An Intern's Guide to a Career Path in Development

As my internship this semester comes to a close, I have begun reflecting back on my time with Powershift Group and the experiences I have gained as a marketing intern. Prior to my internship, I was unsure what field I wanted to pursue after graduation. As a management major at The University of Texas at Austin, I had toiled with the idea of recruiting, consulting, and food distribution management, but decided they were not the right field for me. I began my internship at Powershift Group hoping to explore new industries and determine new possibilities. During my four months at Powershift Group, I worked closely with its mobile app venture, Wannabe. Wannabe is a mobile app that helps middle and high school students (or even college students like me!) explore careers, get inspired, and stay on track. It provides easy access to information pertaining to career fields and job descriptions, salarystatistics, and mentors. Throughout the app’s development and its current beta-testing phase, I interacted with different facets of the community,  from high school students to teachers to non-profit volunteers. I learned the needs of today’s students and the challenges they face in this increasingly competitive job market, which helped improve the Wannabe mobile app and tailor it to its desired target market.

The following are the three key takeaways I had from my internship at Powershift Group and experience with Wannabe:

1. Be Flexible

Unpredictable things occur, particularly in the startup world. Problems may arise, delays may occur, and events may be cancelled. When this happens, it is important to remind yourself of the end goal and in the meantime continue to make contributions that help direct the company towards that vision. It is important to keep to a schedule, but occasionally, a schedule cannot be kept. Instead of freezing up, get creative and brainstorm how you can take the fullest advantage of the situation.

2. Think Outside the Box

It is easy to get stuck in one discipline, one major, and one job title. What’s important to realize, however, is that everything is interrelated. Marketing corresponds with sales, which corresponds with product design, which corresponds with engineering, which corresponds with…the list goes on. Keeping this in mind is crucial to understanding the intricacies of the company and taking advantage of the resources available to you. Though my internship was primarily related to marketing, I dabbled in graphic design, public relations, and even American Studies when I was trying to understand the demographics of our target markets. Use your knowledge in various disciplines to increase the depth of your work and contributions.

3. Be Present

While working an internship during the school year, it is easy for your schoolwork to catch up with you and distract you from your internship. Make sure you exercise time management skills to ensure quality work at your internship, as well as your schoolwork.

Working at Powershift for Wannabe has helped me determine my career path after graduation. I learned that I have a passion for education and want to help others have the advantage of obtaining a good education.  I plan to obtain a Master’s in Education and pursue my interest by working for services that have educational outreach programs, such as museums and non-profits. So, the real question is: What do I wannabe? The answer: I wannabe the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution.

Now that you've heard all about my experience, share your thoughts on what traits are required when becoming an experienced intern in any field.

About: Amy was selected from a University of Texas at Austin program titled, Bridging Disciplines. This program offers interdisciplinary concentrations in over 15 areas of expertise with faculty members who specialize in any of the 15 categories. The program was founded in 2002, and has grown tremendously over the years to become a respectable opportunity for all students and faculty members at the University.