Omar Griffin is an alumnus of Career/Interactive who interned at Gilt and 2U during summers 2012 and 2013. Omar is now a Junior Quality Assurance Engineer at Nomorerack and he serves on C/I’s Young Executive Board.
1) How did Career/Interactive shape your future in the tech industry?
Career/Interactive gave me a realistic view of the opportunities in the tech industry. Prior to my first internship, I had never heard of most of the roles and technologies that are now a part of my daily life. Ultimately, C/I helped propel me through my last two years of undergrad by giving me a goal to shoot for post-graduation.
2) Describe your overall Career/Interactive experiences for the past two summers. What were the highlights of participating?
My 2 internships were very different from each other, yet equally awesome. I was a total noob going into my first gig at Gilt, so expectations were rather low. However, I gained a ton of knowledge and it showed in the subsequent summer’s internship at 2U. I was able to adjust much quicker and was pretty productive by the end of my first week. I felt that the best part of the entire experience was working at 2U, whose office is in Chelsea Piers, and having easy access to the Health Club.
3) What tech industry experiences did you have before doing Career/Interactive?
None at all.
4) What was your intern day-to-day schedule like?
I would stroll in around 9:30/10 am, meet with my supervisor and we’d go over what we worked on the previous day, then go into the current day’s agenda. Afterwards, I’d snag a little breakfast from the kitchen, work for a few hours, then head out to lunch at whatever time I wanted. I was free to come and go as I pleased, as long as I was being productive and showed proof of my productivity. At 2U, the gym was easily accessible so oftentimes I’d have pickup games of basketball or volleyball with my coworkers during lunch time.
5) What major projects did you work on?
At Gilt, I didn’t have a major project per se. My daily worked was composed of miscellaneous tasks. However, at 2U my major project was to build a test framework for the QA department. In short, it helped the QA effort by reducing the manual work necessary to test one of their web apps.
6) What kind of value did you feel like you added to your intern site?
Overall, I feel like I helped ease my supervisors’ workloads by working on assignments that were either experimental or backlogged.
7) What preparation advice would you give students who want to intern with Career/Interactive next summer?
My advice for students that would like to intern is to take the initiative and build things in your free time. It’s tough for hiring managers to filter out the qualified candidates, so showcase your skills with things you’ve built. Make a website, design an app, etc. It can be something totally silly and impractical, but if it works, then that shows a hiring manager that you can code.
8) What would you tell a company considering hiring an intern for next summer?
Be patient with your intern. It’s very jarring to start as junior in a tech company and become exposed to all sorts of brand new technology and jargon. Take your time explaining to your intern the software architecture, fleshing out all acronyms that have developed over the years, and be open to any and all questions, regardless of how noob-ish they may seem. Whiteboard diagrams are highly recommended.
9) Without Career/Interactive, would you be where you are today? Why?
Without Career/Interactive, I would’ve gone down an entirely different career path. I studied Math in college and throughout my studies I had hopes of either becoming a math professor or going into actuarial science. Thankfully though, I found programming, C/I and the tech industry and I love it. The possibilities are seemingly endless.
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