It was while pursuing a degree in biology that Tina Martinez was first introduced to coding. After an Intro to Python class, she was hooked, so much so that after graduation she then pursued further studies in computer science and is now pursuing a Master’s in Cyber Operations.

This winter, Martinez got the opportunity to apply her technical skills in a professional setting as an IT Technician Intern with Techie Dudes, an IT service provider based in White Bear Lake, Minnesota.

Providing managed services for small businesses and residential IT support, Techie Dudes’ work is very client-facing. That’s partially why it’s been difficult to find talent, explained Techie Dudes’ President Jeffry Borglum, needing applicants who have strong soft skills in addition to their technical competency.

“They need to be able to explain in layman’s terms to our clients what’s technically going on,” Borglum said. “As soon as I started speaking with Tina, I could see she has awesome communication skills, and with customer service, you just got the feeling that she was going to take care of people.”

Becoming a role model
The internship started by strengthening Martinez’s understanding of the client systems she’d be assisting with, setting her up to be as prepared as possible for whatever questions might arise while working on-site.

From there, she assisted with a major client on-boarding process, developing her troubleshooting abilities and critical thinking along the way.

“I think one of the most important skills I’ve developed is being able to communicate technical terms to a non-technical audience,” Martinez said. “That’s very important. And I’ve noticed in a lot of roles, wherever you are in a tech field, that is essential.”

“She’s been a role model example of how to take care of clients,” Borglum proudly affirmed.

While at Techie Dudes, Martinez also built her own desktop computer for testing malware, achieving her personal goal of improving her hardware abilities.

“There are many things that I’m proud of,” she said. “When I first came in, I knew little about hardware, but I understood the importance of it and that was something I really wanted to learn about; how the parts work in a computer and how to troubleshoot those issues. I feel like that is something I was able to accomplish, though there’s still a lot to learn.”

The work continues
Martinez’s internship has come to an end, but it’s been such a positive experience for both her and the Techie Dudes team that when they offered her a part-time position, Martinez eagerly accepted.

“I’ve had a great overall experience,” Martinez said. “I’ve enjoyed working with the team that we have and working with Jeff is amazing. I like the fact that I was able to grow and learn as an intern. Whenever I wasn’t able to figure out how to do something, the fact that I could ask anyone, and they were extremely helpful, made a huge impact. I’m really thankful and really glad that I had the opportunity to work here and will continue part-time.”

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