Thinking about interning at ICON?
Well, here’s what you need to know.
It’s entry-wage work, like most internships, but this job definitely has its perks. For starters, you won’t be stuck in a corner all day filing papers. You’ll be doing real work, learning real skills. And even more importantly, getting a front-row seat to the blockchain revolution.
“Before I came to ICON, I wasn’t sure how blockchain technology could affect our individual lives,” says Minhee So, an intern with ICON’s communication team. “But in January at the Singapore Forum I heard Josh Choi’s presentation about blockchain adoption. He talked about how blockchain technology could be applied to the public sector, for example in refugee camps or industries in developing countries. That’s when I came to understand how blockchain technology can really affect people’s lives and utilized all over the world. It was touching. It’s kind of a conceptual thing, but it was my most important change during my internship.”
9 to 5. Or 9:30 to 6:30, anyway.
Minhee and Taeyoon Kim are nearing the end of their three-month stints as interns with ICON’s communication team. Minhee, a media communication major, helps with the digital marketing for the P-rep campaign, writing articles, doing video work and making graphics. Taeyoon, who double majored in philosophy and communications, replies to emails, handles spam, but more substantially, also planned and executed ‘Dive Into ICON,’ ICON’s developer workshop. “It’s a bit unusual that one intern alone is planning and executing a workshop,” he says. “But I’m rather proud because I could do a lot of things for it.”
Their days begin at 9:30 in the morning. They go home at 6:30. Lunch is from 12:30 to 1:30. They rarely work overtime.
Taeyoon’s schedule is relatively static. He answers emails and plans the developer workshops. Minhee’s schedule is more fluid, changing in response to the needs of the P-rep campaign. In the morning, however, she does do an internal newsletter for the team.
Taeyoon Kim, ICON intern, 2019
Minhee joined ICON as an intern for the challenge. “I just wanted to do something new, because blockchain technology is really far from my major,” she says. “At the time, I just wanted a challenge, so I searched for new technology and tech companies. And I found ICON.”
Taeyoon, too, was fascinated with the technology. “I was so interested in new technology that’s coming in the future like IoT, big data and crowdfunding,” he says. “And between them, I thought blockchain had the best potential for industrialization in the future.”
Minhee So, ICON intern, 2019
Learning about blockchain. Learning to communicate
Being interested in the technology is one thing. Understanding it is quite another. Taeyoon and Minhee confess it took awhile to get their heads around the technology. “I majored in media communications, which is completely different from the whole world of blockchain,” says Minhee. “When I first joined the company, I spent a lot of time studying about the technology. It was really eye-opening.”
People have to specialize at ICON. This presents opportunities and challenges. Taeyoon says, “People can develop skills at a high level in one area, but the bad thing is that it takes a little more time to share what we do.”
But learning to share, and learning to communicate, is also one of the best things about the job. Taeyoon, for instance, has learned he has a real flair for it. “As I’ve been working here, I’ve discovered that I enjoy communicating with people in different teams, other enterprises and with outside developers,” he says. “I like writing and planning too, but I’m really satisfied when I communicate with other people.”
Though she majored in communications, Minhee learned that marketing technology requires a particular skillset. “I’ve learned how to work in an office and effectively communicate with others, and how to deal with intangible goods,” she says. “Digital technology marketing is really hard because we cannot see the actual product. I’ve learned that there’s a different way to deal with intangible goods.”
And say what you will about the workload, but ICON’s interns do real work and acquire real skills. “It’s been a great opportunity for me to do some practical work in the company,” says Minhee. “I’ve heard my friends are doing only paper work in other companies, but here, I can do more work and participate in real projects. I think that’s the advantage of startups and tech companies.”