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Ask HN: What do you give work experience kids to do in your office?
5 points by joehahart 5 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 3 comments

I've had a couple of work experience students work on my teams. I started them off with manual QA and, as they learned our product, I asked for their help reviewing documentation and tutorials.

Having fresh eyes learn the product and then focus on user experience yielded some great insights. From there, most of the time, we slowly moved into user support. Afterwards, I'd assign special projects depending on personality and interests. One had a really amazing knack for front end design, so she ended up rebuilding most of our support site. Another was just a brilliant, compassionate writer. She rewrote most of our tutorials and translated many of our support materials into French. A few months in and she had advanced enough to become my replacement's most important resource. I still can't quite believe her growth over a short time.

In retrospect, I don't think the particular tasks matter as much as the mindset. I gave them important tasks that they could handle and, as they learned more, I gave them more. And, I know that our entire company trusted them. Finally, this only worked because upper management completely supported me.

QA/Support - I have seen in my current company graymatrix, transition from entry level here to various roles. Even marketing

I did an internship at an engineering company during highschool and they gave me various tasks with pretty minimal guidance.

The one that stuck out the most was downgrading their desktops from Vista to XP. Most of the drivers on the XP disc didn't work on the newer hardware so i was pretty stuck. One of the engineers told me to research slipstreaming drivers, which led me on a 3 day journey to creating custom boot discs & successfully installing XP

Give them work that will challenge them & also serve a business purpose if possible

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