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Internship Advice: Why Everyone Should Work at a Startup

“Keeping people safe where they work and play” – That slogan drew me to apply for a software engineering internship at Lambent, and the same slogan greeted me upon my arrival to the office for my interview. Now, eight months later, I can confidently say that Lambent lives up to that mission.

Having completed three years of my undergraduate computer science degree, I came into the internship excited to see how my studies applied to real-world solutions. Doing an internship at a startup is a different experience from working at a large, established company. That’s because you are able to watch a company develop and grow, and be part of the team that makes that possible. From day one, I felt like I was contributing work that was critical to the company’s success.

As an intern, I primarily worked with the engineering team, but I was also given the opportunity to listen to sales calls, and hear how customers are interested in using our product. Beyond that, I was able to expand my portfolio of programming languages and frameworks. I learned new applications for my interest in functional programming, as well as front-end frameworks that were new to me. Among the engineering tasks, I completed was creating a new library to be put into production to monitor our back-end services. It all added up to the type of real-world experience that helps prepare engineers to contribute in meaningful ways to product portfolios.


When we went into production, I was proud of the team and myself, knowing that we were delivering on a mission to keep people safe.


If I ever had questions, there was always a team member happy to hop on a call to help me out. There were plenty of opportunities for social gatherings as well. Before the pandemic sent us all home for remote work in March 2020, we had “lunch trains” so no one had to eat alone, and every so often there would be an after-hours game night, which was a really fun way to hang out with the team. Plus, working in Boston, there was never a shortage of amazing food options to try. I grew up in Boston, but still, I was introduced to quite a few new ones (looking at you, Pita Thyme!)

Although we were suddenly working remote, and life was turned a bit upside down, Lambent was able to use our platform to provide a new density alerting service to help bring our new normal into grasp. This was probably the coolest part of the internship for me. We were able to take our existing service and develop a solution to help venues reopen safely. That kind of innovation was really exciting to me. Even as an intern, I provided hands-on work to this project. When we went into production, I was proud of the team and myself, knowing that we were delivering on a mission to keep people safe.

I am extremely grateful for my time at Lambent and for this opportunity to learn and grow. As I continue onwards to my senior year of undergrad, I find myself knowing more about which classes would be most valuable to my interests, and what their practical applications might be, thanks to the guidance I have received here. I am so thankful for the eight months I spent at Lambent, and I am excited to continue my internship in a part-time role during my final year of school.

If I had one piece of advice to give engineering students, it would be to seek out a startup with a mission you believe in, and jump in. It’s a great way to build a career!

Hannah Reed is a computer science major at McGill University. She is currently in her fourth year.

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