Roadmap to PPO

Think about the effort that went into preparing for that coveted internship. How many late-night study sessions did you have? How many hours did you code and caffeine to practice? How many dreams did you have about receiving the email with the title “CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR OFFER”?

All the hard work has now paid off. You’re in the office, on the corporate super comfy rotating chair on your designated table with your shining new system ready for you. Now what?

Your journey with your dream company has begun. But it’s a short stint. You surely want to stay with the company for a long and grow with it. So how do you prove to the company that you’re gonna be a great, productive part of the team both professionally and personally? Alongside a good engineer, you also need to be a team player. Because let’s face it, a good engineer who is also a good cultural fit is better than a great engineer who fails to gel in with the team. So how do we grab that PPO?

The obvious primary expectation from you would be to deliver your work. Now, what does deliver entail? You need to deliver both in terms of quality and time. Your program will be used by plenty of people so it needs to perform well in terms of accuracy, execution time, and error handling. The code should be comprehensible and maintainable as well. Furthermore, deadlines need to be taken seriously. When you’re working on production-level code delivering on time is critical to the product lifecycle.

Being a good communicator is a necessary skill to work well with the team. You need to regularly update your mentor about what you’re working on, how your progress has been, and whether there are any blockers. Keeping your mentor in the loop will help them be in sync about your work and progress which will be beneficial for you during the mentor manager interaction about your project. It’ll also help you get unblocked on issues quickly and be on time with your delivery schedule.

Towards the end of your internship, you’ll likely have a meeting with your mentor and manager to assess your contribution and efficiency with your task. We feel confident about presenting what we’ve done but when put on the spot and asked to summarise about the same, most people stutter, stumble and fail to justify their weeks of dedicated hard work. A great way to deal with this is a work log. Dedicate a simple word file to note down your daily progress and problems you solved. After each week summarise the week’s work and write it down as well. This way you’ll end up with an informational log of what you did, drilled down to days and weeks.

Now you can present the same to your mentor and manager before the discussion. And before the discussion just go through the weekly log once and practice how you’ll summarise your weeks of work concisely and meaningfully. Believe me, when I say this, people love and appreciate this way of documenting work and presenting a detailed account of the same.

This is a very underlooked and undervalued component of the corporate job environment. Informal team meetings and after-hour games and parties are where people let it loose and form bonds outside of the workplace. You can show that you synergy well with the team and are capable of making a conversation not related to work. Might seem trivial but is definitely a valuable trait. And these relationships definitely pay off during the decision-making process as well as later in your career.

Good standing with your manager and mentor is crucial. It’s something that will help with all the points mentioned above and more. How to do it though? Schedule weekly meetings with your mentor to talk about your success with the project. During the meetings try to talk about something casual but still professional like their work experiences, their idea about the product, their expectation from upcoming technological advancements, etc. You get the deal! While a similar one-to-one with the manager might not be possible, a short 10–15 mins once a month catch-up to just talk about your progress and learnings will be helpful. And whether or not granted, the meeting request will be noted and appreciated.

Well, there you go. Hard work and dedication will get you to 90%. But these simple tips and tricks will get you to 99%. Rest 1% let’s say luck also plays some part 😋

Hope you liked the article. Would love to hear your comments on the same and do share any suggestions to help improve the article and help other readers here.

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Aarnav Jindal

Avid programmer chasing developments in the dynamic and invigorating world of technology 🤓