Why these 3 interns decided to work with Austin startups

by Tessa McLean
July 7, 2016
One of the most formidable experiences in one's professional career is the internship. Whether you grabbed coffee and made copies or dug into real problems and got your first chance to prove yourself, an internship is valuable for more than just your resume. It's the jumping off point for your career. We talked with three interns at Austin tech companies about what it's really like to work with some of Austin's fastest-growing businesses.

Taylor Gantt, University of Texas, multimedia journalism

Why did you want to intern at LawnStarter?
When I had the chance to intern with LawnStarter, I’m not sure I realized what a great opportunity it would be. I wanted to branch out and gain different expertise. I was interested in being part of a startup. I had no idea how much I would learn.
What are you excited about learning during your summer at LawnStarter?
The process of the interviews alone was a great learning experience. I enjoy competition and have always been ambitious, but this gave me the opportunity to turn my competitive spirit toward a career. I am excited about learning from people with invaluable experience at startups. I’m eager to learn how to use my competitive personality to build a company and test the waters in different areas of the business.
Is there anything you’ve learned that you didn’t expect to?
I’ve learned that I can sell and become part of a team that is successful and growing rapidly. I’ve learned that leadership does not have to be dominating, and that good leaders can be understanding. The successful team leads are all very different but all bring something to the table. Even the most laid-back and understanding person can motivate people to step outside their comfort zone and kick ass! I want to continue to learn to be a leader and motivator of people and teams.
Are there any special projects you’re working on?
LawnStarter has a distinct personality, and I believe the vibe of the company can be well represented in social media. It would be neat to develop the company's fun personality to be more public through social media. I hope that can be a future project for me.
What have you enjoyed the most so far during your internship?
Most of all, I’ve enjoyed meeting so many types of people who are extremely successful. They are teaching me through their innovative nature to tap into my own success by stepping outside my comfort zone.

Jerry Jue, University of Texas at Austin, Major Economics Minor Business Administration

Why did you want to intern at Jobs2Careers? 
When I first started looking for internships, the first thing I did was google best places to work in Austin and Jobs2Careers just happened to be on that list. I’ve done my research and discovered that Jobs2Careers is a startup tech company, which has been one of my personal endeavors since switching majors from the natural sciences to business. Having switched my major midway into my college career, I thought to myself, what better way to finally learn the tech industry than to be part of a startup that I can grow along side of.
What are you excited about learning during your summer at Jobs2Careers?
I’ve begun to grow as a professional and adult having started interning at Jobs2Careers. I have been an intern for over a year now juggling school, work, and a social life. To some degree I always thought to myself that one of the three has to falter in this triple constraint that I have created. However, through the struggles in juggling what I deem are the three highest priorities in a young adult’s life at my age, I’ve learned many responsibilities and life lessons that I will hold dear to, as I continue to grow as an adult and professional.
Are there any special projects you’re working on?
One of the most memorable projects that I have worked on was a project classified as the “Federal Reserve.” Federal Reserve was a classification project and identifier that the product team and engineering team were trying to build from the ground up. The other interns along with myself helped with this project which I thought was a great bonding moment not only with the intern team but the devotion that we put into the company. The company instilled into us a lot of trust to help them with the identification project that is currently being used today and still actively being improved.
What have you enjoyed the most so far during your internship? 
Overall Jobs2Careers has been a memorable experience that I have never regretted. I’ve grown as a professional, made great friends, and made great memories throughout my year with Jobs2Careers. However, the highlight to my internship was just being able to learn from each coworker’s own endeavors. I am able to have a casual conversation from my coworker sitting alongside me or even with the CEO of the company. Their knowledge has been very inspiring and insightful to me. To that I would just like to take this time and give my thanks to Jobs2Careers as you guys continue to grow as a company.

Jason Krezinski, Texas A&M University, Computer Science

Why did you want to intern at Homeaway?
I had been in college all of about two weeks when Texas A&M's career fair came around. I had started making laps around the career fair trying to build up the nerve to go and talk to a few of the companies. Eventually I slowed down and turned to the HomeAway booth. Tiffany, the lead recruiter, greeted me and brought me into the booth and began introducing me to her team. She was so friendly to me, and the other HomeAway recruiters really calmed me down as we began talking about the company. I feel like this very first encounter I had with HomeAway represents who they are at the core: family. After progressing through interviews and being invited to their campus, the story had not changed one bit. Everyone I met was so great to me and the other potential interns. We dropped in on several company talks. Listening to the CEO talk back-and- forth with employees was a pretty surreal experience. Everyone was so intelligent and gave off that "always-want-to- learn" vibe.
What are you excited about learning during your summer at Homeaway?
HomeAway is really in-tune with what's going on in the coding scene and doesn't like to stagnate, so there is always plenty to learn. This summer my goal was to learn more about the front-end side of coding since I had mostly only done backend. They gave me a UI project and I'm currently learning awesome new frameworks. My current project uses ReactJS.
The agile process, code control, planning, meetings, and working as a team are things you just don't touch on in school. Going back to college after my internship just made everything so much easier. Things I had previously struggled with now became a breeze.
Is there anything you've learned that you didn't expect to?
Just about everything. Coming into my first internship after my freshman year I didn't really know anything about what coding was like in the real world. Basically, I thought of internships just as something you dredge through so you can get a job after you graduate. Well, that was just about as wrong as I could get. An internship at HomeAway has been much more than that to me. I've learned so so much I couldn't even begin to start listing it all out. It's given me the confidence and the know-how to go off and develop awesome individual projects on my own and has given me the drive to constantly learn and improve.
Are there any special projects you're working on?
I think one of the best things about HomeAway is that the internship program is really phenonemal in assigning projects. The highlight of your project is that it is not some throwaway, busy-work that won't be used past your summer internship. They assign you to work on real projects in a real environment. For instance, the project I'm working on this summer is closely tied to a major goal HomeAway is moving towards. Several high level employees have had discussions and meetings where my work was shown. With such relevant projects, you are at the forefront of progress.
What have you enjoyed the most so far during your internship?
It's pretty hard to narrow it down to just one thing. HomeAway University, the two-week program that kick starts your internship and teaches all you will need to know, was pretty awesome. Learning the tech stack while hanging out with other interns and the awesome instructors was a delight.
The favorite part about all my internships so far at HomeAway is that while I'm working here, I have never felt like an intern. I have always felt like an employee. I have always felt like I'm a part of the team.

Some responses were edited for length and clarity.

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Talroo (Formerly Jobs2Careers)
Talroo (Formerly Jobs2Careers)

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