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What I Learned During My Internship at an SF Startup

As a second year student studying Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Berkeley, I knew I wanted to make the best use of my summer and intern at a tech company. As a startup enthusiast, I knew I wanted to work at a growing startup where I knew I would be learning a ton. I was exposed to Virool through one of their recruiting campaigns and fell in love with what they were doing. I came into the marketing team as a front-end engineering intern. For those wondering what it’s like to intern at a tech startup, here are the top 5 key points that I learned throughout my internship.

Empathy
My team made me feel like I really belonged. Sure, some of my coworkers would crack the usual intern jokes, but even still I truly felt welcomed into this new family. From celebrating my birthday with me to going out to a bar after very successful campaign, my fellow “Viroolians” created an inclusive space that made me feel loved and appreciated. Thus, we developed meaningful relationships. At times, I couldn’t believe that I was casually having lunch with someone who was selected to be one of Forbes 30 Under 30 2016.

Work Hard
Although Virool boasts about its culture and healthy work-life balance, I often found myself willingly staying in the office long past dinnertime. While Virool offers nicely catered lunches and holds team bonding events (i.e. bowling nights), the work ethic of Viroolians is unparalleled. Everyone at Virool takes ownership of their work and is attentive to detail so that the product is the best that it can be. Because of its small size, Virool stresses efficiency and teamwork.

Expect the Unexpected
There will always be circumstances that you can’t prepare for. Plans change, and they change fast. There were times that I had to ship an assignment on the same day, when it would usually take at least a few days to complete. Also, with shifting responsibilities and priorities of the company, I had to fill gaps and take on assignments that I had never imagined myself doing. It’s important to be flexible and to be prepared to wear many different hats.

Own Up to Your Mistakes
During my time at Virool, I made quite a few mistakes, both big and small. Whether it be setting the wrong z-index for the header and creating a problem for customers that went unnoticed for a few days or forgetting to erase comments within my code, I took it all as a learning experience. I truly felt the impact that I had for the company. Everyone knows you’re not an expert in your field just yet. Own up to your mistakes and more importantly, learn from the mistakes that you’ve made.

Take The Initiative
After watching Virool’s “Seriously Startup” video series, I became very interested in their work and researched what they were doing. I wrote a cold email to Alex, the CEO of the company, and convinced him to hire me. I pitched that I would not only be able to bring in the technical skills that I learned in school, but that I would bring in fresh ideas that would appeal to millennials. Virool wasn’t planning on hiring interns, but because I took the initiative to reach out to Alex, I became Virool’s only intern this summer.

Thank you Virool for an awesome experience!

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