Blending Development and Entrepreneurship (Intern Files #022)

Tyler Weisner , 2019 HF Intern,  ToDoolie

Tyler Weisner, 2019 HF Intern, ToDoolie

I have always heard mixed things about working for a startup, from the riskiness and hectic organization to the fantasies of unicorn companies that continue to pop up and incite excited for young minds.  As this is my first internship experience, I, like many other aspiring software engineers, was anxious to begin but concerned I still did not have all of the skills to be an efficient programmer in a professional workplace. However, after the first week of working side by side with the entire team and very closely with my CTO, I very welcomed and reinsured that I definitely had the abilities to produce meaningful results for the company.  

The largest attraction to ToDoolie was the founders' emphasize on my learning from all things programming to the ins and outs of entrepreneurship.  Because I want to eventually begin my own startup software company in the future, I saw the Hacker Fellows program as the absolute best opportunity get my toes in the door in the Detroit startup culture and software development.  When I first signed on with the ToDoolie team, I wasn't sure what specific type of programming they would have me doing from front to back-end, UI/UX or maybe even security.  A month later, I have worked with literally everything in programming short of AI and could not be happier!  The other aspect I wanted to get from my first internship experience was getting a feel for what I wanted to focus on as a programmer and that meant trying everything.  Because we are an earlier staged company I was able to always communicate with my CTO and ask to move on to a different component of the project to which the answer was usually a happy YES!

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Since we are still in the early stages I am often jumping from one task to a very different one every day, which is exactly what I wanted in order to truly get a feel for all the things computer science has to offer and be able to answer the most common question I get asked which is, "what exactly do you like and want to do with your degree?".  My experience over the past two months has been amazing and every day was as exciting as the last, but the fun is only just beginning with the addition of two new Hacker Fellows joining us this week!  I was told to buckle up because things are about to get a lot faster, which is awesome to hear!  Working with a smaller startup company has allowed me to work on many different things inside of computer science, but has also allowed me to work closely (like right next to) many people who are working completely different things from me.  This coupled with my CEO inviting me into meetings from time to time has really allowed me to get the full startup experience from operations, communications, investing, pitching, and most important development.  It's really difficult to decide what you want out of life if you haven't experienced a lot, which is what I was struggling with coming into this internship with ToDoolie, but afterward I can happily say that I have a much better understanding of where my next couple of steps should be o steer me in the right direction.  For that, I am incredibly thankful.

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On top of the immense learning, I know that I have made some awesome, long-lasting friendships and professional connections that I will definitely stay in touch with after going back to school come fall.  With a fully cohesive team of young talent, we push each other every day and it really is an amazing feeling to never be worried about the clock, but focus on our personal and professional goals.  At ToDoolie one of our values is to play just as hard as we work every day.  We had our first summer cookout last weekend and have a team trip in the plans that lead to a strong team bond!  I am very grateful for this experience through Hacker Fellows and ToDoolie in downtown Detroit; it is one that I will never forget.


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Tyler Weisner is a 2019 Hacker Fellows Intern, working for ToDoolie in Detroit. Tyler is completing his Computer Science degree at Michigan State University.