By Olivia Moore, City Tech student and DUMBO Startup Lab Intern:
I have always been able to manage myself in college. School was easy – pay attention in class, do assignments and study, study, study. I’ve always had a passion for working with computers so majoring in Computer Systems Technology was like getting a degree for a hobby. To graduate I needed to get an internship. Apart from it being an obvious requirement, I really started to see its importance. I’ve had classes with a number of people who currently work in the industry and conversed with them on their experiences, and it became clear to me that yes, while all the courses were essential, actually applying them in real life situations is what’s important.
I obtained my internship through the Brooklyn Tech Triangle Internship Program and it’s been an excellent experience. I couldn’t have been matched with a better company, the Brooklyn coworking space DUMBO Startup Lab. The whirlpool of expectations and emotions – mainly fear, that I had on the first day quickly disappeared as I realized that DUMBO Startup Lab was a community of warm, laid back yet hardworking individuals. A community that made blending in quite easy.
At City Tech, students are able to choose from three different modules. So even if I majored in CST I was able to pick three focal points – Programming Design and UNIX, Web Design and Information Security. The best part of working here at DSL was that I was able to implement them all.
One of my earlier assignments involved comparing DSL membership applications with the number of visitors to dumbostartuplab.com. The greatest challenge with this task was the conversion of the email archives. The downloaded file extension was .mbox. I was so excited when I wrote a custom python script to convert the file into a Google Sheets useable format such as .tsv or .csv.
For another assignment I was required to optimize dumbostartuplab.com. We used Google PageSpeed insights to identify the slower pages, then, worked on increasing the page score and load times. Some of the steps I took included minifying the markup and programming languages, optimizing images and deleting unnecessary elements from the site. My hard work paid off as DUMBO Startup Lab immediately climbed up the search rankings on Google.
Interning here has encompassed so much more than Information Technology. I’ve gained a better understanding of the concept of entrepreneurship, learned the importance of networking and been exposed to many new opportunities. The projects and challenges have definitely molded me into a more responsible and assured person. The meetups that I have attended so far have given me the conviction to try new things and meet new people. Groups like Ladies Who Code and Girl Develop It gave me the opportunity to learn and share code with experienced females in the field. I can now join in and actually share my experiences in conversations with knowledgeable members and receive advice in return.
This 3 month experience has been amazing. It taught me things I didn’t even know I needed to learn. Before interning here, I was so focused on object oriented programming that I payed little attention to anything else. Now my passion has expanded. I have realized how important it is to not only possess but also be able to combine different aspects of technology.