Skillin' It (Intern Files #016)

Tatiana Yugay, Skillo, 2018 HF Intern

Tatiana Yugay, Skillo, 2018 HF Intern

As I write this blog, it is surreal to me that I have only two weeks left of my 2 month long internship at Skillo. This has been the one and only job at which I felt like time flew by—at my past positions, I always seemed to count down the hours before I could go home. With that being said, I couldn’t have gotten this internship opportunity without Hacker Fellows, and for that I will be forever grateful. The whole Hacker Fellows experience has exceeded my expectations, from the first week of the bootcamp up until now.

During the Hacker Fellows bootcamp, we primarily learned how to work with Ruby on Rails. For me, it was questionable how much a week’s worth of material would truly be helpful once I started real work at the internship; however, all the doubts I had vanished the first day I started the job. The material Jason Swett, our instructor, chose to teach us truly gave me a jumpstart to my work at Skillo, probably saving me about two weeks or more of time that I’d otherwise need to learn Ruby on my own. Right from the get-go, I felt like a true asset to my startup, all due to the training I received through Hacker Fellows prior.

One of the biggest reasons I love startup culture is the ability to establish close relationships with people at really any level of the company, and this is exactly what I experienced at Skillo. We work in close quarters on the sixth floor (yeah, I definitely can’t complain about the views!) of the WeWork building in Downtown Detroit, and at any given moment, I am able to speak to the CTO, CMO, CEO, lead designer, or any other member of the company.

I have learned so much from the CTO, Andrew, whether it be Rails-specific things, business insights, random historical facts about programming, or advice on the best browser to use. He has helped me tremendously to solidify my understanding of how the backend and frontend work together, which is something I really struggled to conceptualize before. Previously, I could either work solely on the frontend or solely on the backend but couldn’t work on something that required working in both simultaneously--until now. Seeing the strides I have made in my knowledge of Rails and Javascript has given me so much more confidence as not just a programmer, but as a thinker in general, and it’s largely due to how patient and considerate Andrew has been when explaining concepts to me.

Everybody at Skillo is tremendously down to earth, which is a quality I look for in everyone, but especially in coworkers, since the majority of my time is spent at work. My coworkers not only help me excel in work-related aspects, but their personal interests, stories and hobbies have inspired me to think differently and enabled me to see aspects of life through a different lens.

This is also the first place I’ve worked at where I don’t feel a general atmosphere of stress and friction. Multiple times a week, the CEO and CTO bring their children into the office, and our other coworker once brought her puppy! The environment feels more like friends coming together to work on a project, rather than coworkers coming into work everyday, which I have found to be especially Skillo-specific.

I did not expect my experience this summer to be this exceptional. I assumed it would be like any other job I’ve had, and that I would not genuinely gain a deeper understanding of and satisfaction by the work environment, but my mindset has been drastically altered. I know that I definitely want to continue working in startups and deepening my technical knowledge. I’m honestly sad that I only have two weeks left of my internship, but the CEO said he wants me to continue working for Skillo while I’m in school, because of how much value I have brought to the company, and... that’s definitely a yes from me!

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Tatiana Yugay, 2018 Hacker Fellows Intern, is finishing up her Computer Science degree at the University of Michigan She is working with Skillo for Summer 2018.