It's that time of year again. The time when you start to see, "Congratulate Mary for starting a new position!" seemingly every day. The time when your LinkedIn account is buzzing with notifications about connections landing internships. For some, it's a happy time when they can boast about starting a new chapter, but for others, it's just another smack in the face that they didn't land a summer job.
Once upon a time, a little legwork and a flash of your university transcript could get you a job. Today though, I've found more and more companies are only looking for students who are about to graduate. They don't want to go through the hassle of training someone new, only to have them go back to school in the fall. So how are the rest of us - students who just started co-op programs and are already having nightmares of student loans - supposed to gain the experience we need?
Fortunately, there are still gems like InGenius Software that are willing to take on students with little work experience in their field of study. And the best part? InGenius treats us newbies with respect. Our opinions are valued and our suggestions for improvement are encouraged.
Earlier this year, I went through the terror of trying to find a job. I went to all the tech fairs. I would have a promising conversation with the representative of a prestigious company, and then they would ask the dreaded question: "What experience do you have?" As a second-year computer engineering student, I'm in the process of learning coding and circuitry. My personality, my ideas - they didn't matter to these stuffy suits. They only had eyes for soon-to-be grads.
Just when my hope was running low, I spotted some reps in flashy red Converse shoes. Soon after, I began working at InGenius as an automation developer and software tester.
On the first day, I realized this company wasn't like any other. You could hear laughter in between the cubicles. Gentle conversations between coworkers filled the air, and if you passed by one, they would eagerly invite you in. I made friends almost immediately.
Even the space is unique, fostering creativity and fun. The brightly colored walls are decorated with playful art. Cubicles are overflowing with nerdy Funko Pops characters and handmade crochet animals. When a coworker found out I liked a certain cartoon, she returned the next day with stickers of my favorite characters.
At lunch, I was taught how to play euchre, and at 2 pm, I was herded outside to go on an energizing walk around the building. After work, I was invited to play softball and grab drinks.
As much fun as it is at InGenius, I'm also working very hard. The employees embody the "work hard, play hard" mantra. I began my onboarding by acting as a quality assurance tester. By following step-by-step test plans, I learned how to use the product. I had one million questions, but everyone was happy to answer them. If something was too confusing, a coworker would sit by me and we would work it out together.
That support has persisted as I moved on to automation development. I haven't stopped asking questions, and my colleagues have never stopped being happy to answer them all.
This internship is my first time coding in the wild. Before I started, I had done some projects in Java and C, but school is never the same as work. When I started, I was terrified to fail. I thought I had to be perfect right from the start.
My managers have never put that pressure on me. They understood there was going to be a learning curve. I've learned that even if I had been working for years, there would always have been a learning curve because each company is unique. Every week, I participate in pair programming projects and receive constructive criticism during comprehensive code reviews. By learning in such a welcoming environment, I find myself understanding things quickly, and it wasn't long before I felt confident in my work. There's still so much to learn in my new role, but now I have some experience under my belt to know that's okay!
Working at InGenius has enlightened me on the importance of a healthy work environment. I'm learning valuable techniques and making friends that I know I'll keep in touch with even after the summer ends. I think I'll always compare a new job to how incredible InGenius is.
Not to mention, I'll be keeping some snazzy shoes!