Building Pathways Toward Software Development

Students Rising Above is on the move this summer! In addition to students studying abroad in countries like Spain, Hong Kong, Morocco, and Italy, others have landed summer internships in various industries, including: tech, law, education, and healthcare.  

SRA continues to inspire the upward economic and social mobility for our students through a myriad of ways, including supporting them in gaining access to summer internships. A perfect example is Dan Truong, University of Pennsylvania, who has kicked off his Software Intern role with Equinix. Dan is elated to join the company, which was listed as #79 on Forbes’ 2015 World’s Most Innovative Companies!

We are extremely grateful for companies like Equinix, who work with SRA to provide our students an opportunity to pursue their passions, while gaining industry knowledge and tangible skills. This experience fully prepares our students to successfully launch meaningful, professional careers when they earn their college degrees.

We sat down with Dan to learn more about his journey. Check out the Q&A below.


Q: What are you doing as a Software Intern at Equinix?

A: During the span of my internship, I will be developing dashboards to provide clients a user-friendly means of accessing such data. Equinix, Inc. is the global interconnection and data center company connecting the world’s leading businesses to their customers, employees, and partners inside the most interconnected data centers in 52 markets across five continents.”

Q: Last year you applied for multiple internships before landing your role with the Federal Reserve. What motivated you to continue applying for internships?

A: “My freshman year, my search for an internship took place from mid-December 2016 all the way to May 2017. By the end, I had submitted over 10 applications, hearing back from five companies and undergoing 11 interviews in total. What kept me motivated to continue applying and interviewing was my desire to gain more work experience beyond the scope of the classroom. And personally, after interviewing for several months, I felt I was too deep into the process to give up. The more human side of me insisted that my efforts would be rewarded if I continued persevering through these few months of interviewing, so I did.”

Q: What career / profession would you like to pursue after graduating? Does this internship relate to your career / professional goals? If so, how?

A: “I would like to pursue a career that involves software development. I’m especially excited for this internship because it is the first opportunity I’ve gotten to program in a real-life setting. The full-stack experience I’ll be exposed to this summer will also help me decide whether there are certain aspects of the software development life cycle that I enjoy working on (front-end, back-end, etc.).”

Q: What do you wish you had known before starting your first internship?

A: I definitely wish I had known to log down all my accomplishments as soon as they come up. Practicing interview questions and preparing your resume is already a lot of work; digging through your memory for everything you’ve done in the past will only burden you. The search for internships will be significantly easier if you have explicit documentation of all your achievements and proof of what you can bring to the table. It’s certainly a good habit to do while you’re interning as well.

Q: What is your favorite SRA resource related to career development and why?

A: “My favorite SRA resource by far was definitely the interview preparation. While you might be exposed to various interview questions by watching online tutorials, these guides may not always address ways to sound natural or improve your body language. Practicing with experienced SRA advisors was by far most effective at boosting my confidence in interviews. The connections that SRA has with companies and past interns also provides a lot of insider insight that I wouldn’t have been exposed to otherwise.”

If you have connections at companies that want diverse, talented college students for summer internships, we’d love to hear from you! We also welcome entry level opportunities for our new graduates, who have an 85% success rate of landing career-ladder opportunities or attending graduate school within a year of getting their degrees.