and spoke highly of the internship program. Unfortunately, I missed the previous cohort, but I immediately applied when I saw they were recruiting for the next one. My expectation was to learn something new every day from people much smarter than me, and that’s exactly what happened. My teammates are amazing, and I hope to reach their level someday.

Can you describe the onboarding process and any training programs that were instrumental in helping you acclimate to the company and your team? How did they contribute to your success as an intern?

Anett: Our internship program started with a week-long onboarding process into Diligent’s ‘ecosystem’, learning about the company values, goals and different pillars of Diligent. I often came back to my notes from the onboarding when I needed to understand the bigger picture. And, as part of the internship program, we all had the chance to take part in agile and soft skill training. Personally, the agile training was very useful to me in understanding how to adjust to the changing requirements during my first independent project. At the same time, to support my development in iOS design, my manager arranged Udemy courses for me on topics that aligned with my internship goals. I really appreciate these learning opportunities as these were the foundations that I could build on when I was ready to join projects.

Saci: The onboarding week was quite intense, but it was very useful to understand the company’s goals and values and get to know the other interns. In my team, the onboarding was different, focusing on the product and domain, which I had to grasp quickly to contribute to the team’s work. My team supported my learning with continuous pair programming and knowledge-sharing, and I also used LinkedIn Learning courses. I also participated in an agile and soft skill training which Anett has already mentioned. However, these are nothing compared to what you can learn from a few well-defined user stories and tasks/bugs on a project.

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Above: 2023 Diligent interns

Please share details about a specific project you’ve been involved in during your internship. What role did you play, and what valuable lessons or skills have you gained from this experience?

Anett: I took part in several smaller projects — each of them served as a steppingstone to the next one, and they all focused on either learning something new or practicing newly gained skills. In one of my first projects, which I led individually, I got familiar with Diligent’s design process. Other projects focused on getting familiar with our design system by creating templates or experimenting with layouts. In my final project, I could synthesize my previous learnings and support my mentor in a high-priority project by fixing and building components.

Saci: I worked on various things, but one important initiative was the redesign of a side panel using an internal platform framework, which involved significant refactoring and a lot of thinking. But I actually learned the most from a mistake I made. I worked on a ticket for about three weeks, starting as a one-pointer bug, but it grew into a complex task that I eventually worked on with a senior colleague. In the process, I broke an important feature of Compliance Maps, which three colleagues were, fortunately, able to successfully fix. The lesson I took was that I need to better understand the impact of changes on features, and always test in a playground before merging. Success in a local environment doesn’t guarantee a perfect solution.

Every intern’s experience is a unique learning journey. Could you outline the key takeaways, skills, or insights you’ve gained so far, and how they align with your career aspirations?

Saci: Yes, I’d love to highlight the key takeaways and offer this advice for future interns: Google is your best friend; always use it if you need info for a task. If you have a question you can’t answer yourself, ask a more experienced colleague. Don’t be afraid to ask. Be a team player and say yes to anything slightly outside your comfort zone. That’s how you’ll grow as a programmer and a person in general. You’re here because you were chosen, so use this opportunity wisely. And my favorite trick is to keep an Excel sheet where you record the problems you encountered and their solutions. It will be very useful later.

Anett: In terms of hard skills, I’ve learned a lot about iOS styles, patterns and platform best practices — thanks to it, I feel confident designing for iOS in the future. I’ve also learned a lot about design systems and creating components. Regarding soft skills, my teamwork-related skills were boosted by this internship. I’m very happy about this, as I counted this area as one of my weaker spots before the internship, and this is the first time I have had the chance to work in a team. I was glad to work on my collaboration skills by coordinating projects with product managers, copywriters and design peers. Additionally, I practiced advocating for my design ideas and asking for and getting feedback.

Throughout your internship, can you share a special moment, project or aspect of your time here that you hold close to your heart? What makes it stand out as your favorite, and what’s the story behind it?

Anett: My favorite moment was the internship assessment presentation at the end. Basically, our whole internship culminated in this presentation as we showcased the projects we worked on and the skills we gained. It was nice to reflect on my journey, and seeing my improvement assured me that I’m ready to take the next step as a junior product designer. And even though design managers and the department director came to see our work, the atmosphere was extremely supportive. They were genuinely interested in our experience and wanted to make sure that we could get the most out of our internship.

Saci: I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of the internship. I can’t pinpoint a single best moment or project. For example, I loved the all-staff team-building with lots of puzzles, enjoyed working on every task so engaging I couldn’t put it down, and the team-building and brainstorming with my team and the assessment presentation, too. This is literally the best work experience for me so far, and I’ve been working for 13 years.

Thanks for sharing the remarkable journeys and invaluable insights you gained during your internships at Diligent. And it’s not a secret anymore that both of you are extending your journeys with Diligent as full-time employees. Congratulations on reaching this significant milestone!

Saci: Thank you!

Anett: We are both delighted to join the team.

Saci: I encourage everyone to consider Diligent your next destination for growth and learning.

Anett: The next cohort will start soon, so we invite ambitious and passionate students to embark on their transformative journeys with Diligent.

Thank you, Anett and Saci, and to all future applicants — seize the opportunity and apply for the next intern cohort at Diligent. Your adventure awaits!


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