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My virtual internship at Facebook
Azhar Ali, Honors College student and director of mentorship for UPE

My virtual internship at Facebook

October 7, 2020 at 3:00pm

Name: Azhar Ali

Hometown: Marabella, Trinidad and Tobago

What is your major? Computer Science and Mathematics

Where did you intern? What was your role there?
 I interned at Facebook as a Facebook University (FBU) Engineering intern. FBU is a freshman/sophomore program that allows students to get a better understanding of the field and to get more comfortable with the tech industry. 

How did you get your internship? I got the internship by finding it on the website when I was looking at the different opportunities they offered. I also heard about the internship when talking to some members of FIU's chapter of Upsilon Pi Epsilon(UPE), an international honors society for computing and tech students.

What advice do you have for those beginning the internship process? Apply to as many places as you can, even if you think you have a chance or not. You never know what the outcome could be until you try. 

What projects did you work on? I went through a three-week bootcamp on learning Android development by working on a series of projects, and then I created my own app from scratch called Mentorply, a mentorship program management application. The reason I created this application is that I'm the director of a program called UPE Mentor, and I felt that this app could possibly help streamline the mentorship process and make it easier for mentors and mentees to get in contact with one another. 

How does your internship connect back to your coursework? My coursework in Java heavily prepared me for this internship as I coded in Java to create the Android apps. I was able to understand what I was working on on a deeper level. 

What was the coolest thing about your internship or that has happened during your internship?
I was able to meet so many cool people working at Facebook, doing all sorts of jobs, from program managers, senior software engineers, designers and so many more. The internship opened up my eyes to how the internship would work. 

What are you learning about yourself or how is the position increasing your professional confidence?
After this internship, I feel much more confident in my skills as a software engineer. I feel like I am able to contribute to projects and I am more able to make an impact in my community through technology. I feel like I have more marketable skills now and I have the confidence to excel in the tech industry. 

What is it like to have a “virtual” internship during the COVID-19 pandemic? I very much wished that the internship was in-person, but it was great having my family around while I completed the internship. The work hours extended a bit more as we were online and there was no commuting time that would normally happen during an in-person internship.

What tools were you provided with to succeed in a virtual internship? Facebook sent me an Apple Macbook Pro and an Android phone so that I could test my applications using the actual phone instead of having to only rely on an emulator (virtual phone) to test my application. Their internal tools also proved helpful to help us succeed in the internship. 

How did you connect with colleagues and build connections through a remote work environment? We would do standups every day where we would update each other on our progress during the day and we would try to help each other as much as possible. We would also play games occasionally and there were different activities that Facebook hosted.