This summer was an especially special one for PokitDok. Five interns joined our offices in Charleston and San Mateo - ready for a deep dive into health tech. We asked our fair squirrels a few questions about their time with us, specifically relating to their experience, what they learned and their next steps. Introducing….the PokitDok Interns.
Q: How was it working on technology instead of learning about it through academia?
Ty Tanner: Working with technology rather than just learning about it through academia has shown me that problem solving and critical thinking are the most important traits to improve upon. When first presented with a seemingly difficult problem or error it can be overwhelming. Where should I start? What are some resources I could use to solve this problem better and more efficiently? Taking a step back and analyzing the situation seems to be the most effective way to handle challenging problems. Having experienced coworkers who have faced many of the same issues is also a huge plus, as they can share how they handled a similar problem.
Riley Forester: It was completely different. I feel like I have learned more in my 3 months at PokitDok than I have in my entire college career. I’m a math major and haven’t done much with computers in my previous jobs, but working here I became extremely tech-savvy and proficient in Excel.
Carter Wooten: I enjoyed it as much if not more than learning through academia. Academics can be great to nail down general concepts and ideas that will overall make you a better learner and developer. I don’t think, though, that you can truly begin to understand the ins and outs of designing and building software until you get your hands on some actual code.
Alex Giarrocco: It was very different. There are points stressed over and over again in class that don’t quite make sense until you’ve collaborated with others on a project. For example: writing explicit comments and tests for code coverage - I don’t think I understood the importance and value of these basics until working here on PokitDok’s platform.
Grant Stewart: It was great having an internship that had a consistent emphasis on using technology efficiently. Considering the healthcare industry and all industries in general are switching to technological platforms, I think it is extremely appropriate to be working with technology, on a deadline, knowing your skills will have to get the job done. In comparison to my academic learning, this experience has been much more hands-on. I’ve learned a lot more by doing and communicating with other team members, instead of sitting around being told what is acceptable to learn.
Q: How did this internship change your perception or decisions moving forward with your career?
TT: This internship helped me confirm that I certainly want to continue my education into graduate school after I get my bachelor’s degree and before I enter the field full time. The saying “knowledge is power” is certainly no fallacy, and I plan to use it to my advantage.
RF: I was unsure what I wanted to do with my degree before; I am now positive that I want to get into the software industry. I am invigorated by the constant change and I love learning about computers. I feel an even greater push towards software because I am a female. I like to be challenged and I feel like thriving in a field that is male-dominated is a challenge.
AG: It has affirmed my admiration of software and tech. I knew very little about the benefits of a standard workflow or how team-oriented software development worked. A career in this industry is one I would really enjoy. There’s a lot I want to learn before I hop on the software train. But for now I’m ready to make the most out of my classes next semester while taking on side projects that interest me.
GS: Honestly, going into this internship, I had no idea where I was going with my academic studies or what careers I was going to pursue. I wanted to experience life at a startup in Silicon Valley, witness the culture and morale first-hand, learn more about healthcare/health tech, and understand what it is like to work for different teams within a company. Luckily, I was able to fulfill those opportunities at PokitDok to the best of my abilities. In terms of switching my perceptions, I learned very quickly that there are many problems within the healthcare industry. Hospital customer service is lackluster, doctors are heavily disappointed with their mainstream Electronic Health Records, and a large segment of the population has difficulties scheduling appointments and recognizing out-of-pocket costs. I learned that it is important to recognize the issues at hand and be part of a team that can effectively correct those issues to help all involved in healthcare. After completing this internship, I wouldn’t mind working in the healthcare or the tech sector.
Q: How was it working at PokitDok and would you work here again as well as recommend it to someone?
TT: Working at PokitDok has been an incredible learning experience. The work environment is a perfect mix between hard work and fun. I NEVER dreaded coming into work because I knew that every day I would leave having learned something valuable to my education (and having a kitchen stocked with food is pretty awesome too). I would 100% work at PokitDok again given the opportunity to do so and I would absolutely recommend that others work here, if given the chance.
RF: I loved working at PokitDok. I am sad to go. It was so cool to see that I could make a difference in the company in the short amount of time I worked here. I thought I would be doing tedious, irrelevant projects but instead they gave me projects where my research was helpful and meaningful. I even worked on projects assigned by the CEO herself. It made me feel important and like I was actually part of the team instead of an outsider looking in. I was surrounded by extremely intelligent people that challenged me to do better and my boss took a lot of time to make sure I understood the intricacies of the industry. I would work here again in a heartbeat and would recommend it to anyone trying to get into health tech.
CW: I thoroughly enjoyed my time at PokitDok. Everyone couldn’t have been nicer. With Slack being ingrained into PokitDok’s communication layer, I was never far from learning what was going on elsewhere in the company or finding multiple people willing to help with any issues that I ran into. I would highly recommend it to any future prospective interns/employees and would definitely work here again given the opportunity.
AG: I think culture is a huge thing here. Everyone is smart and busy, but always willing to point you in the right direction. There are a lot of really awesome people here at PokitDok. I’ve had the opportunity to ask a few of them for help, repeatedly, haha. I usually get the answer I’m looking for, but when I don’t there’s always someone else. It’s clear the knowledge base here is vast. I would work here again, in a heartbeat, and recommend it to anyone with a passion for software or healthcare (or both).
GS: Working at PokitDok was a great experience. The team at PokitDok Headquarters was very welcoming and eager to help me learn about all facets within the healthcare industry. The way the company communicates on Slack worked very well and I had all of my questions answered. I never felt left out and truly felt I was part of a team that is getting behind the concept of improving healthcare for everyone. I would definitely work here again if I had the opportunity, and would recommend the company to any of my friends or acquaintances who are looking for a fun, informative job.
Q: What advice do you have for other prospective college interns?
TT: If you are presented with the opportunity to intern at PokitDok, it would be a mistake to not capitalize on it. Being surrounded by smart, hard-working, and friendly people can only lead to intellectual growth within your field and in your professional life. Never be afraid to ask a question because PokitDok is a team, and everyone only wants to better their coworkers. Treat every day at PokitDok as an opportunity to learn and grow; come into work ready to take advantage of being around a group of bright, passionate individuals.
RF: I would tell other prospective interns to always ask questions. There is a lot to learn and it can be a bit intimidating at times. However, you are surrounded by intelligent people that are more than willing to help! Oh, and never leave your laptop unlocked! 😉
CW: The best advice I can think to give to future interns would be to follow your passions and make sure you like the people you’re going to work with. If you have something you wish to pursue, find internships that are close to that technology or idea. As for the people you work with, you’re going to be spending roughly eight to nine hours a day with your coworkers so I would highly recommend getting along with them. I know that those are broad recommendations but I think PokitDok has some of the best people in the Charleston area and works with about every technology under the sun. PokitDok should be on the top of any student’s list when they are looking for internships.
AG: Complete your resumé and gun for an internship. I believe the “experience” you gain from an internship is a lot more than just a stepping stone to the the next job. You get a feel for the direction you want to go next, regardless of whether you liked what you did. But to get one, you need a resumé. Make one.
GS: In general, be motivated to learn and engage in every opportunity that is given to you. Understand that each opportunity is an opportunity to step out of your comfort zone, evaluate your skills, and internalize your commitment. Knowing what skills you possess can help you fit into a team environment and find ways to help a company succeed. If you are going into the healthcare technology environment, understand that what you are learning is very important. The quality of healthcare is universal, not just an on-demand issue. What is being completed at this company will change healthcare drastically, and for the better. Understand what is being created, how healthcare is being revolutionized, and how it can affect you personally as a patient.