My Rainforest Internship: The Jungle of QA, Customers, and Startup Life
This summer, Rainforest QA introduced an internship program in their SF office. In this post, customer success management intern Sriya Maram shares what she learned in her summer at Rainforest.
At the beginning of this year, I had quite a different idea of how the summer of 2016 would look. I never expected to be spending it in the world of QA, but I'm so incredibly glad I did. As a Customer Success Management intern at Rainforest QA, I learned so much about customer success, different roles at the company, and startup life and culture. Today, I want to share the biggest takeaways from my internship:
1. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
Each company has its unique way of running. Although it may be different from what you are used to, be flexible and come in with an open mind. This was my first experience at a startup. For the first couple of days, I was really nervous about talking to people outside of my team. But once I started to talk to people, I learned that everyone was only a Slack message away.
For my customer research project, I set up and got on calls with actual customers who use our product. Although I was terrified at first, I learned how to conduct a call well with the help of my managers, and the feedback from the calls was so useful. I had to break out of my own comfort zone and not be afraid to ask others for what I need. Everyone was super nice and willing to help me out! I would not have been able to accomplish even half as much if I was still too scared to ask.
2. Balancing Work and Culture is Important
Rainforest QA cares about its culture -- and that is apparent every single day. The three values -- No BS, Always Be Caring, and Be Passionately Weird -- are exemplified by every employee, and they contribute to Rainforest being a workplace where you want to come to work every day. It was amazing being in a place where you could not only be productive with your coworkers, but also jam out together on Rock Band afterwards.
Rainforest QA also has many remote employees, and it was great meeting them all during onsite week - an all-hands-on-deck week dedicated to integrating the remote and SF employees, updating the company on team accomplishments and goals, and spending time together doing fun activities throughout SF!
3. Find a Way to Make an Impact
The biggest thing Rainforest QA has gave me this summer was an incredible amount of opportunity. Since I got so much from this internship, my main goal was to give back something of value for the company. I was extremely interested in the customers of Rainforest QA so I developed a project to gather customer stories and create profiles of successful customers. It seemed crazy to take on a large project having little experience, but I was encouraged by my managers and mentors at the company who never left me feeling like I could not do it. Let yourself dream big and make your impact.
4. Learn, Learn, Learn!
Throughout the summer, all of the Rainforest interns got to participate in a series of learning discussions where we got to learn about almost every team in the company. From learning how to coding a slackbot to learning about how Salesforce works, it was great to learn about the other roles at the company. Cross-functional communication is essential, and learning what other teams and people are doing not only helped me understand what they do everyday but also gave me a better idea of how to work with them overall.
Being surrounded by incredibly smart and accomplished people, I was constantly learning from not only the other employees but also my fellow interns. Go sit in on any meetings that sound interesting to you, or ask someone for a quick chat. Every person at Rainforest QA has much knowledge to pass on so take advantage of your surroundings and learn as much as you can.