By Natacha Pradere

My two months as a student intern with Mailjet comes to a close this week. I feel so lucky to have spent my summer diving head first into the world of tech, startups and the vibrant city of New York.

The Mailjet team immediately took me in as a team member from day one, asking me to share my general interests – allowing me to have a hand in shaping my own learning path for the summer. Working at a startup is a great opportunity for students looking to get a taste of a wide range of job functions. I myself, started the summer being unsure of my career path, but knew that I had a general interest in technology, engineering, design and communication.

My first few weeks consisted of learning to program in Ruby. As soon as I felt comfortable, I paired my newly developed skills with my previous design experience to build landing pages for various marketing initiatives. Learning to code and applying this knowledge in a real-life work environment has given me confidence I could not imagine gaining in class.

A cool longer term project I worked on was creating a button that can track the cups of coffee made each day at HQ and update our About Us page on our website. I used an Arduino microntroller to code and build the device.  Each time the button is pushed, the counter data is then sent to a wifi transmitter linked to Thinkspeak’s API, which will continually keep track of the coffee we drink. Additionallly, the device has an LCD screen that shows passerbyers how much caffeine Mailjet has consumed. Being able to conceptualize a project trouble shooting issues along the way – these are all invaluable skills picked up from programming and are transferrable to just about any business.

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 I have undoubtedly made brilliant memories that will draw me back in the years to come. Working at the WeWork Fulton offices and attending regular meetups opened opportunities to meet some very passionate, hard-working individuals in the NY startup community. One of the most memorable events being the first ever Mailjet Happy Hour, where we celebrated the launch of a set of new features and a freshly redesigned website. I was able to put my product knowledge to the test when speaking with other attendees. It was certainly inspiring to see all the hard work go into the back end of creating this very tangible product and then celebrate the results with the rest of the community.

To my fellow students: whether you have an active or passive interest in the startup world, consider that it’s a great place to learn and to be entrepreneurial. I strongly suggest that all students should take at least one role at a startup during their academic careers. You’ll be asked to contribute, you’ll be motivated to hustle and you’ll learn more in a day here than you will at school.