21 Feb, 2023

5 Things I Learned as a Software Engineer Intern

Saying that stepping into the field of Software Engineering has been one of the best decisions of my life is how I can best start this article. No matter the hardships, the long hours, the frustrations, it was all worth it to me, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

My name is Sergey Vorobyev, and I’m a Software Engineer at Wargaming. My path began when I admitted to myself that I really wanted a change in my life. I had a job I didn’t like, a desire to learn, and time. Back then, I had friends who had bravely taken the plunge into a new field, and I could see in their sparkling eyes that they looked happier than they used to. With them, conversations about work were no longer salary complaints or increasing sales plans. Instead, we talked about being energetic, growth, prospects, and the occasional free cookie. Who’s not sold after that?

So I did it. I tried something new. And the first thing that pleasantly surprised me when the WG Forge course kicked off was that, at 27, I was far from being the oldest student in the class. Meaning it’s never too late for change—many people didn’t understand what I was getting myself into at my age and tried talking me out of it. As to our mentors, they were the most qualified, humble people. They were motivated to teach, and we were motivated to learn. This made the entire process much simpler and enjoyable. Still, with that in mind, be aware that there will be many tasks, and almost all will switch from “easy peasy lemon squeezy” to “what the hell am I even doing.” 

Here are a few things I learned along the way to help me cope with the insanity of it all, and I hope you can find comfort in knowing that you are not alone in this (plus, our final project was an experience that a novice developer can only dream of!).

  1. It’s Okay Not to Know Everything

Our jobs mean constantly expanding our knowledge. Technology doesn’t stand still—something always changes somewhere, develops, and we get to learn something new. This cup can’t overflow. The day you think you know everything is the day you’re lying to yourself, as this field, by definition, is ever-growing.

  1. Look Back to See How Far You’ve Come

When you feel overwhelmed by your job, pause, take a step back, and breathe. This happens even to the best of us. Think of all you’ve accomplished. How does it manifest for you? I now look at the decisions I made two years ago, and frankly, I feel quite embarrassed, but at the same time, I feel good about myself because I finally understand what I did wrong and know I can come up with better solutions. Knowing that you have grown as a specialist is such a great feeling!

  1. Trial and Error as a Learning Process

In our line of work, it’s okay to make mistakes (good thing we’re no surgeons). There is never one clear answer, some solutions might never even have been thought of… so the only way we can figure out code that works is by trying shamelessly. Growth is a process, we learn from our mistakes and those of our colleagues—and if one is committed and ready to fail before succeeding, it ends up being incredibly rewarding.

  1. Help Is All Around

Asking questions is more than okay, it’s even recommended. If you tried figuring something out on your own for a while and couldn’t come up with a solution, just ask. Don’t be shy, and don’t waste half of your day because you’re too afraid to bother—you never do, and your colleagues will always happily help you. And this goes the other way around, feel free to help others figure things out too!

  1. Don’t Sip on Coffee Like It’s Water

I know this one may be the one having you raise an eyebrow, asking yourselves what I really know about caffeine intake or how that has to do with anything, but trust me, coffee seems pretty tempting when you’ve spent your entire day working on a code that’s been causing you a headache. Bottomline, more than three coffees a day is too much—after midnight, you’ll start darting around the house together with your cat. And you don’t want that.

If, after reading this, you ever feel like taking the leap into the beautiful and challenging field that is Software Engineering, do it and don’t look back. Believe in yourself, never let go of who you are, study, find yourself a mentor among your friends, study even harder, and always be good to others. Know that you will have to work hard to get to where you want but combine this with the previous tips, and you got yourself a solid recipe for success. So enjoy the ride, and we hope to see you in our course at Wargaming Forge!