1:1s and feedback

What is a 1:1?

"It’s fairly simple: just take 1 hour every two weeks for each team member and have an informal conversation about engagement, workload, team dynamics, performance and learning and development."

There's lots of articles about 1:1s - I got that description just by Googling it and finding this article

I won't talk that much about what 1:1s are or what you can do with them, since there are so many articles out there, but I want to talk a bit about how I've learned to use them productively to help me get feedback and grow as a person/engineer

Have 1:1s

I guess before assuming you're gonna have 1:1s with your supervisor/mentor I should realize that not everyone will have this setup. But I'd really strongly recommend it - it's very common accross tech and has been very important for my own growth and for my contributions to the companies I've worked at. If you don't have 1:1s at your company, consider convincing them to have them.

Ask questions in your 1:1s

Sometimes your manager won't come prepared with things to talk about. You can still learn a lot from them by preparing questions to ask and things to talk about. Here's a list of questions I liked

How to get good feedback/advice in your 1:1s

Ask for feedback. At every 1:1 say "Tell me what I can be doing better. Tell me what I'm already doing well so I can keep doing it." It can be really hard for supervisors/mentors/etc to think of these things, so push them. Say "I want to be better. Help me be a better person. If you can't give me feedback or advice, it'll hurt my career and my performance during this internship"

Ask teammates to meet with you too sometimes, if you work with them regularly. Sometimes you don't work much with your supervisor and they won't be able to give as good feedback, so ask the people you do work with for feedback.

Meet regularly enough to get feedback from them. (I like weekly 1:1s)

And push. I can't stress this enough. It might feel weird for them but do your best to figure out what you need to improve and then work at it.

At school, things you could improve are things like learning material better, studying harder, or whatever. But now you're learning people skills and technical skills which are WAY more interesting and useful. So take this opportunity you get to meet with people and ask for feedback, and try to learn as much as you can.

(Watch your health though - some interns try to do a lot and learn a lot and then burn out, so be careful)

One thing that's helped me in getting feedback and keeping track of progress is keeping a summary of all I've done over my intership