Working at Octiv and participating in TechPoint’s Xtern program has been an absolutely amazing experience. Over the course of summer, I have learned and experienced many vital components to software engineering in a real-world setting. Coming into the Xtern program, I had no idea what to expect. I had never worked in the software industry before, nor had I ever lived in a city as large as Indianapolis. The closest thing to tech experience I had before joining Xtern was an internship working in IT for my local school system while I was still in high school. My internship, unfortunately, did not allow me to learn or experience much, because I was still a student. Coming from the small town of Michigan City, Indiana, where the “tech community” is largely nonexistent, the chance of living in a larger city with opportunities for working with software was a welcome experience.

Xtern's in Indianapolis

Every day, I wake up excited to go to work. I work with an amazing team of engineers, all of whom are extremely knowledgeable, and have offered amazing guidance, both from a professional and technological standpoint. They have encouraged me to attend meet-ups (with which several of them are active) and to meet other people within the company, so I can grow my network. I have also learned a great deal about programming in general. I’ve had the opportunity to work with languages like Ruby on Rails and Ember JS that were completely new to me. Perhaps the greatest skill I learned this summer was how to work around code that other engineers had written.

Before Octiv’s rebrand, the company received a number of impressive awards, including Tech Startup of the Year in 2012 and Emerging Tech Company of the Year in 2015, both of which come from TechPoint’s own Mira Awards. With a great culture, amazing coworkers, and prestigious awards, working for Octiv has been a great way to kick-start my career. Moving forward, I have confidence that I will be a key asset to any software company and a contributing member to the field as a whole.

Xtern's at Mira Awards

The Xtern program is not all about work though. Outside of a 9-5 work schedule, there are opportunities to get to know other students and form lasting friendships. Through Xtern, I’ve met over a hundred like-minded individuals, many of whom I would consider to be some of the best friends I’ve ever made. That include some I went to the same college with and hadn’t met before; even one who also grew up in Michigan City! The best part of being so close to the other interns is that we all live downtown at the IUPUI dorms. Not only are we all close to each other, we’re also all close to downtown Indianapolis, which presents opportunities such as taking walks along the Canal, attending local meet-ups together, or playing laser tag.

Xtern's giving back to the community

Not only does being an Xtern provide me with the ability to work with an awesome tech company and socialize with my peers, it placed me downtown in the beautiful city of Indianapolis. Through Xtern, I’ve taken part in a number of unique experiences and events, including the Indianapolis Civic Hackathon, multiple mentorship opportunities, and tech talks. They have all been great experiences where I’ve been able to network, learn about Indianapolis, and give back to both the city and to aspiring young students of all ages that could become rising stars in technology. I’m so happy I got to be a part of the Xtern program, and can’t wait to see my career take off from here.

Visit the Xtern website to learn more about the program.