For three months in 2019, students Jack Sanniota and JT Bicket (Computer Science, Georgia Tech and Business Administration, Liberty University, respectively) interned with us here at Skookum in our uptown Charlotte headquarters. In this post, they share a glimpse into the Skookum's culture, everyday operations and what it's like to work in the tech field.
What was your role at Skookum during your internship?
JT: Contrary to what The Office may lead you to believe about interns, neither Jack nor I stocked the printer or ran to get anyone coffee.
Jack: I did break break the printer, however.
JT: As a Product Strategist for one of Skookum’s internal projects, I led a team of engineers developing Skookum’s Growth & Project Selection tool. I learned to lead daily standups with our team, delegate and prioritize our feature backlog, validate our problem statement with users, and facilitate discussions with our two key stakeholders. I’m so proud of our team’s efforts and I am thankful to have contributed to laying the foundation for future iterations of the application.
Jack: And I worked on Skookum.com for the marketing team as a software engineer! My main project for the summer was building out a white-labeled case study format that allows the marketing team to mirror previous examples of work Skookum has done for potential clients to see. I also fixed a handful of mobile design issues, implemented new iconography, and standardized overall styling and formatting across the site.
What did you learn as an intern at Skookum?
JT: I learned what it is like to operate in a software development environment and creatively solve problems using AGILE methodology. I remember during my first few weeks as I was working my way through all new information, a co-worker offered to sit down and help me find actionable insights among a lot of complex information. It was through experiences like this that I learned how to solve real problems: when faced with the unknown, focus on what you know, have a plan to figure out the gaps, and then seek out the people you need to help you fill in those gaps.
What was the most challenging thing about your internship?
JT: Learning what it’s like to manage stakeholder expectations was one of the most challenging parts of my internship. Sometimes things don’t always go right; but when you actively communicate and bring solutions, not just problems, to the table you and your team can brave the ever shifting world of software development. I’m so grateful to have been working with some amazingly talented individuals that shared their experiences and let me lean on them for advice throughout my time at Skookum.
Jack: The most difficult part of my project was learning and implementing mobile responsiveness. It’s so important to make the site work just as well for mobile as it does for desktop. It’s hard to get the flow right across all different screen sizes, so figuring that out was an incredibly rewarding feeling.
How did you hear about Skookum?
JT: I first heard about Skookum about three years ago on a high-school field trip. We visited the Skookum headquarters with my computer science class!
Jack: My high school Young Life leader told me about Skookum and its unique culture. When it came time to find a summer internship, I knew I wanted it to be here.
What was your favorite part about working at Skookum?
JT: The relationships that I built with my co-workers and how they made me feel like a member of the team.
Jack: My favorite part by far was the culture. Everyone at Skookum is nice and relaxed and open to collaboration, while at the same time very goal-oriented and productive. It’s a hard line to walk, but Skookum does it nicely. I never had a question go unanswered, which made it easy for me to learn and progress.
What is a piece of advice you would share with other students looking to do an internship?
Jack: Just ask! You never know what people are willing to do for someone who is proactive and wants to learn. Often, great experiences can come from something as simple as an email to your young life leader.
JT: Do your research! Reading through a company's website or online reviews is a great start, but it won’t tell you everything you want to know when determining where to invest your time. Ask if you can shadow an employee for a day and then spend some time putting together well thought out questions to better understand exactly what they do. Try to find something that really interests you!
Skookum is a digital strategy, design, and development firm in Charlotte, NC, that creates products and experiences to improve lives and transform businesses.
Want to learn more? Keep reading: Starting Your Career in Tech: a Job Search Guide for Recent Grads