Heard You’re Interning at a Startup

A huge thank you to the bright stars of nToggle’s Summer Internship Program from the nToggle team. The interns share their story in this blog post.

Heard You’re Interning at a Startup

Earlier this summer, we updated our LinkedIn profiles to show off our new internships at a startup called nToggle. Friends, classmates, and even old co-workers suddenly started conversations with “Hey, I heard you’re interning at a startup, how is that?” We didn’t expect people to be so curious but it makes sense, since not many startups get interns, and not many interns get startup experience.

So, we decided to do some deep reflecting on the past 12 weeks and come up with a collective and comprehensive response. 

First Impression

Our first day at nToggle we got to the office a little early, as anxious interns are apt to do. One-by-one, our soon-to-be coworkers strolled in, dashingly dressed head-to-toe in well-tailored suits. 

We were confused; the nTogglers we’d met during interviews were much more casual and approachable. We stayed tight-lipped about it through the day. No one commented on how far below the apparent standard our dress fell. 

It wasn’t until the end of the day when one of us, swelling with curiosity and not a bit of anticipation, stood up and asked Adam about the dress code. At this, Shrikanth shouted across the office, “We’ve been wondering why it took you eight hours to ask!” Relieved, we realized that it was only a prank. It was clear from the start that these people had a sense of humor. Most importantly, they wanted us to feel like we were one of them. 

Culture

But what does it mean to be “one of them”? At just eight-months old, nToggle is still finding its identity. This will become clearer as the product matures, but it eventually lies with the people to determine a company’s true identity. Cultivating the right culture is hugely important and everyone at nToggle understands this.

Great Teams Invest In One Another

Teamwork was essential to our success this summer. In the midst of our own personal projects, we were assigned an intern project that involved creating a customer-facing product from the ground up. We suffered resource cuts and other uncontrollable adversities that put our perseverance to the test. Each of us had to wear different hats to get where we wanted to go. Individually, we had unique skill sets, ranging from front end, back end, devops, to product. Rather than claim separate facets of the work, we took the short-term sacrifice of time to teach and learn from one another so we could reap the long-term benefits of working as a unit. We were invested in one another, but we weren’t on our own. The entire nToggle team had a stake in our development as both employees and young adults.

Mentorship

A major part of any internship is learning from experienced mentors. At nToggle, we found mentors who were not only smart, but enthusiastic too. Despite being extremely busy, they took the time to hold weekly one-on-ones with us to make sure we were being challenged and learning things we were passionate about. 

We weren’t limited to a single mentor. Thanks to the convenient layout of the office, we sat on an open floor with the entire team, including the co-founders themselves. This accessibility made it easy to pose questions to any member of the team.

Ownership

At nToggle, we were introduced to the concept of being an owner. An owner is someone who claims responsibility and takes action in the face of adversity. Aside from taking ownership in the projects we worked on, we were expected to be owners in every sense. Be it cleaning up after lunch or pushing in conference chairs, these trivial tasks set a precedence for responsibility that help build strong business and individuals. This is a lesson we will be taking away and applying to all aspects of our lives.

Moving Forward

Once this internship is over, we will be going our separate ways, whether it’s back to school or on to the next job. This summer has allowed us to grow independently and collectively as a cohesive intern class. To the nToggle team, we couldn’t have learned and accomplished as much as we did without your belief in us. The experience was beyond anything we could have nVisioned.

Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of something so special. We hope to have made a lasting impact and served as great examples for those who follow.

Now, when asked the inevitable question of how our internship went, instead of giving an “it was good” or “I learned a lot”, we can save some breath, sit back, and tell them to please take a moment and check out our blog.

Best,

nTerns ‘15 - Creators of nVision

Alex Chou, Brown University Software Engineer Intern

Alex Chou, Brown University
Software Engineer Intern

This summer, I worked on both individual and team projects. For my individual project, I redesigned the nToggle database to find a scalable solution to nToggle's growing bid stream as they onboard more customers. I learned and applied concepts of network theory in order to mimic the toggling functionality of the bid stream features. For the team project, we created an online, customizable dashboard for nToggle's customers to view data metrics. 

 

Shivani Gowriskankar, Northeastern University Software Engineer Intern

Shivani Gowriskankar, Northeastern University
Software Engineer Intern

It has been an amazing summer! As a Software Engineer Intern, I worked on a lot of projects, which helped me develop a very broad skill set. I worked on developing plugins for Ansible, a Python project and developed a Slackbot that manages operations of AWS. In the last month of my internship, I focused on the intern project and worked on deploying the project in production via Ansible. I also worked on a few front-end and back-end tasks of the project. 

 

 

Evan Martinez, MIT Product Management Intern

Evan Martinez, MIT
Product Management Intern

When I came to nToggle, I was immediately called upon to create wireframes in Photoshop and Sketch. I remember my manager Young praising Sketch’s power and simplicity while I was fumbling at the controls. But the challenge was far from unwelcome. I practiced at home and hit Command-Z until I could design pixel-perfect mocks that I was proud to present. The feeling of gaining proficiency in something completely new is what I’ll always treasure.

 

Charley Yan, Cornell Software Engineer Intern

Charley Yan, Cornell
Software Engineer Intern

I never imagined that I would be able to work on such a great project from so many different angles. I wrote a back-end client to allow more robust interaction with the data service. On the front end, I worked with JavaScript, AJAX, and Highcharts to build a dashboard for data visualization. I was also able to experience and participate in the development of the dashboard from the product side - giving me a say in the features we implemented.