The Value of Internship Opportunities for College Students

By: Louis Fagelson

“Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.” Before my time with Platypi, I felt a strong desire to refine my professional abilities. Birmingham-Southern College has done an incomparable job at presenting me with opportunities to help further my career. I have been afforded the opportunity to participate in several internships during my time at BSC, and thus far my experience with Platypi has been exceptional. The business department at Birmingham-Southern has engrained multiple applicable characteristics of a successful individual. It has provided a sense of desire and confidence that is necessary when creating connections, and the ability to promote yourself and demonstrate the extent of the value you can bring to the company. As a business major, I am exposed to a wide variety of interesting people that come and talk about their lives and experiences to our class. A huge factor in my success with finding relevant internships is making a formal introduction to the people that come and speak. One such individual is Dewar Gaines, the business development manager for Platypi.

Platypi was founded by three former Microsoft employees (Matt Landers, Will Johnston and Matt Morgan) who recognized a need in the emerging tech market for cross-platform application development and thus designed a platform using the Microsoft language TypeScript to solve the market’s need. Established in Birmingham, AL and housed in Innovation Depot, Platypi has quickly become one of the most recognizable names in Birmingham when referring to technology. Platypi isn’t simply building apps and websites, but has evolved into a one-stop shop for all things digital. Their services range from design to SEO/SEM, even social media marketing. And now, I feel like I am learning from some of the best in the business.

I have been interested in digital marketing, coding, software development, hardware development for quite some time, but I lacked the knowledge of how to enter any of those fields on my own. Once I learned how to utilize my strengths and unique talents, I was able to find an opportunity to get involved in the domains that interested me. I found Innovation Depot has provided the Birmingham community with an array of opportunities to get involved with the exciting projects taking place behind their doors, embracing the community with open arms. My job has involved doing just that. I am in charge of communicating Platypi’s capabilities to the Birmingham community via social media marketing. My responsibilities include handling multiple social media platforms, increasing Platypi’s Google score, blogging, and writing press releases about the company’s success. My hope is that mixing promotional content along with humorous, light-hearted posts give our followers an image of the direction the company is going. Our social media pages keep followers up to date with everything Platypi, our coding classes with Depot/u, and the tech scene in Birmingham. I have had the opportunity to help out some of the leaders in tech innovation in Birmingham.

The tools that I have acquired through my internship with Platypi are all relevant to today’s job market. I have gained some beginner coding experience, learned to blog, and have been taught the crucial element of bringing value to a company. Everyone I have met on the job has been more than happy to help steer me in the right direction. The work environment is an engaging and interactive stadium covered with whiteboard walls and forward-thinking people. Networking is an important part of being involved in the software industry and creating new contacts happens almost every time I enter the building. Incubators such as Innovation Depot are pushing the job market forward and developing talents for a diverse group of Birmingham residents. Marketing teams work with app and website developers to find the most effective way to endorse the company. Coders are devising online courses that help beginners make their initial splash into the development world. Every person is used effectively in their specialized field. It is interesting to see how Platypi molds each employee to maximize their talents in their unique field. App developers help create the curriculum for courses that Depot/u offers, which teach new coders how to take their coding game to the next level.

All in all, the abilities I have picked up at Platypi have been unmatched by any previous experience. Birmingham-Southern has contributed enormously to my success at the workplace. The professors in the business and internship departments have been excited to reach out and do whatever they can to help keep me on track. The members at Platypi have been welcoming and took me under their wing to help me build my future. The efficiency of my work has become substantially better compared to when I started. I also see the assignments I work on at Platypi transfer into my school work, which gives me an upper hand when it comes to completing tasks. I am thankful I attend a university that provides a vast variety of opportunities, and that Platypi was willing to give me a chance to make a difference.