Tucked away in the beautiful open office of SmartFile, there lies a workspace known as Intern Island. This prime desk real estate, located within a convenient distance from the snack cabinet, is typically inhabited by a single college student. However, this summer proved twice as fun.
Meet SmartFile’s dynamic duo: junior marketing major and marketing intern, Victoria (that’s me!); and senior computer science major and development intern, Jennifer. Together, we made a difference at SmartFile.
A Unique Setup
In most businesses, interns work within their departments and have minimal interaction with other interns. This is not the case on Intern Island. On day one, I heard that there would be a second intern, working for development.
I didn’t know what to expect. A computer prodigy who dreamt and talked only in code? Or perhaps a quiet, introverted computer science major who preferred a quiet cubicle to an open workspace? To my relief, I got neither.
Hi, I am a senior computer science major at IUPUI. I run cross country as well as track and field, and am a coding-ninja-in-training. I came to SmartFile looking for a successful first internship experience. I knew that I wanted to work at a small-to-medium sized company where I could make a lasting contribution. After meeting Taylor, a former SmartFile intern and current developer, I knew that SmartFile would be a great fit.
What Did You Learn at SmartFile?
In school, students have a tendency to make fun of Python because it is a really high-level language. Some say it is not even considered a “real” programming language. Before coming here, I did not know a lot about Python because of these tendencies and stereotypes. In the end, I was thankful to work with this language because, when used correctly, Python is very powerful and useful.
Furthermore, I have always been interested in the testing side of code development, and here at SmartFile, we often do a lot of test-driven development. It was a really great experience for me to learn how to do testing in general. I also learned how to write code to pass my originally failing tests. When I would break portions of code I had pulled down from Github to a local machine, or something I worked on failed, I would exclaim, ‘I broke SmartFile!’” Yet, those experiences are what teach students to become better developers and programmers.
How Did You Contribute?
My first project was working with our Python SDK. It was a good first step into SmartFile’s code base. The purpose of this project was to make the most-used endpoints (upload, download, move and remove) easier to use for people who may not have a strong developer background.
Until this internship, I had been working with my own code base, which was minuscule. Walking into SmartFile’s large code base was a bit of a shock to me. This project really helped me ease into it and is a great piece for my portfolio.
What Three Things Did You Enjoy About SmartFile’s Culture?
- I loved having the opportunity to have one-on-one relationships with many of my coworkers. They were more than just a name or a face. Because of this, I wasn’t ever really afraid to ask for help or advice with anything.
- The snack room stole my heart on day one!
- At my interview, I expressed that I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I graduated (only two more semesters! Where has the time gone?). I wanted to use this internship as an opportunity to explore. I knew Taylor, who told me about the team using agile development. I knew I would have an opportunity to pick from a variety of things to complete during the sprints.
Thoughts on Sharing Intern Island
I am really glad Victoria and I got the opportunity to sit across the table from each other and learn about the “other side.” After working together for a few weeks, we both disclosed that we had a few stereotypes about the other prior to meeting. Yet we immediately recognized that we broke the mold, and blew any stereotypes away.
Sharing a workspace was wonderful. It was really great for me to, as the programmers say, “rubber duck” and explain my coding projects. It was always fun and interesting to hear what article Victoria was working on, whether that be the amazing ransomware article or topics like FAFSA verification that could educate my peers.
As a junior marketing major at Anderson University, I was thrilled to learn that I landed a (paid!) internship for the summer. I wanted to work at a firm with an established marketing department. Specifically, my goal was to work for people who had years of experience and were willing to impart their “pearls of wisdom” to a young professional. That’s exactly what I found at SmartFile.
What I Learned at SmartFile
During my internship, I reported to our Creative Director, Digital Marketing Manager and Content Marketer. This meant I worked on everything from content creation and copywriting to graphic design and search engine optimization (SEO).
Throughout my time at SmartFile, I have consistently contributed to our company blog. Between writing about FAFSA verification, HIPAA compliant file sharing and a record label use case, I’d say I have learned to write almost anything. My new slogan after writing the HIPAA article was, “If I can make HIPAA understandable, I can market anything.”
On the other hand, I was able to vastly improve my skill with search engine optimization (SEO) research. SEO ultimately aids a business by lowering the customer acquisition cost because it helps increase overall organic traffic.
One of my SEO projects required finding and using competitive keywords for content ideas. I used SEO research sites to find keywords targeted by our competitors with low keyword difficulty. I then gathered these keywords and found ways that SmartFile could create niche content to rank well in Google and other search engines.
My crowning achievement on our blog was a featured post on ransomware education and prevention. After a solid month of research, writing and collaboration, this piece took off.
— Lifehacker (@lifehacker) July 14, 2016
Thousands viewed the article on multiple websites. This generated a significant social media and traffic increase for SmartFile. The best part: I was honored to have my work published under my name. Some organizations require interns to serve as ghostwriters, but I enjoyed full authorship at SmartFile.
Three Things I Enjoyed About SmartFile’s Culture
- I learned so much. I was hungry for an internship that would broaden my marketing skills, and SmartFile’s team delivered. Between SEO, competitive research and contributing to our blog, I learned another helpful hint for my career every day.
- Intern Island was the greatest — the weeks when Jennifer wasn’t around tended to feel slow. Between Jennifer exclaiming “I broke SmartFile!”, sarcastic commentary and swapping giphys, our island was never boring.
- The casual work environment was great, in addition to the snack cabinet. Nothing gets you ready to work like eating White Cheddar Popcorn while wearing an official SmartFile t-shirt and your favorite jeans.
Thoughts on Sharing Intern Island
I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the entire process that goes into creating, testing and troubleshooting our product. I have to applaud our fearless developers for their tireless work on coding. Watching Jennifer go through multiple days of work just to fix one small glitch gave me a lot of respect for developers.
Riding Off Into the Sunset
Jennifer and I would like to thank SmartFile. Thank you for hiring us, and allowing us to work on real-world projects that help expand our portfolios. We appreciate the time our colleagues invested in our education and professional development as we learned new research techniques or programming languages.
Thank you for the privilege. It was an honor just to be nominated.
Looking for a Great Career?
We need people like Jennifer and Victoria who have strong character, passion and aptitude. A go-getter attitude is a must as well. Does this sound like you? Check out our open positions today!