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Product & Engineering

The Duo Internship Program from a Manager’s Perspective

Every summer, Duo welcomes a new intern class for three months to share in our mission to democratize security. Our paid internship program gives participants the opportunity to grow in their career, and we love learning from our interns’ fresh perspectives.

We’ve shared a bit in the blog about what the program is like from the perspective of interns. As we ramp up for the 2022 class of Duo interns, we’re shifting the focus to highlight what the experience of managing an intern at Duo looks like.

Designing the Internship Experience 

“As the internship program lead, I find preparing our team for the summer internship program energizing.” —Emily Samar, Internship Program Manager

Behind the scenes, our internship program team is dedicated to setting interns up for success before they even start. It wasn’t until I became an intern manager that I learned about all the thoughtful planning that goes into ensuring our interns have a positive experience.

Planning starts months before the program starts and takes all program participants' needs into consideration. Before interns begin, our employee programs team spends time identifying impactful events and learning opportunities for interns to participate in throughout the summer. While the programs team shape the interns’ experience, they also prepare intern leads for the summer with an internal training for first-time people leaders. 

A primary goal of our program is to hire interns as full-time employees at the end of the internship program. For example, we’ve seen success mentoring interns for positions on our Product Design team as user researchers and UX engineers who joined our team full-time. Duo does this by putting interns on a path to make connections, learn together, and achieve professional goals.

Internship Goal No. 1: Making Connections

Making connections across Duo, rather than working in silos, helps ideas flourish. To guide our new interns, we implement a 30/60/90-day plan that introduces them to their key teammates, project partners and objectives. 

As an intern manager, I set project goals, recommended subject matter experts, made introductions, engaged in weekly 1:1’s, fielded questions, encouraged project updates, and provided mentorship. Wanting to support our interns to make their own decisions for their work, I also held space for them to take ownership of important milestones to share with the Product and Engineering teams.

Internship Goal No. 2: Learning Together

With the Product Design internship, we plan for our interns to collaborate alongside their teams to transform customer and user insights into a product outcome. For example, the problem statement we worked on last summer was, “How might we help end users recognize and deny fraudulent push attempts in order to protect themselves and their company?”

From there, our intern drafted a plan to interview customers. They met with our User Research team and fleshed out a document for defining interview goals and collecting feedback. Next, our intern conducted interviews and started a digital collaboration board to display and analyze the insights. Here, with findings starting to form key themes, I saw the intern shine.

After researching and brainstorming various designs and working through cycles of feedback with their stakeholders, our intern developed usability testing concepts for what a more secure push authentication experience could look like for both end users and customers. The result? Users were able to complete the task successfully, and customers agreed the concepts addressed their concerns around push phishing. The design is now in active development.

As an intern manager, I was impressed by the wealth of discoveries they uncovered, and the proactive push for professional growth they made during the project. Collaboratively working together to provide coaching and share these discoveries along the way with our teams is essential to the Duo internship experience. This is how confidence grows, new ideas come to life, and knowledge spreads. As the internship program comes to a close, we host a teamwide event in which our interns showcase the results of their projects and the lessons learned.

Internship Goal No. 3: Achieving Professional Goals

Duo takes pride in helping interns grow their careers by offering a hands-on learning experience. Our company creates an environment where interns are encouraged to take risks, ask questions, and try new things. Our program encourages interns to work closely with their teams, attend meetings, and share ideas!

For example, past interns have co-led a series of writing workshops on Friday mornings to promote mindful UX writing at all parts of the design process. As an intern manager, I helped dedicate time toward professional development by asking what skills the intern would like to learn and planning action items during the project to make progress on those goals.

“Duo wants every team member to feel empowered to offer their biggest and best contributions, to achieve that and reach our fullest potential as a company.” —Seema Kathuria, Senior Product Marketing Manager

Mentoring and seeing people grow during their summer internships and accomplishing these goals has been a rewarding and enriching experience. I’m grateful for the opportunity to not only support a new generation of thinkers and leaders, but also to learn from them.

Explore the Duo Internship Program

If you’re just getting started as a tech industry professional, the Duo internship program will help give you a head start at a company that supports some of the largest and fastest-growing organizations in the world. We’re offering paid opportunities from technical to people-focused, fully remote and flexible to students across the U.S.