Name: Shanna Sit
Hometown: Miami, Florida.
Where did you intern? What did you do there? This past summer, I was lucky to have the opportunity to intern at JPMorgan Chase. I was part of JPMC’s Software Engineering Program for interns. My team and I enjoyed spending time programming and designing an application for the company in their beautiful office in Tampa, Florida.
How did you get your internship? I don’t remember the exact moment that led me to JPMC, but I do believe the FIU hackathon event, ShellHacks, played a role in connecting me to the recruiters. By connecting with recruiters, I was encouraged to apply online. Then, I took a coding assessment and eventually got an on-campus interview. Without Shellhacks, I’m certain the process would have been less smooth and longer.
What advice do you have for those beginning the internship process? Just try it! Apply to the companies you want to work for even if they are as competitive as Microsoft, Google or Facebook. By applying, you are putting yourself on their radar, which may lead to a potential interview. The worse that can happen is rejection. With a rejection, you still gain valuable experience that could lead to success the next time.
Furthermore, don’t forget to network with recruiters. Recruiters provide useful information about the company you are working for and can help speed up the process drastically if you network with them. Plus, most recruiters are friendly, fun people with valuable life experiences, so it doesn’t hurt to talk to them!
How did your internship connect back to your coursework? FIU’s computer science coursework is theory-focused, while my internship at JPMC focused on the application side of things. Some of the concepts I’ve learned at FIU were necessary in the development of the application. A good example of this would be when we were developing the database’s architecture. While my team and I were brainstorming on a whiteboard how to design the database for the application, I desperately wanted to call my sister to send me pictures of my notes from class. They would have saved us so much time!
What was the coolest thing about your internship or that happened during your internship? A difficult question. I can’t think of anything specifically that was cool, because the whole place was super cool. One of the most notable things regarding the internship was the variety of food options we had. For normal options, we had a café that offered a rotating variety of meals that was affordable and a test kitchen with delicious tater tots. On certain days, food trucks would come on the office serving many types of food, whether it be Italian, Southern or even just sandwiches! I think I gained weight during the internship because of how much I ate.
What did you like most about your experience? Honestly, the culture. The people at JPMC always treated me kindly, supported me and assisted me when I had problems. I never felt bad asking questions. Everyone, even the random guy in another aisle, would always be willing to answer them. Not only would they answer them, but some went the extra mile to show me the proper way of doing things if I did something incorrectly. Most importantly, my team was made of wonderful people. It felt like I had an extended family in Tampa. To this day, we still talk to each other, even if we came from universities miles apart.
What did you learn about yourself? The position I held as an intern helped show me that I was actually good at coding. You see, my passion was and still is in design. A majority of my early years in college were spent graphic designing rather than programming. This led me to feel that my coding skills were often inferior to my peers. I felt that I didn’t know as much as I should have. However, after taking this internship, I learned enough to feel confident. It also helped that I was able to teach some of my team members how to code certain things, and they did the same to me.
How did the position increase your professional confidence? The most important thing about the internship was that it gave me a taste of life after college. This knowledge helped me understand what kind of professional life suited me and, thus, gave me the confidence to walk a path instead of wandering aimlessly. You see, before this internship, I wasn’t extremely certain what I wanted to do or what I was even good at. However, now I understand what I want professionally—I want to find opportunities that can further develop my user interface/user experience design skills.
How did you expand your professional network? The internship offered me many opportunities to connect with engineers in the field. A few of these were my mentors that gave me advice on professional and personal development. It was amazing being able to talk to people who saw a world different from yours.
How did it help you prove yourself in the “real-world"? It showed me that I can do it. The real-world is not a scary monster to be feared. To fight against such a creature, all you must do is make sure you can balance your work life with your personal life. Funny enough, I felt that achieving this balance was easier in the workplace than at school at times.