Words of Advice From One Intern to Another: Ashley Cyborski
Current team member and former intern Ashley Cyborski shares some words of advice with future interns.
Throughout any given year, Palantir has the privilege of hosting and working with a diverse array of career-minded students via our internship program. 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.