Find out what it’s like to be a co-op at GeekHive
June 28, 2016
At GeekHive we have a tradition of interviewing our co-ops (cooperative education interns) on their last day with us. We always miss them, but their words live on. Find out what it’s like to be a co-op at GeekHive from Dan Inglin, our latest co-op, star of our intern video, and computer science major at RIT.
Before this you interned in Seattle, why did you choose GeekHive this time around?
Dan: I chose GeekHive because of the environment, a corporate setting isn’t for me. I was really excited to go somewhere that I didn’t’ have to wear a suit and tie and I could have fun while I worked but still learn a lot. I was also drawn to Buzz the bee (GeekHive’s mascot) since I’m actually a beekeeper.
A beekeeper, so cool! You’ll have to send us some honey! Are you still happy with your decision?
Dan: Yes, absolutely, I really enjoyed the projects I’ve worked on and the atmosphere and people I’ve worked with. It’s nice to ask a question and get a helpful answer, not just a response like, “I have to go to a meeting, sorry bye.” I love that meetings here are short and to the point, so we can focus on work. On previous co-ops I’d spend the better part of half of the day in meetings, here I get to focus on developing, which is what I came to learn.
Do you feel like GeekHive pushed you to achieve your maximum potential?
Dan: Yes, when I have a task and feel unsure of what I’m doing, I talk to another developer and they give me guidance, point me in the right direction, encourage me by telling me that I can do it, and push me to go for it. Everyone else has faith in me and that in turn makes me have faith in myself.
Do you feel like you were treated like an employee or a college student?
Dan: Absolutely an employee. People listen to my suggestions and ideas. One of the developers actually sat me down and asked me for advice on a project involving Angular since I have a lot of personal experience with that. In daily stand-up meetings or client calls I ask questions that lead people to see things in a different way and my feedback is always considered.
What feedback do you have for us where we could improve?
Dan: More regular one on one meetings with a manager or mentor. I had that but I had to seek it out, and for someone who is not as social as I am or as comfortable asking questions, it might be useful to have someone that’s designated for questions. There also wasn’t much of an orientation.
Author’s note: We really took this feedback to heart. New interns and hires are now assigned a peer mentor and there are several onboarding meetings with different teams and departments as well as orientation events, both in the office and socially. We want this to be an amazing experience and this type of feedback is invaluable to us!
Everyone from teammates to clients really enjoyed you Dan. Why do you think you fit in so well here?
Dan: Because I’m a geek. I can talk about my interests openly here and people are enthusiastic to discuss them with me and add their opinions. This helped me open up and be myself. If I want to talk about D&D or video games everyone’s interested. There’s always someone to chat with about nerdy things and everyone is easy to get along with.
What’s your Geeky passion?
Dan: It’s a three-way tie between video games, D&D, and beekeeping. The extent to which I do research into beekeeping is what makes it geeky, I geek out over bees.
What are your three biggest takeaways from your time with us?
Takeaway 1: I don’t think I want to go back to wearing a suit and tie or sit in a cubical ever again after experiencing freedom. An open floor plan and comfortable clothes make you more productive, not less. This is what it’s supposed to be like, and it’s a huge difference.
Takeaway 2: I learned a lot about how content management systems (CMS) work, I didn’t have experience with them before interning at GeekHive. I’ve always been more interested in developing apps vs. websites, but seeing how they work from the inside and how they can be used to great effect was cool.
Takeaway 3: I want to be in an environment that’s casual but still respectful, where I can feel valued as a person. I want to have freedom to get things done and have input on a project. I was given responsibility to do my job and be able to say, “I think this is the best way forward.” To have people listen as a co-op is not something you get everywhere. Also, having a chance to explain my thought process and have people listen and move forward with my plan was huge. People here have trust in my abilities and that helped me trust myself.
What advice do you have for other co-ops who may be interested in working at GeekHive?
Before your interview:
Dan: Know what you want to do. Geekhive does primarily CMS work so be prepared to talk about web design and those skills. Be friendly, don’t be stressed because the people interviewing you are cool guys.
Once you’re working at GeekHive:
Dan: Don’t be afraid to ask questions and talk to people in general. Everyone is friendly and willing to talk to you, not just about work, but about whatever is going on. Get involved, go to Thursday nights at Eddies, get lunch with your team. One of the best parts of this place is the people and you should definitely get involved in the culture.
What challenges did you face while working at GeekHive?
Dan: Biggest challenge technically was learning how Sitecore and CMS’ in general work and understanding the new technologies that come with them. I was not well versed in C# and thinking about how a CMS pipeline works so I had to change my idea of how a website works to load this content.
Anything else you want to add?
Dan: It’s been awesome, I recommend it to all of my friends and even though I’m finished with my co-op I look forward to staying in touch with the people I’ve become friends with here.
Author’s note: We have certain quirks here, we enjoy nerf gun fights, love Geeky posters, and all have various rubber duckies on our desks. When he returned to school, Dan sent the whole office a box of rubber duckies to add to our collection, such a sweet parting gift!
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