Jordan Smith talks life as an intern at Avanade
- Posted on October 14, 2019
- Estimated reading time 4 minutes
This blog post originally appeared as an article on Medium.
Meet Jordan Smith. A software development student at Green River College with prior work experience in customer service and quality assurance, Smith joined Seattle-based Avanade this summer as a Solution Developer Intern. In the Q and A below, he discusses his journey in tech and provides an inside-look at what it’s like to intern at Avande. For college students looking for their first tech internship, Smith also offers some insightful career tips for internship success.
First thing’s first. What led you to Green River College’s software development program?
JORDAN: After high school I decided to take a one-year break from school before going back to college. About 6 years later, after I had been working warehouse and manufacturing jobs, I realized that it wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life, and I needed to find something new that I would actually enjoy. I had always been of fan of technology and I’d heard how great the work environment is in the tech industry, so I decided to start looking into learning how to code. After some online tutorials I realized I really liked it and wanted to start pursuing a career in development.
I was looking into schools when my cousin mentioned that Green River College had started a bachelor’s program in software development. When I was in high school, I spent one year doing Running Start at Green River, so I already knew I liked the school. After looking into the program and seeing the structure of it (and the cheaper price than university), I decided that’s where I wanted to go.
Can you tell us a little bit about Avanade? What does the company do and what’s the culture like?
JORDAN: Avanade is a consulting company that came from a partnership between Microsoft and Accenture. Avanade’s main business is to provide tech solutions to all types of businesses, primarily using technology in the Microsoft ecosystem. The great thing I’ve found about a consulting company is that you are always doing something different. One day you may be working on a client’s website, and the next could be creating an AI robot. There’s also the perk of lots of travel, since clients are all around the world.
The culture at Avanade is great. I work in the Digital Innovation Studio, which is a part of the company that is focused on the more creative aspects of tech solutions and is always trying to be innovative and willing to try new things. After being here just a short time, it became obvious that everyone enjoys working here. It’s sometimes fast-paced, but I’ve never felt uncomfortable or overwhelmed by the workload and deadlines.
Can you tell us a little bit about your summer internship, including the types of projects you are working on?
JORDAN: I’ve been lucky enough to get pulled into several different projects during my internship so far. I’ve worked on a website, helped port a company’s old web app to a more modern web design, and worked on a few intranet sites. My main project throughout the summer has been to create several new experiences for an app on the Microsoft HoloLens. I’ve learned a ton of new frameworks and technologies, but also realized that I knew a lot more than I thought I did when I started this internship.
What tips do you have for college students who are looking for that first internship?
JORDAN: Apply early and apply a lot! I couldn’t even count how many applications I sent out overall, and most of them were sent towards the beginning of the year. A lot of companies start recruiting for the next summer as soon as the current one is over. Make sure to follow up by connecting with people from the company on LinkedIn, and sending a message with your connection request. When you finally get an interview, don’t be afraid to mess something up whiteboarding, or tell them you don’t know something yet. Most companies are looking to see how you work through problems more than checking if you get the right answer, and they also want to know that you’re not afraid to ask for help if needed.
Also, bring in samples of your projects! One of the things my manager said made me stand out above other candidates was that I was able to show screenshots of all the different websites and apps that I’ve made. Leverage all those assignments we spend so much time on!