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Capture Each Moment of the Next 365 Days
As I started my internship I told myself to embrace everything and to fully immerse myself into the company culture. Email deliverability was a topic that I was not familiar with so I had no idea what to expect. I was nervously excited for the adventure that I was about to encompass.
Ready for Day One
My first day at SparkPost I was thrown into the deep end and taught skills that I’ve almost taken for granted as the year has progressed. I arrived to San Francisco straight from college, so I was a clueless graduate looking to be inspired. Although, I had some marketing experience with startups I was not prepared for the amount I was going to learn.
Looking back, I feel for my mentors Jen and Tracy who had to teach me social media marketing from scratch. As with everything, practice makes perfect. I can’t sugar coat my role and say it is easy. I took a few months to really establish a voice suitable for our corporate social platforms. One of the best parts about social media marketing is that no two days are the same. The more creative you are the better your work will be. You have the power to learn as much as you want. And until the very last day I was learning new ways to better my skills.
How can we help you grow?
There’s no short answer for this one. Being a part of an office culture in the first place was an eye-opening experience for me. While working for Jen, Digital Marketing Manager at SparkPost, she exposed me to all aspects of the organization by working across teams – support, creative services, engineering etc. This helped me to understand different work styles. And also gave me confidence as I got to know more people from all the offices.
At the beginning, it started with three on the team which has now grown to be a team of six. It has been interesting understanding different roles and dynamics. And how we can not only grow as a team but how individual effort really makes a difference. From working on Twitter and Facebook to coming up with social strategies for events; I feel my marketing experience has grown every day. I started to explore my interest for writing for the blog which I have really enjoyed.
Mid-week slump? Mix it up: Hot spots.
Our team has a great “work hard, play hard” ethos as well. Aside from all the daily work we put in to contribute to growth marketing, our Manager Tracy never fails to come up with innovative team building off sites. From cooking parties, or even fun-filled marketing events, we know how to wind down and log off.
Extra! Read all about it!
In Mid-August we hit 10,000 followers on Twitter! This was a HUGE milestone and definitely one of the highlights of my year! It was a super exciting time for the marketing team so we decided to celebrate with appropriately colored t-shirts and cupcakes by SusieCakes. Leave it up to marketers to come up with any reason to throw a little party, celebrate and get a few photos for our social media platforms in the process 😉
New Looks + New Arrivals
I also had the opportunity to interview and onboard my replacement, the new social media manager, Preeya. This was completely new to me and was a great experience being on the opposite end of the stick training someone. Similar to myself, Preeya shares the same enthusiasm to fully immerse herself into SparkPost culture. Stay tuned to read her intro blog!
Put these at the ‘top’ of your list
On arrival to SparkPost I became aware of the “Circle of Awesomeness” very soon into my orientation. This is not only the foundation of our culture, but you could say it sums up the personality of the company. There’s a few in particular that stood out to me throughout my time here and I would highlight them as important takeaways from my year.
I derive inspiration from working in a good community environment with great people. SparkPost more than fulfilled this.
In my eyes, the point of an internship is to learn from the people around you and grow to eventually move on and flourish in your career. This was possible because of all the empowering leaders in SparkPost that I had the opportunity to work with.
If someone were to ask me what the number one takeaway from my internship this year was, it has to be the extreme amount of respect I received from everyone I worked with and being treated like an equal at all times.
Planning your next adventure?
As I said from the beginning, my favorite quote from Steve Jobs “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.” This year has given me a clearer vision of my interests and how I’d like to move forward in my career. This is not something that materialized by itself, but a joint effort from the advice and mentoring I got along the way from every aspect of the organization. Saying goodbye to SparkPost goes hand in hand with saying goodbye to San Francisco so it’s not going to be an easy one!
It’s hard to believe that it’s been over 3 months since our summer interns Avi, Emely, and Vincent flew the nest and moved on to other exciting adventures. Some of them haven’t flown all that far (you’ll learn more about that in a moment) but all of them have grown by leaps and bounds.
I took a moment with them to have an intern update before the tide of finals, holidays, and end-of-quarter rush took over.
Jumping into an internship, especially your first, can always be a challenge. You don’t know what to expect, how well your skills will be highlighted, or whether your classes have actually prepared you for the reality that is a full-time job.
For Vincent, this was his first experience working in an agile environment.
“The process and ideology I’ve picked up during my time will undoubtedly pay dividends in whatever software engineering career I choose,” he said.
For Emely, it was less about the technical lessons and more about the process.
“I learned that quality is definitely better than quantity. As a college student, it is engrained in my mind that deadlines are the strictest parts of life. But at SparkPost, everyone helped me learn that yes, deadlines are important, however, it is not efficient to work hurriedly and leave stones unturned in my work. The people around me helped me understand that faster is not always better, and that it is okay to stop, ask for feedback, and reevaluate my approach.”
It’s (not) All About that Code
But this summer was about more than just learning the ins and outs of SparkPost. Internships give students the opportunity to interact with a team of engineers as well as people outside of the engineering department. They’re able to make connections with folks across the organization, learning not only the processes, but the personalities.
Emely says for her, the internship “opened the door to the developer community” and allowed her to realize her potential.
Avi says that the thing he enjoyed the most wasn’t working on the new (beautiful) website, or refactoring the PHP client library, but the interactions with the people on his team.
“They were really welcoming, fun, and always ready to laugh at a joke. Every one of them took time out of their day to teach me and give me an opportunity to contribute.”
Likewise for Vincent, it was the people that set the job apart.
“A very friendly and supportive engineering team, especially the other interns (shout-out to my fellow app team interns Avi and Emely!), made my working environment much more productive and enjoyable.”
Intern Update: Onward and Upward
So what are our savvy interns up to now that life has returned to normal?
Emely’s back at RIT, plugging along on her Bioinformatics degree, but has also added a minor in Software Engineering. Why add more to her load?
“I still wanted the opportunity to learn how to make cool products and I miss SparkPost! I’ve been continuing my biological research in school and have been working on some independent side projects. Simply put, I am helping create computational biophysical models of DNA-protein interaction, protein ordering, and nucleic acid flexibility within the context of molecular evolution. It’s been a busy and challenging, yet extremely fun semester.”
Vincent is continuing to pursue his Computer Science degree at the University of Maryland. He’s also balancing out his time with extra-curricular activities.
“I’ve played a lot of badminton and flag football, and I got involved with some Christian student groups as well. Also, this year I’m helping run Bitcamp 2017, UMD’s largest student-run hackathon.”
Avi’s fall has been slightly different, as he’s stayed in the Columbia area with us at SparkPost.
“At the end of my internship I was lucky enough to receive a full time job at SparkPost. Now as a Software Engineer I get to continue to build an awesome product with really talented people.”
In short, we’ve been lucky enough to watch these three awesome people grow both as individuals and as programmers. We love having interns for just this reason! You all teach us a lot about ourselves and help us make our product better.
Enjoyed this intern update? Join our slack channel and chat with us about it! Interested in working for us? Keep an eye on the careers page! We’ll post summer internships in the new year, but there are many full-time opportunities available now!
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