Photo courtesy of Creed Interactive and glassdoor.com
When Computer Science Major Terrance Hanlon set out to secure an internship this summer, he went looking for an opportunity where he could be exposed to as much of his field as possible, specifically when it came to understanding and contributing to code. What he found was Creed Interactive, a small, St. Paul-based web design company doing big things with interactive media.
“I felt I could learn the most working at a small company,” Hanlon said. “From my experience, interning at a small or medium-sized company, you get a lot more compassionate mentorship.”
Hanlon’s mentor at Creed was Clark Engblom, the director of technology. Engblom took his role as mentor very seriously, knowing how important this opportunity was for Hanlon to learn and for Creed to recruit future talent.
“Mentorship is kind of the same as management,” Engblom said, “I try to go out of my way to make sure I’m available. I also like to work together on tasks, that way if [interns] run into an issue, I want them to feel comfortable to bring it up with me and ask for help, and if I’m not available to answer, find the right person who can.”
Fortunately, Hanlon had plenty of people to turn to. Almost everyone he interacted with at Creed was helpful and took the time to instruct him in one way or another. On his first day, Hanlon had one-on-one sessions with many of the senior developers, giving him a good sense of the company culture right off the bat.
After shadowing a few of the engineers and assisting them in their work, Hanlon was given projects of his own. Most of his time was spent working on frontend development for one of Creed’s clients. This involved coding, debugging, and programming.
Hanlon recalled one instance when Michael Delsing, a digital designer at Creed, taught him a new technique for debugging frontend code in a browser. “I never knew that approach before but I’ve used it every day since. I’ll take that on for the rest of my career for sure,” Hanlon said.
When he came to this internship, Hanlon had a clear goal in mind. He knew what skills he wanted to develop and by communicating his interest in these types of projects he got the most out of the experience.
“In my interview,” Hanlon said, “I mentioned that I wanted to get used to reading code, understanding other people’s code and contributing to that. That was pretty much exactly what I got out of this experience. I was able to increase my intuition as a software engineer.”
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