Ridgeline’s 16 summer interns had an unexpected internship experience — all virtual from their homes across the country. Ridgeline staff writers recently circled back with two, Sophia Cerino and Will Pasley, to reflect on their thoughts about their work and experience at Ridgeline.
Sophia is currently a senior (and women’s lacrosse player) at the University of California, Berkeley, majoring in Cognitive Science; at Ridgeline, she was the quality assurance (QA) specialist for two intern projects. Will is a senior at Colorado College majoring in Computer Science; he worked on the intern engineering team that researched and built auditing functionality. Both are returning to Ridgeline full time after they graduate next spring.
Thinking back to your internship interview process, how would you recommend other candidates prepare for an interview cycle with Ridgeline?
Sophia: My interview with Ridgeline was one of my first real interviews for a job. I remember being nervous, but once it started, I immediately felt comfortable. The people at Ridgeline made it easy. From there, the process moved very quickly. Because Ridgeline is such a people-focused company, if you just be yourself and express who you are in the interview process, it will all fall into place!
Will: Like any other interview, definitely brush up on your technical skills and be prepared to talk about yourself. Ridgeline works hard during the interview process to get to know the person behind the resumé. As a small tech company looking toward the future, Ridgeline is willing to invest in young people, but they want to make sure you are dedicated and that you fit into the company. So while you want to show off your professional qualifications, also make sure to show off your personal passions.
What new technologies did you use in your projects, and how did you learn to use them?
Sophia: This summer was my first time ever using a Mac, so all of the technology was new to me. However, Ridgeline made online onboarding clear and descriptive, so I was able to easily learn all the new technologies I used — GitHub, Insomnia, VS Code, Java, and more. As much as tutorials and documentation helped me get a feel for all of the new tech, the hands-on work with the projects helped me excel in using them.
Will: As a product and engineering intern, the most useful technology I learned was Amazon Web Services (AWS). Learning to operate under an architecture backed by AWS gave me the opportunity to experiment with NoSQL databases, on-demand functions, and so much more. I’m very happy to have acquired this new skillset.
What other skills did you acquire this summer that you didn’t expect to learn?
Sophia: As a QA engineer, I was prepared to wear many hats this summer. One role that I didn’t expect to love was the role of a scrum master. During scrums every morning for the intern group projects, I would lead the meeting and run through the tasks for the day. This helped me acquire skills like leading and organizing a group, which is something I didn’t expect to learn but is extremely important for the role. Scrum became my favorite part of the day!
Will: On top of tech skills, my experience was super helpful in developing general business skills. From going to a daily scrum to bolstering my technical writing, I left my summer at Ridgeline feeling confident that I can thrive in a company setting. I learned how to communicate more effectively and how to be a productive member of a larger team. I feel like I added a whole new array of proficiencies that come with working in a business environment.
And how did Ridgeline make you feel welcome and connected during your virtual experience?
Sophia: Coming into a fully virtual summer internship, I was worried about feeling isolated as I would be all on my own behind the computer screen. However, because Ridgeline as a company is so focused on collaboration, I never felt this way at all. Slack and Zoom made it extremely easy to collaborate day to day. Also, the full timers made me feel comfortable about reaching out at any time. They were always so responsive, and many of them put time on my calendar just to say hi.
I feel like this open and welcoming attitude is something Ridgeline does with little thought — it’s just a part of the culture. It was such a great feeling to be included in conversations because it made me feel like I was a part of the big picture, not just a summer intern.
Will: Working remotely definitely added extra challenge to the internship, but Ridgeline always made an extra effort to make us feel welcome and part of the company with sessions like company-wide Zoom meetings, AMAs (Ask Me Anything), and hours discussing problems in Google Hangouts. We also played trivia, celebrated National Intern Day, and had virtual lunches. Everyone at Ridgeline was always receptive, kind, and helpful.
How would you describe Ridgeline to others looking for a job or internship?
Sophia: The tech industry sometimes has a stigma around it of being disconnected and constricted. This stigma might scare some people away. Personally, I was nervous to go into tech, but Ridgeline is nothing like this stigma. It’s a company where employees work very hard and enjoy the work they are doing. It’s a place where employees are passionate and rally around a common goal. It’s a place where people care about the work and each other.
Will: It might be hard to commit to a smaller, less established tech startup, especially one that isn’t located in a major tech hub. But honestly, those are two of the things I liked most about Ridgeline. The size allows for each individual to have more agency over the work they’re doing. I feel like even after one summer, I’ve already made a lasting mark on the products Ridgeline is building. And while Tahoe may be drastically different from where I predicted I’d be living after graduation, I couldn’t be more excited to spend my next years in a place as beautiful and adventurous.
You’ve both accepted job offers from Ridgeline in Tahoe when you graduate. What are you most looking forward to once you join Ridgeline and start working?
Sophia: Besides being excited to move to such a beautiful place, I’m excited for the direction the company is going. I’m looking forward to seeing Ridgeline’s progress and being able to jump in and see everyone like I was never gone! I’m eager to pick up where I left off and learn and grow every day while at Ridgeline.
Will: Getting to the office! Our remote internships were incredible experiences, but I can’t wait to be in Tahoe, at the office, and finally meeting everyone in person. I feel like I’ve already built lasting friendships over Zoom this past summer, so who knows what’s in store once I get some real time spent with my peers. On top of that, I can’t wait to be in Tahoe. I ski, and living so close to incredible mountain terrain is a dream come true. I can’t wait to get started!
Ridgeline is currently accepting applications for Summer 2021 engineering internships and new college grads. See job descriptions on our Careers page.