Basecamp is looking for interns for summer 2017

Basecamp is looking for talented interns to join our team this summer. We’re excited to work with you, and the things you work on will impact millions of users at the world’s leading online project management tool.

The deadline for applying for a summer internship at Basecamp is February 10, 2017.

About the Basecamp summer internship program

Interns at Basecamp don’t fetch coffee. They don’t file papers or book meeting rooms. They work on real projects that have a real impact on our company, our products, and our customers. You’ll leave Basecamp with new technical, creative, and business skills and having accomplished something significant.

As an intern, you’ll work with a mentor in the company. That person will be your go-to for questions and guidance about your project, about Basecamp, and about the industry in general. You’ll participate in our Campfire rooms with the entire company. You’ll say “good morning” in All Talk, discuss ideas in Building Basecamp, and post pet pics in All Pets.

Internships at Basecamp are remote — you can work from anywhere you want, provided there’s some overlap in time zones with your assigned mentor. We’ll fly you to the Chicago office once during the summer to get together with your mentor and the rest of the intern class, and you’ll talk regularly with your mentor via phone, Skype, or Google Hangouts.

All internships are paid and require a commitment of 8–12 weeks of full time work between May and August 2017 (we’re flexible on start/end dates, planned vacations, etc.).

You can read about the experiences of some of last year’s interns for inspiration!

About you

We’re hiring interns across the company — we have openings in programming, product design, operations, support, and data. Regardless of role, there are a few key things we’re looking for in interns:

  • You are independent and self-driven. Basecamp is built on the concept of being a team of “managers of one”, and that applies to interns as well. You’ll get plenty of support and guidance from your mentor and the rest of the team, but no one will be telling you how to spend each minute of your day, so it’ll be up to you to make sure you’re making forward progress.
  • You are an excellent communicator. We write a lot at Basecamp — we write for our products, we write for our marketing sites and initiatives, we write to our customers, and most importantly, we write as our primary way of communicating internally (using Basecamp, of course). Clear and effective communication is essential to being successful at Basecamp.
  • You have fresh ideas and you’re willing to share them. We don’t know it all, and we actively want to hear fresh ideas and perspectives that we haven’t considered.
  • You’re eager to learn. You’ll dive right in to new technologies, new approaches, and new concepts and apply them to your work.
  • You’re not a computer science or design student? That’s not a problem. Past interns have been philosophy majors, poets, improv comic performers, and gelato makers, as well as computer science and design students. We’re not sticklers for traditional education.

How to apply

We’ve deliberately kept the application simple so you can tell us about yourself the way you want to. We want to know why you want to be an intern at Basecamp, what you’re interested in working on, what work you’ve done in the past, and why we should hire you. Give us the URL to your portfolio, blog, GitHub site, etc. Add a resume if you want, but remember, we’re always impressed by a great cover letter.

Oh, and while we love Basecamp, inviting us to a Basecamp project isn’t a great way to apply for a spot here. So please don’t do that.

You can fill out your application here. We’ll accept applications through Friday, February 10th. You’ll get an email to confirm your application shortly after you apply.

The projects

You’ll be working on a real project that matters to the company and the team that you’re working with, and you’ll be expected to own and contribute to the project. You’ll have the opportunity to shape the project with your mentor to meet the needs of the company and the things you’re interested in working on. We’re looking for interns on the following teams:

Data: We’re looking for someone who loves data. Someone who gets a CSV file of new data and can’t wait to dig in and start exploring. Someone who is excited to write great SQL queries and discover new R packages. We believe that data science is mostly about basic arithmetic, business judgement, and problem solving, so we value foundational skills more than machine learning experience.

You’ll spend your summer conducting independent analyses to answer important questions we have. Recent questions you might have answered have been about customer demographics, usage of Basecamp on mobile phones, conversion rates over time, or A/B test results. You’ll identify the data you need to answer the question, perform analysis, create visualizations, and write up a compelling story. You’ll also participate in peer review of other analyses, weigh in on other team data projects, and contribute to our daily chart habit.

iOS: Have you created an app that runs on your phone? We’re looking for a programmer who displays ingenuity and the skill to create software for iOS that considers the user as well as the code. If you have a product in the App Store, we’d love to see it! We’re also impressed with projects built for personal curiosity or coursework. We’re more interested in seeing that you have the aptitude to make something real than seeing what classes you’ve taken.

Examples of the kind of work you’d be doing include: Create a media viewer with gesture based controls and the ability to browse uploads of different types; Provide a way to quickly add To-do items from the home screen or a Today widget; Examine analytics data and use it to inform improvements that can be made in the app; Create a presentation mode that shows an alternate view over AirPlay for in-person meetings.

Ops: We’re less concerned with how much ops-specific knowledge you have and more interested in your ability to problem-solve and adapt, and most critically, learn. Familiarity with the command line and bash/zsh/git etc is a big plus, as is an interest in the Ops arena of problems and how systems are put together.

We’re in the middle of a huge transition from on-premises to cloud-based infrastructure, and we’ve always got something that we are interested in exploring, whether that’s alternate container runtimes, better blue/green deploy methods, better access-control and authen/authz systems (LDAP?), smaller, more efficient container strategies, or better local development methodologies.

Product design: Projects at Basecamp always start with design first, so you’ll have a unique opportunity to learn how we turn nascent ideas into real, working software that’s used by hundreds of thousands of people. We value experimentation, good writing, rapid iteration, and getting real. Our designers are a talented bunch — they’re responsible for everything from concepts to copywriting, prototypes, visual design, and production-quality code.

We’ll work on a handful of projects intended to give you a wide range of experience with our design process at Basecamp, including exploring a new idea from scratch, learning how to manage and scope work, and building a product feature all the way to production.

This position will involve working with web technologies. We’d like you to have some previous experience with visual design, and any experience with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript would be helpful too. (We’ll also be working in Rails but we don’t expect you to know it.) Beyond specific skills, we’d like you to bring fresh ideas and a new perspective to the team. If you’ve done weird side projects, drawn comics, written a blog, made an app, knitted a scarf, or invented anything else under the sun, tell us about it! We’d like to see examples of your curiosity and how you approach solving problems.

Programming: We’re looking for a generalist with experience working in full-stack development. Our environment is Ruby, Rails, and JavaScript, so you should be familiar with the ‘rails way’ of doing things. We’d love to hear from folks with experience in similar environments like Python or Django as well. You should have experience working on a real app. That could be something for a college class, a bootcamp project, a contribution to an open source project, etc.

Past intern projects have included the implementation of a strong password check across all apps, adding endpoints to the Basecamp API, and helping launch an update to the Basecamp files section.

Support: We’d like to see an intern who can help out in our social media sphere. We’ve tried to get more active on Instagram, we answer questions through Twitter, and we answer a small amount of questions from users on Facebook. How can we get better at those social media channels, and are there other social media channels we’re missing out on?

Tell us about a great social media experience you were part of. What was your role in it? What was the goal, and what was the outcome? Can you give us an example of a company that uses social media exceptionally well? What makes it so great? If you’ve worked with customers anywhere (doesn’t have to be in tech — could be in fast food or retail), we’d love to hear about it. Tell us about your experience working with people who had problems that you helped solve.

When we say work can wait, we mean it. Really.

We recently had a problem with our interns. Now, in terms of problems, it was a good one to have. I noticed some of them working on their days off or very late/early hours. That’s not how we roll here, so I had to issue a smack down.

Peer pressure is a real thing

It’s not overt, mind you. Our interns weren’t doing keg stands and listening to Dave Matthews and streaking across the quad. One person notices another working on a day off and feels pressured to do the same. The pressure is subtle, and it’s generated internally. Am I Interning enough? Is she Interning more than me? By not stopping it, we give it our tacit approval.

This sort of thing erupted on our Support team a while back. People felt they couldn’t take a sick day without letting the team down. So other people who were sick also didn’t take a day off to rest. Soon we were calling ourselves Team Tiny Tim. And that’s not good for anyone.

Taking days off sets healthy boundaries and expectations

It’s hard to walk away from the computers at the end of a work day. And on a day off, while looking at Facebook (or Tumblr? I don’t know what the kids look at these days), why not peek at Basecamp too? Oh, might as well respond to that message! Or post in Campfire! Or look at those to-dos that are still open…

Part of the goal with these internships is to teach folks how to navigate a professional job, beyond the job duties themselves. This summer, they’re peeking at Basecamp out of enthusiasm. In the future, they may be at a job where they feel pressured to work after hours simply because they have more to do than they can accomplish in a regular work week. Sound familiar to anyone?

Remember what I said about our Support team not taking sick days? They felt guilty about the increased workload on their coworkers. But because no one was taking a sick day, we weren’t able to identify a problem: the Support team was understaffed. We needed to hire people to reduce that workload and allow for days off, both planned and unexpected. And that didn’t become apparent until people started actually taking a day off.

We have a very talented group of interns this summer, and because of that, it would be easy for us to forget that they’re *interns*. It’s possible that we’ve under-estimated how long it will take for folks to accomplish the tasks we’ve given them. They may need more guidance on something than we thought. They’re learning, and we shouldn’t forget that. So I encouraged our interns to pay attention to their hours this summer and to get a sense of what they can reasonably accomplish in an 8 hour work day. That’s a skill that will serve them well.

We mean it, but we set a terrible example

A look through our Latest Activity feed reveals that full-time Basecampers log work after-hours or on our days off. We’ll post in Campfire rooms. We’ll complete to-dos and upload files. I’m totally guilty of looking through Basecamp on my phone while I’m sitting on my couch watching terrible tv shows. I need to put down the phone and pick up my knitting instead. Or maybe go outside. Baby steps.

I think part of why we write so much about work-life balance is to remind ourselves it’s ok to walk away from Basecamp. These posts create a different kind of peer-pressure: my gentle, polite smack-down encouraged not only the interns to take their days off, but also some full-time coworkers.

It’s hard work not working. It takes a lot of practice to build healthy boundaries, and a lot of practice to sustain them. Natalie Keshlear, from our support team, thinks a lot about work-life balance, and started a basecamp to help the rest of us disconnect from work. It’s called Carecamp. I asked her to write up a SvN post about it, and she told me she’d love to, but she was starting her sabbatical the next day and would do it when she got back.

Thanks for setting a good example, Natalie! Enjoy your month of healthy boundaries!

Basecamp announces Fun Can Wait™

At Basecamp, it’s part of our DNA to provide our customers with the latest and greatest technology. We know Basecamp is mission-critical software to our customers. And so, we continuously deliver new and improved product features in a timely manner, automatically, to enable you to seamlessly leverage the latest innovations and focus on growing your business.

With our latest release, we did a deep dive on some pain points, and are delivering some quick-win solutions! We’re proud to leverage our Spring ’16 feature: Fun Can Wait™.

The 37,000 foot view

With Basecamp your team will be working together more smoothly than ever before. But to really maximize your ROI you have to keep an eye on your KPIs. It can be like herding cats to get your team to focus. Fun Can Wait™ removes the frivolity from Basecamp, and cranks up your team’s productivity up to 11!

Gone are emoji pictures and animated gif uploads. Animated gifs are a drag on your network, and your bottom line! Instead, motivate your team with inspirational passages from our New York Times bestselling business minimalist manifesto REWORK. Instead of emoji pictures, Basecamp will render the emoji’s name. The paradigm shift from figurative to literal breaks through the clutter. You’ll leverage an increased level of engagement that will surface important information, accelerate pipelines, and impact organic growth.

We’re also leveraging a new notification system: Productivity Booster™. Productivity Booster™ headlights your employees’ response times. If responses take more than 30 minutes, Basecamp will send a reminder through multiple communication channels to remind people their top priority is work!

Your employees’ vacations are ripe for disruption. Set Vacation Hours to productively manage their leisure time. Vacation Hours empower your employees to take a holistic approach to their work. At the end of the day, who wants to wait until vacation is over to catch up on work communications? Going forward, your resources can maximize their productivity, where ever they may be.

Despite these measures, some employees can still sneak momentum-losing merriment into Basecamp. That’s why we’re also adding a flag for items that are too fun. If your employees see an event, message or comment they deem too mirthful, they can flag it for a manager’s review. It’s important to give your employees leverage over each other!

Fun Can Wait™ is designed to leverage your existing technology infrastructure, so with this feature release, we’ve circled back to IE8. Who needs the latest and greatest when you can stick with what’s familiar and reliable?

You can put your eyeballs on it at

Fun Can Wait™ was synergized by the blue-sky team of Ann Goliak, Vice President of Vernacular Integration; Anton Koldaev, Vice President of Information Technology; Eileen Uchitelle, Vice President of Web Development; Jamie Dihiansan, Vice President of Graphics Design; Joan Stewart, Vice President of Resource Reassurance; Jonas Downey, Vice President of Ninja Design Hacking; Shaun Hildner, Vice President of Audio Visual Systems