Skip to Main Content
Close Menu

Maximizing Your Internship: Essential Tips for Success

Current team member and former interns Patrick Weston and Ashley Cyborski shares some useful insights with future Palantir interns.

Photo of Patrick Weston and Ashley Cyborski

Throughout any given year, Palantir has the privilege of hosting and working with a diverse array of career-minded students via our internship program. 

Patrick Weston served as one of Palantir’s interns during the summer of 2013, while studying computer science at Northwestern University. He later joined Palantir as a full time team member following his graduation in 2015. 

This summer I worked as a Front End Developer (FED) intern at I spent half of my time learning Drupal and SMACSS coding standards along with handling support tickets for multiple sites. The other half of my internship I worked as the primary FED for a client project. Based upon my experiences as an intern, I write this open letter to future interns at Palantir:

Dear Future Palantir Intern,

Being successful as an intern at is dependent upon two things. You’d probably assume those to be things like your work ethic and the attitude you bring with you each day, or technical things like how well you know how to code and how fast you can learn new stuff. Well I’m here to tell you you’ve got it all wrong. To be successful at Palantir, what you really need to be good at is sci-fi trivia and rapid-fire GIF curation.

Ok, I kid. Those might not be essential, but they will help you fit into the culture of Palantir, where “Open the Pod bay doors, HAL” adorns the door to the rooftop patio and “Please Captain, not in front of the Klingons” similarly adorns a bathroom wall. My tips will also help you keep up with Palantir’s internal group chat where, in addition to actual professional learning, you will also learn water cooler tidbits and witness an impressive array of cat GIFs. Needless to say, the office culture is nerdy—in a cool nerd type of way.

Don’t fret though, I do have two legitimate tips for success that might seem a little contradictory, but if you can strike the right balance between them, I think you’ll be golden. Get your pen and paper out and write these down:

  1. Believe in yourself. You’ve made it this far, you’ve been hired by an awesome company, and you look good (at least I’m assuming you look good). If you’re in a meeting, don’t be afraid to share your ideas if you have one. Or if you have an alternate viewpoint on an issue, bring it up. It might gain no traction, but there’s also a chance it could be really useful. I can think of a few times where I bit my tongue when I should have said something, and I regret it.
  2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. While I told you to believe in yourself, you’ll probably also notice that you run into times where you don’t know what you’re doing. I’ve learned so much this summer by getting completely stuck and asking for help. I was also fortunate to have a great mentor who wouldn’t just show me answers, but would explain just enough to allow me to solve it myself. Don’t be afraid to ask “stupid” questions, too. I did, and I didn’t zap into a cloud of embarrassment.

If you’re nervous about getting an internship, that’s totally natural. However, don’t be afraid to go for it. If you do land an internship, remember to believe in yourself and ask questions. This summer at Palantir has been such an awesome experience for me … I wouldn’t want you to miss out.


Ashley Cyborski came to us from Chicago’s Loyola University and served as a design intern the summer of 2013. She impressed us so much with her agility, talent and demeanor, we immediately turned around and hired her! 

During the summer of 2013, I worked as a design intern, and I learned a variety of skills from the mechanical to the mundane. While I spent the majority of time familiarizing myself with Sass, Compass, standard Web practices, responsive Web design, SMACSS naming conventions, and prototyping in the browser, I also made some neat cat GIFs for peoples’ birthdays. In the process, I learned a lot about Palantir’s Web design and development process from beginning to end.

The amount of information I absorbed amazed me. I did a wide variety of project work from print (designing an address stamp, developing event brands, and creating support collateral for an on-site event) to digital (designing and developing a website while working directly with the client). I experienced a little bit of everything. Here are my words of wisdom for future interns: 

Dear Future Palantir Interns:

When I accepted my internship with Palantir, I wasn’t sure what to expect. As the first day of my internship started to approach, I began to get nervous. I read up on all the (probably ir)relevant information I could find about Web design and Palantir in hopes that my skills would be up to par. Of course, I also hoped the Palantiri would like me rather than despise my intern ways. I went through all of the typical first-day stresses. Freaking out about what to wear—I tried on about 10 outfits that morning. I was probably sweating a bit more than normal, and I’m sure I was awkwardly quiet.

Looking back, I realize I had nothing to worry about. No one cared about my strategic outfit, aside from a compliment or two on the color. Everyone at Palantir is friendly, talented, helpful and nerdy with a whole lot of awesome and, of course, always willing to offer up advice or answer questions. I really felt they valued me as a contributing member of the team.

Heed this: Don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice. The Palantir knowledge base has over 9,000 articles. There are hundreds of tools to use, and thousands of ways to think about content on the Web. The people at Palantir helped me to focus my attention and directed me to new and relevant ideas. I sifted through these to form opinions, learn techniques, and develop new skill sets. I felt like I never stopped reading: books, articles, and blog posts galore, everyone had something to say and usually made thought-provoking and valid points. Don’t get me wrong, I had taken classes and thought I knew a thing or two, but those classes barely scratched the surface. At Palantir, I dove in and was able to practice what I was learning on relevant projects.

That is just the technical side of the internship. I hope you enjoyed my account of some of the other crazy and fun things that happened, from office-wide Nerf gun wars, to synchronized GIF creations, to cats bombs (... you’ll get it once you start). Your internship with Palantir will be truly unique.

In order to get the most from it, get excited! You’ll learn new things and work on some big projects. You’ll find new tools, refine your skills, and learn how to best present information on the web. Lastly, you’ll meet some awesome people and do some crazy fun things. Hey, I liked it so much I decided to stick around.

Good luck!



Let’s work together.

Have an exceptional idea? Let's talk and see how we can help.

Contact Us