By Monica Essig Aberg, Development Intern
Two years ago, LaDonya Greene didn’t think of herself as “tech savvy.” Now she has professional work experience troubleshooting and refurbishing laptops as part of Byte Back’s new student intern program.
Applying Knowledge, Gaining New Skills
Student interns have the chance to apply knowledge from their courses in a professional environment, gaining resume-worthy experience and earning a stipend while they prepare to enter the job market. Nine students so far (with more starting soon) work up to 20 hours a week at Byte Back’s headquarters and off site at The VETS Group, fulfilling the IT and administrative needs of students and staff with hands-on projects, from updating computer storage and installing new operating systems.
For LaDonya, these projects were the perfect study tool while preparing to take her CompTIA A+ certification exams. She started at Byte Back in 2017 with computer foundations classes, working her way to the highest level of Byte Back training, the IT professional track. The internship went “hand-in-hand” with class material, LaDonya said, providing the extra practice she needed.
Internships that Lead to Employment
Not only does the internship help students with exams, it gives them the work experience employers look for when hiring, including technical and interpersonal skills.
“A big goal of the internship is making students more employable,” says Marty Wrin, Byte Back IT Specialist and internship program lead. “Part of that is the actual hard skills and the other part is how to be a good employee, a desirable employee.”
Ricardo Simmons, a Byte Back student and intern, recognized that the internship would set him apart as he applied for IT careers. “Because I’m using software that will be used in the actual field,” he said, “it’s helped me get more familiar, and I’ll be able to add that to my resume.”
Marty was confident that Ricardo would “have a leg up” in getting hired because of the internship experience. And he was right – after a few months as a Byte Back intern, Ricardo earned his CompTIA A+ certification and then got hired by Wisetek, a local technology refurbishing company and Byte Back employer partner.
What’s Next for Byte Back Internships
Since starting this summer, the program has already expanded to include internship opportunities for administrative roles in addition to IT, providing experiential training for both IT and Administrative Professional Track students.
The program will continue to grow and adapt to the needs of learners, giving students the ability to gain hands-on professional experience and earn a wage while learning. The interns are excited about the future of the program, citing the benefits they have already seen.
“It’s needed. It’s worth it,” says LaDonya, who is now ready to seek out new career opportunities. “It built my confidence up, so I’m not going to be afraid to go and look for that job that I need.”