Name: Glenda Gonzalez
Hometown: Miami, FL
What is your major: Computer science
Where did you intern? What did you do there? I interned virtually at Allstate as a software engineer within their Allstate Dealer Services (ADS) department.
How did you get your internship? I got my internship at Allstate when I attended the Grace Hopper Celebration in Orlando last October. The Grace Hopper Celebration is the world’s largest gathering of women in computing. It focuses on commemorating, empowering and encouraging women in technology through a series of conferences and a career fair.
What advice do you have for those beginning the internship process? Network as much as possible and be involved in student organizations. I found many opportunities and support through organizations such as Women in Computer Science (WiCS), Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and Upsilon Pi Epsilon (UPE).
What projects did you work on? The main project I worked on was a direct-to-consumer product that sells extended vehicle care. My primary focus was on improving the product’s website by adding and redesigning features, fixing bugs and enhancing the overall user experience. Additionally, I worked on a side project with a small group of interns from various departments. We developed an onboarding portal for new employees with the hope of eventually implementing this product into the enterprise, which is an organization system for key business processes.
How did your internship connect back to your coursework? Throughout my coursework at FIU, I learned how to think critically and ask the right questions. These skills were essential to my internship where I often needed to problem-solve in a collaborative environment. From a technical perspective, I was also able to apply my knowledge of Java due to the programming classes I took at FIU.
What was the coolest thing about your internship or that happened during your internship? I got to participate in an internal three-day hackathon called the Startup Challenge, where participants pitched ideas to solve potential problems within Allstate. We then further explored and defined the problem, created a business model to solve it and prototyped our solution. It was an amazing developmental opportunity and my team made it to the final round of judges.
What did you like most about your experience? I was very fortunate to be on a team of amazing and talented developers who taught me a lot and were always willing to help. I appreciated that I was treated as a member of the team and expected to fully contribute. This allowed me to push myself and really grow in my role.
What did you learn about yourself? Working on a team composed of full-stack developers, UX designers, QA analysts, product managers and more, gave me a greater understanding of what type of career path I would like. I now have a clearer idea of what roles I would like to pursue in the future.
How did the position increase your professional confidence? This position taught me what to expect in a junior software engineering role. I learned that, despite not knowing everything, I was able to quickly learn and complete the tasks I was given. This, in turn, increased my professional confidence.
How did you expand your professional network? As part of my internship experience at Allstate, I attended several networking events, such as coffee chats with industry leaders, global learning sessions with subject matter experts and intern-related events. These opportunities allowed me to network and make lasting connections in the industry.
How did it help you prove yourself in the “real-world?” I was given plenty of real-world issues that needed solving by certain deadlines. Despite not initially knowing the solution, I displayed the appropriate aptitude and diligence required to succeed. I reached out, asked a lot of questions and did the research so that I could learn as much as possible and provide meaningful contributions to the team and overall project.