Thank You to Jeff and Oskar, Our Rock-star Interns!

Posted on Wed, July 20, 2016 in by Can Agaoglu

At GRAYBOX we believe internships have immense value. Maybe this is because they overlap with so many of our founding principles including helpfulness, education, collaboration, and diving into problems head-first to fix them. We’d like to say a hearty “thank you!” to our recent interns, Jeff Seymour and Oskar Radon.

We asked our interns to keep a weekly journal of their experiences at GRAYBOX to help us improve our internship program for future interns and to help Jeff and Oskar process what they were learning. Said Jeff about his first week:

“It was great to dive right in and work on a project that will benefit GRAYBOX, all while getting more back­end development experience programming and utilizing an API in PHP. I also got a quick hands-­on introduction to PHPMailer, SSH, and bash scripting. Overall, this first week as an intern was awesome!”

GRAYBOX’s internship program is a 5-week hands-on internship where two promising budding professionals are mentored and put to work coding side-by-side with GRAYBOX’s senior developers. We agree with Inc. Magazine’s proclamation that, “the gofer intern is a thing of the past, especially if you want top talent.” While all staff are expected to pitch in with the occasional mundane task, we believe in including our interns in tackling real coding problems and projects that will directly benefit GRAYBOX and clients in the real world.

Working on real projects gives interns a taste of what it’s really like to work as a developer, respects their talent and what they bring to the table, and allows GRAYBOX to benefit from the engagement while also educating our interns.

Instead of one big project, GRAYBOX interns get to touch many projects in their term here. This allows them to see how various projects and bugs are approached. The last week of their internship, Oskar journaled:

“I ended up figuring out the fix on Wednesday, and it was an immensely gratifying feeling to have contributed to styling a site that will be seen by thousands of people. Not to mention to have figured out a particularly challenging problem –­ one of the best feelings in the world!”

Many companies see internships as a preferred way of sourcing talent. If there is a team opening, the internship could be used as an extended interview that allows potential candidates and employers to test the waters before signing. At GRAYBOX our team openings don’t always align with our internship programs, but it does happen – in fact two of our current staff started as interns. Brett Moore, Jr Web Developer on our Technical team and Tom Mertz, Jr Web Developer on our Support team both interned with GRAYBOX and were hired after their internships.

Brett and Tom, as well as Jeff and Oskar, all honed their coding knowledge through Epicodus. Epicodus is a four month, forty hour per week, in-person class on programming aimed at getting students a job as a web developer or app developer.

To give you one last glimpse into what kinds of things interns get to do at GRAYBOX, we’d like to leave you with this account from Jeff:

“At the end of the day today, we'll go down to the Hungry Tiger to have a beer and hang out for a bit. It's weird how fast this last 5 weeks went by! I had a great time interning at GRAYBOX. I learned a great deal of valuable information and skills here. On the back end I picked up some PHP, got some more experience working with the Unix shell, servers, SSH, Vagrant, creating local development environments, and various other useful concepts. On the front end, I was able to help code out some new features that will be implemented to the GRAYBOX website, and fix a bug or two on client sites.

Even with things that did not involve coding, such as the password migration and some other support tasks, I think Oskar and I were able to contribute a good deal to GRAYBOX. It was also very interesting getting a feel for how creative web companies like GRAYBOX work, how they handle the development process, and to see all that it takes to create awesome solutions for their clients. Overall, I had a blast. Thank you everyone at GRAYBOX for this awesome experience!”

If you’re a junior developer looking for an internship, we’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch!

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