An Interview with Angela, C2C Alumna ‘18 and Summer 2018 RetailMeNot Intern

This past year, Angela G. participated in the Code2College program as a high school junior in Austin ISD. After successfully completing the program, she went on to become RetailMeNot’s first-ever high school software engineering intern. Last week, we sat down with her and asked about her experience in Code2College.

MS: Hey Angela! Thanks for taking the time to chat. So, what made you want to apply to Code2College?

AG: Yea, no problem. Well, I’ve been interested in coding and engineering since I was little. So I thought that Code2College would be a great way to get real experience in either of these fields.

MS: And how did you find out about C2C?

AG: My school AP, Mr. Jung, asked if I would be interested in applying for it and I was and applied.

MS: Do you remember anything in particular that seemed appealing to you about the opportunity?

AG: The internship seemed really appealing. Instead of working at a kayak rental shop all summer, I would have the chance to gain real world experience and essential skills that I couldn’t learn in a typical summer job.

MS: Which leads me to my next question, since you yourself were able to land an internship at RetailMeNot as their first-ever high school software engineering intern through our program. What was that experience like?

AG: It was great! The team had me working on actual projects that are still being used now. One of the main projects I worked on involved recreating an internal website for the entire company. So it’s amazing to think that hundreds of RetailMeNot employees are seeing and actually using something that I worked on every day.

MS: That’s really impressive. What were some of the technologies that you used during the internship?

AG: I started off developing in local files and then moved off to a more structured environment. The framework I used was React and the temporary store was MobX. And everything was written in JavaScript and CSS. For the data store, we used Firebase and different login providers.

MS: That sounds pretty intimidating. What would you say was your greatest fear going into this internship?

AG: That I wouldn’t know what to do. That I wouldn’t be a productive intern. I was really scared about what I knew and thought that I wouldn’t be able to apply it at work.

MS: So, what was the result?

AG: After some initial training and speaking with several colleagues, I got over the fear because I realized that I’m never going to know everything. But I can definitely learn quite a bit.

MS: What was the most exciting thing about working for RetailMeNot specifically?

AG: The atmosphere is amazing. RetailMeNot is so open and a true learning environment. Everyone was so willing to help. I’m incredibly grateful to have interned with them.

MS: Did you find the professionals that you worked with supportive?

AG: Yes! Everyone I worked with was supportive and offered great advice and helped me along the way.

MS: If there’s anyone at RetailMeNot who you’d like to shout out?

AG: Steven Swanson. He walked me through EVERYTHING. He was always there to review my code and give me critiques and different ways to think about the problem I was trying to solve. He was awesome.

MS: I’ll be sure to share that with him! Is there any advice that you would give to someone applying to Code2College?

AG: In class, you need to learn everything you can. If you have a question, ask because it’s essential that you get a better process for learning things. If you get stuck, without asking questions you’ll stay exactly where you are. Open-mindedness is also essential. When you approach a new problem, you’ve got to do so with an open mind.

MS: That’s some great advice – PERIOD. Any final words about the Code2College experience?

AG: I really feel like this program is life-changing. I don’t know anywhere else where I’d be able to learn the basics of coding and then get to apply them. I’m really thankful and grateful to have been a part of it.

MS: That’s great to hear, Angela. Thanks for your time!

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