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An Interview with an Intern at ARM

What was it about ARM that made you want to apply for them? Why this particular internship?

As a 20 year old Software Intern and first year student of a Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence course, I did not quite know what to expect from an internship in a big and well-known company like ARM. I lived in Cambridge for one year before starting university, and I was aware of the variety of nationalities among the employees, but I knew nothing about the ratio of men/women working in technology here.

I joined the tech environment and started getting involved in study and work experiences within the Informatics and Engineering field only about two years ago, after moving to the UK – I am originally from Italy – and I have never felt the need to highlight that even if I am a woman I can still be a valid computer scientist.

What kind of team do you work in?

At ARM, I work in the Demo/Gaming team and I love every moment of it. We work on developing demonstration software in virtual reality to showcase the latest ARM technology, and we also get a chance to play around with the HTC Vive and the PlayStation 4 that we have at the office.

Currently, I am working on software and programming languages that I was planning to learn over the summer independently from whether I got the internship or not, and at the beginning I did not know much about it – I only had the basis from a similar software and related programming language. The team welcomed me and helped me getting involved in the tasks that they were working on from the very first moment. Not without some difficulties of course, but that is what makes it entertaining! During the first week, my line manager presented the following two months to me saying “If there is anything on which you feel confident working, I will not let you work on it”. I am the kind of person that loves getting out of her comfort zone as a way to learn and grow up, so that single sentence gave me the input and the enthusiasm I needed for a great start.

Workdays in a company that lets you work on improving your skills by focusing on whatever your passions are – video games, in my case – are one way of making you become one of those people who go on Facebook to write cheesy quotes like “choose a job that you love and you will never have to work a day of your life”. And yes, I must admit: I did it too. Also, I work on video games; do I really need to say anything else?

What has your experience at ARM been like so far, and what intern experiences have you been involved in?

After less than one month into my internship here at ARM I realised how this company knows how a welcoming and entertaining work environment is part of what makes a job enjoyable. The company organises movie nights, socials, talks – free pizza! –, summer BBQs – free beer, free burgers! Not sure I am emphasising this enough here! Some of the events are exclusively for interns, providing the opportunity to meet a lot of students working on many different projects, and to share knowledge and interests. ARM also has a small gym, so you have the chance to work on those biceps to beat your colleagues at arm wrestling (get it?). And if that turns out not being enough, there are gaming stations in the main social areas around all the buildings, to prove who the most valuable player is.

It has only been one month and a half but I feel like I have already blended in with the ARM community, thanks to the people I am working with and to the people I have met during this journey. The internationality of the company makes the environment diverse and interesting: there is always something new to learn, either about work or colleagues, which is what makes employees grow as people as well as engineers.

Alessia Nigretti