By interning at Electrum, you’ll walk away with more than just a one-liner for your CV. You’ll have the opportunity to work with experienced people on meaningful, real-world projects in a fun and supportive environment. Shaaheen Sacoor, now a tech team lead at Electrum, shares how the internship programme gave him the tools he needed to build a successful career.
Every year, Electrum runs two paid internships for students looking to experience what it’s like working in FinTech. During the four week programme, interns join a team and are assigned a project that directly contributes to the team’s focus on solving a real problem that our customers face. Everyone gets a dedicated mentor for extra support. At the end of the programme they present their project to the whole company.
At Electrum, work life balance is important and we help our interns understand this through activities such as dinners, table tennis tournaments, karaoke evenings, hikes and any other social activity happening at Electrum during their internship. This helps them bond as a group and have some fun with the broader Electrum team.
Our goal is to provide our interns with a holistic view of what a career at Electrum looks like so that they gain not only technical skills but also personal skills they’ll need to thrive in the working world.
Shaaheen joined us for an internship four years ago when he was in his third year as a computer science student at UCT. He went on to do his Honours, and then returned to Electrum as part of our graduate programme. He quickly worked his way up, and now leads a team of eight developers.
Thinking back to the start of his career, here’s how Shaaheen feels his internship helped set him up to become a leader.
Being involved in meaningful work helped grow his confidence
Shaaheen’s intern project was focused on building out a solution for one of our biggest cross-border money transfer partners. Still in the early stages of development, Shaaheen was able to take part in discussions and contribute work to a product that now services millions of people. “That level of trust was very motivating,” Shaaheen says. “I got to have one-on-one conversations with our partner’s CEO and write code that the team still uses today. You don’t normally hear about an intern getting that involved and contributing in such a meaningful way.”
Being able to contribute to a real project in this way boosted Shaaheen’s confidence. “When I came back to Electrum after completing Honours, I felt comfortable to take initiative and get involved in the big projects because I’d started out here in the deep end.”
Working with a mentor helped him be proactive about his career goals
Every intern is assigned their own mentor who works closely with them throughout the four weeks. “My mentor was amazing,” Shaaheen shares. “He helped me a lot on a technical level but the thing that’s stuck with me the most is the conversations that we had about my career.”
By frequently checking in about what his future goals were, his mentor was able to help Shaaheen start thinking about his career in a more structured way. This helped him realise that growth opportunities, good leadership and a healthy company culture were just as important as fair remuneration when it came to choosing a job.
“Talking to my mentor about my career was really inspiring and that sense of excitement helped me take charge of planning my way forward, which was useful as I came to the end of my degree.”
A supportive environment helped him take ownership
During his internship, Shaaheen says that Electrum’s culture really stood out to him: “Everyone was very welcoming, and the office was a very positive space to be in. You could see that people took their work seriously but also had a lot of fun.”
Interacting with people who were supportive of each other helped Shaaheen settle in quickly. “Feeling supported is one of the most important things at the start of your career,” he says. “It helped me feel like I could take ownership of what I was doing because people had my back.”
Shaaheen is not the only intern who’s been able to grow his career at Electrum – we’ve got plenty of people on the team who’ve started levelling up their careers after their internships at Electrum.