Living the Dream as a LinkedIn Intern

August 17, 2012

Editor’s Note: This is part of a series of blog posts by LinkedIn’s incredible summer interns. Today, we hear from Gilbert Hernandez who is currently a Master’s student at the University of California, Berkeley.

The past 12 weeks as a Web Development Intern at LinkedIn has been a dream come true. If I told myself in the beginning of my internship that I would be working one-on-one with executives like Deep Nishar, Senior Vice President of Product, and Steve Johnson, Director of Design and Web Development, on a high impact project, I wouldn’t have believed myself.

My fascination with the Internet and web development started over 15 years ago in middle school. I tinkered with HTML files and created small webpages for myself. Mostly self-taught by reading tutorials and a healthy dose of trial and error, I dreamed of one day helping to create products that would impact millions of lives in a positive way. My time here at LinkedIn gave me an opportunity to do just that as I built an internal website that helps the Product team at LinkedIn operate more efficiently and effectively so they can focus on building products that change people's lives.

Not only did my internship fulfill one of my dreams, it gave me the mentorship, guidance, and camaraderie that I have long sought in my career. As part of the web development team, I was surrounded with 60+ like-minded individuals who embraced me as one of their own. It felt less like a team and more like family to me. Right off the bat, I was introduced to one of the many web dev traditions with the "Wheel of Lunch[in]" where new hires get to spin a wheel to decide where everyone gets to eat lunch that day. Whenever I had a question, one of the web developers would promptly reply or knew someone who knew the answer. The best indicator that I was truly a part of the web dev family came on the last day of my internship. One of the full-time web developers mentioned to me that he was surprised to learn that I was an intern since I had assimilated into the culture so well.

My mentors, Peter Tong and Gina Groom, gave me the independence to make decisions and really make the project my own. Having the opportunity to talk one-on-one, eat lunch together, and even play ping pong with my mentors really gave me the chance to learn from their experiences both in and out of work.

I would not trade what I gained from my time as a Web Developer Intern here at LinkedIn for anything. I am thankful for all of the connections I have made not only professionally, but also personally. I'll definitely miss my team here at LinkedIn. Living one of my dreams and finding a family at LinkedIn were definitely unexpected, but were most definitely welcome.

Time to wake up, I’m home.