Internship at mobile.de
Internships are a great way to experience the workstyle of a company, gather knowledge and in the best case get contacts inside the company for your future career. I decided to apply for an internship at mobile.de, to get an impression of Android development at an established company.
This article is about how I got to know mobile.de and what experiences I made during my internship.
I was in the first year of my master's degree when I used the opportunity of HPI Connect offered by my university to meet IT business companies. At this convention, different companies presented themselves to students of the Hasso-Plattner-Institut in a speed dating format. One of the companies present was eBay Inc which was represented by mobile.de. My primary interests were the possibility to go overseas and to work with Android. As I was talking to André and Holger they told me about the possibilities that eBay Inc offers. It is possible to travel and work with experienced teams all over the world on established products and implement new features. For me, eBay Inc provided the possibility to gather experience and widen my horizon, therefore, I exchanged business cards with André and Holger to make further contact.
Ebay Inc at the HPI Connect in Potsdam Griebnitzsee. Source: HPI/K. Herschelmann
A short time after the convention, eBay Inc contacted me and asked if I was still interested in working with them. Since I was still studying, I applied for an internship to get an insight into eBay Inc. To evaluate my prior knowledge, I was invited to eBay Inc at Dreilinden and presented some of my university and private projects that I had worked on. On this occasion, I had the chance to take a tour of the Dreilinden campus to get an impression of the development environment.
Start of the Internship
After completing the recruiting process, my first day at eBay Inc started. My worktime was 20 hours per week and I was appointed to the mobile application team of mobile.de with the focus on Android. Before I could start working I was introduced to the team and set up my development tools. The integration of the team was the same as for any other employee. I got my own desk, my own working station and my own name plate. During the weekly technology department meetings on Wednesdays, I was introduced to the rest of mobile.de. To get an orientation what I want to do during my internship, my people manager and I identified goals that I should accomplish during this time. These consisted on the one hand in understanding the used patterns and technologies of the Android app and on the other hand of working in other teams of mobile.de to get an overview of the company. Since it was the first time that I worked on a large business Android application, it took some time to get an overview of the application code and understand the implementation details. In this article by Mario, the structure and setup of the mobile.de Android project is described and provides a great overview on Android development in general.
A really valuable experience was that I could apply the methods and patterns learned at university during the internship. At the mobile.de team we use Kanban as a planning process, which was completely new for me. But I could use my knowledge about Scrum and the tools used for Scrum to help me with learning the new methods. Many patterns and development processes taught at HPI were extremely helpful to minimize the effort to integrate into a running business and work effectively together with other developers.
The integration into the team brought me many valuable experiences. I was able to get an insight into business processes at eBay Inc and I could talk to different departments about their working methods (e.g. Marketing). The most valuable benefits of the internship are the connections made.
Most of the time I was working together with Mike and Mario on the Android application. Both of them taught me a great deal about Android and Java development and introduced me to the Android Community of Berlin. One of the most fun Android conventions in Berlin was the Google Developer DevFest that we attended, but the monthly meetings of the Android Stammtisch at the C-Base are also worth visiting.
Android Stammtisch January 2014. Source: Richard Meissner
At eBay Inc, the teams are not isolated from each user. This was reflected in a lot of communication between the product owners, designers, UX interaction architect and us developers. Knowledge sharing among the different development teams is very common to benefit from the learning made on other platforms. Also weekly workshops were performed on Test Driven Development and other current technologies. The highest cooperation are the Session Based Tests that are done before every major release. As described in Mario's blog post, the whole mobile application team of mobile.de gets together for SBTs to test the new features that are going to be released.
At the various company events of eBay Inc I could talk to many different people that suggested to me that I should look into the possibility of writing my master thesis together with eBay Inc. After I talked to my team it was necessary to find a professor at my university that would supervise my thesis.
Transition to full time work
While I was writing my master thesis, I reduced my working hours to 14 a week. This allowed me to work for two days and use the rest of the time for my research. For my research I was working with the application code of the mobile.de Android application and looked into the memory management of Android and business applications. My coworkers supported me by forwarding interesting scientific articles, providing literature and giving me feedback on my concepts and implementations.
As I got closer to finishing my master thesis, I was offered to start as a full time employee after I got my masters degree. Carefully considering the different options I got after I finished my degree I decided to start at eBay Inc. This decision was mainly based on the team I work together with and the code base that we are working on. This took away a lot of pressure and I decided to reduce my workings hours even further at the end of my internship to the minimum of 10 hours a week to concentrate more on finishing my master thesis.
The internship at mobile.de gave me a great insight into eBay Inc and allowed me to meet many people that helped me to develop and increase my knowledge. The integration into the team made me feel like I was a real part of the team and I was often offered the possibility to prove myself. For me the transition to a full time employee at eBay Inc was the perfect end of my internship and a very good start into my career as a software developer. I would recommend everyone to apply for an internship and take the opportunity to experience the work mode at a big leading software company.