Megan Evans, a former massage therapist, knew she needed more than a diploma to break into the tech field when she graduates with a BA in Information Technology. Though she is an active member of two women in technology groups and was selected to attend the 2017 Grace Hopper Celebration, adding an internship to her resume would help her stand out in the job search.
“Stepping away from the massage field and breaking into STEM was something that was always in the distance but now fast approaching,” Evans said. “I knew that if I continued nannying until graduation that it wouldn’t set me ahead of the competition."
She landed a 10-week paid internship with Snag, an organization that connects hourly workers with employers, where she built up her skill set, network and confidence. As her internship came to an end, she found herself with just a couple courses left in her degree program at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) and a job offer from PhishLabs.
A Strategy for Snagging Information Technology Internships
When Evans discovered that her Charleston, South Carolina, Women in Tech group was meeting at Snag, a workplace her friend highly recommended in the past, she knew she had to apply for an internship. “It felt like fate,” she said.
Evans applied for the implementation services internship, which she said called for “someone familiar with customer-facing platforms and passion for people.” Given her 9-year history in massage therapy and 19 months as a nanny, the position seemed like a perfect fit.
Leading up to a phone interview, Evans took advantage of the site’s interview preparation videos. “I must have prepared for it for two days,” she said. “I got my resume out and highlighted all the things that could be elaborated.”
Rather than waiting for Snag to make the next move, Evans put herself out there. In a thank you note she wrote to the interviewer, she mentioned that she’d be at Snag for the Women in Tech meetup. “It seemed like a perfect time to meet the implementation manager, so I tossed the idea out there, and they accepted,” she said. Evans received a tour of the office and met some of the people who worked there before heading to her meeting.
“After two months of two scheduled phone interviews, meeting the implementation manager and nervously waiting, I was offered the internship,” Evans said.
Many Responsibilities in Technology Internships
Based in Snag’s Charleston office, Evans completed several projects during her time with the implementation team. One primary task involved interviewing people cross-departmentally to determine how her team could increase productivity and lessen pain points. The interviews allowed her to meet people from across the organization. On several accounts, she was mistaken as an employee “since I took the initiative in this area and communicated so effectively.”
She also worked to optimize the snag.work platform and created an interactive professional services guide to aid in communication.
“On top of this, I had a separate intern project with two other engineer interns in Charleston and two interns in the (Washington) D.C. office remotely,” Evans said. “We had to come up with a concept or idea that would benefit Snag.”
Her group presented two ideas, and one of them, an endorsement concept that encourages community engagement among users, was even selected to be incorporated into the platform.
Tech Internships Provide Learning Opportunities Beyond IT
The internship allowed Evans to experience aspects of the business beyond the tech field. “I learned that I really love the product and marketing side of things,” Evans said. She had the opportunity to work with clients to improve their experience with the platforms.
She applied the technical writing skills she’s learned in classes, too. “When I made the reference guide I had to keep the information concise so that it would all fit nicely into the format I chose,” she said.
Researching was another focal point of the internship. Evans learned how to ask the right questions to aid in research to improve the user experience.
A Proactive Approach to Becoming Career-Ready
Evans took full advantage of her short time at Snag. When she wasn’t hard at work, she was meeting as many people as she could. “I loved all of the theme days and getting to know everyone through all the events,” Evans said. She also attended meetings with the design team whenever she could to engage with people from other departments.
Connecting with the people at Snag opened some doors to a full-time position as a training administrator in the tech field. “My internship totally got me the job (at PhishLabs),” Evans said. “I knew someone that moved from Snag to here and used him as a reference.”
Reflecting on her time at Snag, Evans realized the experience was a necessary move to advance in the tech field. “Without it, I wouldn’t have been able to understand the different departments within this industry and what to apply for in the future,” she said. “It gave me the confidence and relevant experience needed to progress further once I graduate from SNHU."
Rebecca LeBoeuf ’18 is a writer and editorial coordinator at Southern New Hampshire University. Connect with her on LinkedIn.