Ask HN: How can I be productive interning remotely?

I’m a senior undergraduate Computer Science student, and I recently began a paid internship position working remotely with a startup during school.

It’s been a bit of a rough start, and I’m having trouble getting clear tasks with well-defined requirements. The company has only begun working with interns in the past few months, and had very little in the way of established workflows. I effectively report directly to the CEO, who is an alumnus of my school and doesn’t seem to have experience managing software projects. They only started using task tracking and workplace communication tools in the past few weeks, and so far I’ve primarily communicated via email and calls. I’m beginning to feel quite useless, as I have no real idea of what’s expected of me or what the acceptance criteria are for the feature I’ve been tasked with implementing. Said feature had a rather unrealistic deadline to build from scratch, even for a professional working full-time, let alone a college intern working remotely for maybe a dozen hours a week. There are a number of other things regarding the company that strike me as red flags, and at this point I’m not sure it was a good idea to accept the position. I’m interested in the work being done though, and I think it could be a beneficial arrangement for all involved if the managerial/logistical issues can be sorted out.

So how can I make the most of this experience and provide as much value to the company as possible?


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