Year 3 of the Tech & Innovation Internship was bigger and better than ever! This summer, Coded by Kids hosted 24 high school and college students who got hands-on experience working in teams, creating tech projects, connecting with mentors, and getting real world experience that will prepare them for the next step in their tech career. Read along to learn more about our interns and their experiences this summer.
Meeting Philly's Tech Leaders
One of the most impactful parts of the CBK internship is moments when students interact with tech leaders and entrepreneurs. From founders of local startups to employees and leaders at our nation’s top companies, these opportunities allowed our students to see where tech can take them. This summer, we had the pleasure of having visiting mentors, site visits and virtual workshops with some incredible tech talent. We started with a visit from Brian Dainis, founder of Curotec, who taught our college interns best practices for idea generation and problem validation. Next up we hit the road and traveled to New York City to learn from a few of our industry partners including TechStars.
The day was filled with great lessons on user experience and how accelerators work. For the second year, our interns took a field trip to the SEI campus in Oaks, PA where they had the chance to meet with senior execs and learn about the company’s history and unique culture. During a virtual workshop the interns got some very valuable and practical financial tips from Bank of America. A jam-packed visit to the Comcast Technology Center was planned by the ProjectUP team and taught our students about a variety of opportunities in tech and innovation. The interns ended the summer with visits to EPAM Systems to learn about journey mapping, Verizon to learn career pathways, pitched their prototype ideas at Infinite Blue, and learned how robotics & tech have changed the way the Liberty Coke plant operates.
"My favorite part was when we went on site visits... It was cool to be able to talk with different industry professionals and get a grasp of what the tech world really looks like." - Nabilah J.
Experiences like these give our interns more insight into what may be next for them in their career journey. "After these visits, I was eager to work harder in order to get there," Steven W. said. We are so grateful to all of our partners for supporting and inspiring our students.
Learning to Lead
In addition to meeting tech leaders through our industry partner site visits, our interns work closely with our team leads that guided our interns throughout the summer. Many of our team leads were interns in the past. "The transition from being part of the internship program to taking on a leadership role and leading new interns has been a rewarding and transformative experience," Developer Amadin A. said. "As a former intern, I was fortunate to have gained valuable technical knowledge and skills, as well as personal growth. My goal for the internship was to teach those same skills to another cohort of young passionate developers."
"I wanted to give back what I learned about the world of UI/UX design and also re-experience the joy, excitement, and fulfillment of last summer's internship by proxy of teaching the interns." - Hilary W.
At Coded by Kids, we believe that long term mentorship and involvement makes a difference in our student's lives. Teaching them not only the hard, technical skills that they will need to find a job in the tech field, but also the soft skills that will make them the next tech leaders.
Growing as a Team
"You have to know yourself through and through before you manage a team. That has been the biggest lesson I have learned.' - Khilola S.
For some of the interns, this was the first time working on a big project as a team. They had to overcome challenges and learn to communicate and work efficiently together. Whether they needed to adjust to different working styles or compromise on ideas, each group overcame a lot to create their final projects. "Working in a team provided me the opportunity to open my ideas and thoughts up to criticism and to be challenged," said Sultan.
Working Together to Think Like a Founder
The mission of Coded by Kids is more than just tech education, we aim to teach our students about innovation and entrepreneurship. So this summer we asked each group of interns to Think Like a Founder. They worked together to develop ideas, work through the ideation and validation process, and as a team develop an MVP.
Wanting to help Gen Z challenge negative thinking and embrace positive self-reflection Queena C., Sarah W., and Andrea L. created Lumina. This AI-powered journal combats negative thoughts and overthinking by building healthy journaling habits.
When reflecting on the project, the team's Product Manager, Queena, said "We went from one sticky note that said AI therapy/mental health to a doc filled with notes, to a wireframe and mock up, and down to a fully fledged AI working model, [...], which was actually really insane to just visualize in eight weeks!" Creating Lumina this summer and seeing what they can accomplish if they try, gave the group the confidence to keep going in tech. "Now I know that if I work hard enough towards what I want to do, I can actually achieve it," Sarah said.
The Philadelphia Emissary
Seeing the problem that many people are unaware of what goes on in their local government, Priyal S., Nabilah J., and Sultan S. created The Philadelphia Emissary. A one stop place for all the information you need regarding local politics in Philadelphia, the website's goal is to give people access to unbiased and easy to understand information.
When asked what their main takeaway was this summer, the team agreed that they gained a lot from their teamwork and collaboration. Priyal "learned a lot about efficient communication and how to bring the team together and keep them motivated," and Sultan learned that "collaborating with people with similar goals can be one of the most productive ways to learn and develop initial thoughts into fully fleshed out projects."
For their project Daniel T., Reginald H., and Bashir H. created Vision Vault. This AI-powered idea generator and pubic forum helps content creators to break their creative block.
Adapting to working as a team was a challenge for the group. "I learned a lot about communication as well as scheduling/planning, and coordination," said the team's UI/UX Designer Reginald.
"I learned a lot about working under tight deadlines with another person and adapting to changing circumstances." - Daniel T.
Learning how much surplus food goes to waste, Khilola S., Demilade O., and Dylan J. created Food Glide, an e-commerce platform meant to connect farmers and consumers directly.
"Something about this internship, is that at the end of pretty much every day, you feel like you accomplish something." - Dylan
At the start of their project, the group conducted a lot of user research to validate their idea - visiting farmers markets and speaking to potential customers made them more passionate about the idea and eager to create the final product. All of the hard work payed off, leaving the team feeling accomplished and fulfilled.
Looking to solve the confusion around recycling on college campuses, Sasha R., Seth B., and Dominic S. created Green Genius. Using a machine learning image classification model, the app can detect and classify images of various items - instantly telling the user if their item is recyclable, partially recyclable, or not recyclable.
Working and growing together, the group learned a lot about themselves through teamwork. "My biggest takeaway/lesson has to do with feedback," Seth told us. "How most of the time the feedback is not to put me down but to help me grow. Once I started looking at it that way it changed my perspective." Dominic added that the biggest lesson he learned was "the importance of challenging yourself when learning."
Seeing the growing need for reliable and affordable childcare, Lucia G., Teya T., Julian A., and Steven S. created Philly Reach. The website addresses the pain points of working parents in Philadelphia who need an easy way to find after-school programs.
"I learned the importance of motivation and commitment that this field needs in order to create successful products. Ultimately, after meeting so many new people and working with them, I discovered I wanted to learn even more about my field." - Lucia G.
The group's UI/UX Designer Lucia gained a new passion for tech during the program. Not only did she gain appreciation for the other roles in tech, she now understands the importance of working together to create a product.
Trash Guard's mission was to transform waste management for small businesses by providing a seamless platform that connects them with private trash collectors while empowering them to negotiate budgets and pricing.
Kripsee P., Heaven P., Steven W., and Timilehin O. worked together throughout the summer learning to adapt and pivot when needed - realizing that things don't always go according to plan. "We had to deal with last minute changes which left us scrambling but it was also a learning experience," said Steven.
"I've done other CBK programs before but this has been my favorite so far. [...] These eight weeks have been really cool with networking and getting to meet new people. I came in here without a ton on web development and design knowledge and this expanded it a lot." - Sultan S.
All of our interns entered the program with different goals. "I was interested in being an intern with CBK this summer because I really wanted to learn something new. I wanted to ... learn the skills of communication, team dynamics, and spearheading development on our projects" said Queena. While Seth wanted to grow his development skills and put himself in "new, potentially "scary" situations."
Our goal with the Tech & Innovation Internship is for our interns to finished the program learning different options for tech careers, but we hope to see the students thrive and grow throughout the summer. Whether they increase their technical skills like Dylan, who told us "I'm much more confident in my ability to develop things now, feeling like I can move forward in almost anything. Obviously I still have so much more to learn... But it feels obtainable now." Or came out of their shells like Daniel who said "I'm much more personable and outgoing after this internship," we are so proud of all of the interns for pushing themselves and accomplishing more than they thought possible.
100% of students stated that this experience increased their interest in the tech space and more than 80% of students said the internship increased their interest in startups.
We love to see the students' outlook on the tech change and realize there is room for them. "One thing that has changed for me was my perspective on technology and the startup space," Nabilah said. "I was able to be more open minded on what it means to work in technology and in startups." Dylan agrees, adding that "there's a place for everyone in [tech] and as time goes on I hope that people are able to truly feel that. The future of tech is gonna need people from everywhere in order to benefit the world."
The Tech & Innovation Internship gives high school and college students the opportunity to receive hands-on experience in a fast-paced, innovative startup environment, gaining valuable skills and the chance to make strategic connections in the tech and startup industries.
Thank you to our generous sponsors: Philadelphia Department of Commerce (PHL Most Diverse Tech Hub), Comcast NBC Universal, Comic Relief, NBA Foundation, Capital One, Infinite Blue, SEI, Verizon, and Guru.
Interested in sponsoring the Tech & Innovation Internship or other Coded by Kids programs? Reach out to our development team.