Life at Constant Contact: An Intern’s Perspective

Finding a career opportunity is always challenging when you’re in the midst of your education. Fortunately, Constant Contact provides an exciting and inspiring internship program for students looking to get experience outside the classroom. This internship has given me valuable industry and workplace exposure.

An Intern’s First Impressions

I’m a Junior at Rochester Institute of Technology studying Software Engineering with a minor in Digital Literature and Comparative Media. Having had one previous internship at a larger company, I was excited to intern at Constant Contact, a company that has a close relationship with their customers. First impression: I was blown away by how enthusiastic the recruiters were when I initially spoke with them. After accepting the internship offer, I noticed the same warm and welcoming trend when I made my way to the office.

Thriving Culture

The atmosphere at CTCT is so bright, innovative, and just fun. I spent my first week raving over the free cappuccino machines and the Skee-Ball games (how could I not?!). Every wall in the office is a different color, and some walls are full panel chalkboard and whiteboards, some with full-blown art. My biggest initial challenges were:

  • navigating the building
  • finding good places for lunch
  • remembering to bring my badge in every day

My second week became more interesting as I met my team and started to get into the groove of my internship (all while having to dodge countless Nerf darts). Our team kept a close relationship and there were countless times that we would go to lunch to celebrate a big release or take a break from work to go play some ping-pong.

I really enjoyed the work I accomplished during my internship, but it all started with baby-steps: getting familiar with our code base and team processes. My team followed a pretty close SCRUM process throughout my internship. Along with this, we also exhibited a lot of the same patterns and practices I learned in my college courses. This was a refreshing experience for me, reinforcing that my learnings from college were directly reflected in the industry.

Mentoring and Support

I quickly realized how patient and welcoming folks here are towards everyone, not just the interns. Many times I found myself reaching out to developers in other departments, and attending a lot of Constant Contact related events. Everyone I encountered was always open to teaching me something new, willing to show me around the office, and often excited to share what they were working on, just to give me some more exposure to the company. I have never met a larger network of people all willing to invite me into their work day and knowledge share with me.

My appreciation grew fonder for the culture at Constant Contact as I began to meet other members from different teams and work on projects that were across platforms. This provided opportunities for me to make lasting professional connections with many folks along the way. , I learned about other roles and the objectives of various teams at CTCT, gaining a larger scope of knowledge to capture and carry with me through my education.

I was  always welcome to contribute to technical conversations, meetings, and team decisions. Inviting an intern or a new hire into the culture is not only beneficial to the individual but to the team, and more so the company itself. The business benefits by bringing on newbies and injecting their perspective into the company culture. The intern program has strong mutual benefits so it’s no surprise that everyone welcomes you to the business!

The Small-Business Connection

Once the WOW-factor of the Constant Contact culture wore down a bit (it actually never fully did), I focused my energy toward working on the product. I worked on a team that handled most of the components for the actual email editing tool (shout-out to Galileo!). After working on several initiatives that ensured a better experience for our customers, it was easy for me to start realizing how impactful my work was for the lives of small business owners.

I’ve never seen a company more excited to work closely along side their customers than Constant Contact. My internship started near the time when we had our company kick-off event. During the event, a few of our small-business owning customers came out on stage and the whole crowd (myself included) roared with appreciation and gratitude for having them as customers. This is the stuff we get excited for, seeing people happy to use our product. What makes me more excited is knowing that , even as an intern, I have the ability to reach out to these customers and make a difference in their experience.

I participated in a customer visit during my internship. All employees are encouraged to reach out to a local CTCT customer and meet with them to get their feedback on our product. It is an awesome experience for developers coding product features to actually interact with the end-user. From my visit, I’ve become more aware of challenges facing small businesses, and I have a intent to work at a place like Constant Contact where you can get inspired by seeing the impact your work has on users. CTCT hosts various other small-business events where anyone in the company can attend and get a chance to talk to customers, help out with sales calls, or send thank you notes.

A Lasting Impact

My team, and CTCT generally, made me feel like a true developer working on the same goals and initiatives they were. I never once felt like “the intern”. This internship gave me inspiration and confidence to work on challenging tasks, pushing me to become a better developer. I learned new technologies, skills and professional practices, and I also made many lasting connections along the way. I really feel I’m on the right path with my career and education and I am so thankful for this wonderful opportunity.

Passing it Forward

There are so many areas to grow, learn and expand your knowledge as a developer at CTCT. I encourage everyone who is coming new to this company to really seek out all possible opportunities. Attend all the company and team events that you can and make connections with whoever you encounter. Also, don’t be skeptical to dive right in and start working if that fancies you. My final and best advice I can loan to a fellow Constant Contact newcomer would be to ask questions and meet people! There are no boundaries to what you can set your mind to and work on — and if you find that there are, wait to chase your goals at the CTCT InnoJam Hackathon. Overall, this experience was very rewarding and valuable for my education and I wish the best of luck for those who follow me!

 

-Kayla Nussbaum

Software Engineer, RIT ‘19

Leave a Comment