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Entrepreneurial

My Internship at AppLovin: A Building Block in My Career

by Basil Shikin on Oct 6, 2015

The following is a guest post from Darshan Patil, a sophomore at UC San Diego

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Darshan Patil

Last month, I wrapped up a three-month long engineering internship at AppLovin, and I feel really good about what I learned and what I was able to accomplish. I got to work closely with Anusha Ramesh, a senior software engineer at AppLovin, and focused on two projects: replacing legacy code for a reporting platform and creating an internal web tool that automates some tasks engineers had been doing manually.

I started programming about three years ago, and I’m just starting my sophomore year at the University of California, San Diego, where I’m majoring in CS. Until I started interning at AppLovin, I’d never had a real office job, so this was an incredible opportunity to contribute to work on a massive scale, and to see how several huge systems fit together. I’m used to doing programming on my own, so it was also an illuminating experience to see how a whole team can work individually, yet in sync at the same time.

My work helped make some systems within the company operate even better, and it felt great to truly be a part of the company’s success.

Although I have three more years of undergrad, I’m fairly certain that I want to go on to grad school in computer science, and right now I envision focusing on artificial intelligence or machine learning. My time at AppLovin has only affirmed my commitment to this field.

So for all of you engineering students out there reading this post: think about an internship sooner rather than later, and aim high. I spoke to a lot of AppLovin employees about their internships, and asked if their experiences were as good as mine. Most said no, and told me what their internships lacked. Based on what I experienced during my time at AppLovin, and from the anecdotes of other employees, here are a few tips for finding a fulfilling internship that I’ve synthesized:

Make sure that the opportunity offers you a chance to work on projects that give you some ownership. At some companies, interns’ work is so fragmented across multiple projects that they can’t take credit for any one thing. So make sure in advance that you will be working on specific projects that you will not only learn from but be able to reference with future employers. Ask your network or friends (specifically the more seasoned ones) about the good internships they’ve had — because every company will claim they are the best to intern for. That doesn’t mean it’s true!

Find a top-notch company whose engineers have a genuine commitment to mentoring. At AppLovin, I’ve worked closely with Anusha, every day for three months. She’s been incredibly generous in terms of giving me direction and feedback along the way — and in giving me perspective on the field as a whole as I start to plan my career.

Find a company that shares your values and shows its appreciation for you. It was great that at AppLovin there was a shared commitment to the intellectual rigor that underpins great engineering, but I also appreciated that the company treats its employees so well. Every afternoon, I would sit outside with my coworkers, eating catered lunches, talking to them about everything from the intricacies of the Chinese airlines to Donkey Kong. And for our game night, pretty much everyone joined in. Nothing really can convey the culture of the company better than the moment when even senior engineers start putting it all on the line to convey the character Batman in a game of charades. My co-workers were not only smart, but fun to hang-out with outside of the office.

Given that this was my first internship, I feel like I lucked out — I got solid experience, enjoyed my work, and learned more about the field. And now I know what to look for in every internship going forward.

Thanks, AppLovin!

If you’d like to be an intern at AppLovin, email [email protected] with Internship in the subject line

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Basil Shikin is AppLovin’s VP of Engineering.