A High Schooler’s Perspective On Work-Based Learning
At 16 years old I have had very little experience in a professional environment. As I saw my friends landing jobs at various restaurants and retail stores I decided that I wanted to find employment over the summer. I ended up interviewing and securing an internship position at Couragion. Through the internship, I was able to participate in SCRUM meetings as well as help the team with jobs such as finding twitter followers, researching edtech company deals, and quality assurance testing. The tasks I performed and the experiences I participated in during this internship helped me to build valuable work-based learning skills in the area of Agile Software Development. It also allowed me to notice more about the inner workings of a company.
One of my biggest realizations during the internship experience was how much work and thought has to be put into to every decision. There are so many products in our daily lives and each aspect whether immediately apparent or not was deliberately chosen by the person who made it. From the outside, Couragion is an interface with its intriguing and informative Career Quests and Computer Science/Computational Thinking Challenges. However, when viewed from the inside, meticulous analysis has to be put into every feature of the app. Decisions have to be made about whether the button says “next” or “answer questions,” or whether the user should be able to move the pop up or just close out of it. All of these little facets come together to form the collective product that the users see.
As a high school student, I am similar to the users that Couragion is targeting. Because of this unique position the team was eager to have me perform functional and usability testing. This was a very interesting process for me as I had to try and pinpoint my own wants and whether or not they matched the features of the product. The functional and usability testing was also very exciting because I was able to see some of my own testing feedback prioritized in Couragion’s product roadmap and scheduled into their development sprints as new features in the app.
Another aspect that struck me during the internship was the importance of the process of marketing and promotion. This was one of the biggest topics that my projects were focused on this summer as I worked on market assessment and social media outreach. This made me realize that no matter how much time is spent on making a product that is incredibly user-friendly, it is nothing without the actual users. This truly was one of the biggest surprises of my internship, so much of the work is focused on promoting the product. Whether it be via social media or edtech conference, the publicity of the product helps determine its success.
Through the meticulous process of quality assurance or the external act of promotion, jobs are often much more than can be seen from the product that they produce. As I move on, into the search for a college and later a career I will keep this in mind. There are many aspects to every job, some that are surprisingly interesting and others that are less so, but either way, the product that is created is hopefully beneficial, as Couragion is to students like me.
Guest Blog Post By - Theresa Dooley, Couragion Summer Intern, Rising High School Junior