Benjamin Polstra

Hometown

Noblesville, Indiana

Degree programs

B.S., Information Technology

Year of graduation

2016

Place of employment

GEICO, Chevy Chase, Maryland

Job Title

GEICO summer intern

Work Responsibilities

I worked on a significant information technology (IT) business project—bigger than any project I have ever worked on before, and to complete it, I had to learn different tools and concepts along the way. I used my information technology skills on individual assignments and team projects, attended meetings and gave presentations. I was able to reach out to and receive mentoring from my team members and members of the IT management team. By the end of the summer, I had become a better developer with increased confidence that came from handling a project of this size. I also learned how an insurance company runs and how they practice customer service.

How my career relates to my degree from RIT/NTID

Taking courses that taught the fundamental and advanced level of object-oriented programming, such as Java or C#, was valuable. The courses I took that teach client and server programming were necessary as well. The software design, principles and patterns, organizational behavior and apps development practices courses all were greatly helpful in my summer responsibilities. Finally, taking on a leadership role gave me experience in how to work with a team, which was very good because all teams of GEICO are deeply dependent on each other. And I have learned that no matter where you work, asking a lot of questions is a must-have skill. I think my degree will open doors to many opportunities. The coursework associated with it has prepared the fundamental bedrock, which I can use to demonstrate how much I know about the IT field and how confidently I can work with new concepts and ideas. GEICO is the manifestation of how I've been preparing myself; it has been changing, abandoning the old traditions and embracing the new ideas. The company has expanded its IT department rapidly to enable their growth spurt. That's exactly how I see myself—growing rapidly to become not only a better IT person, but a more accomplished software developer.

Advice

Don’t just work hard; play with what you like to do. Are you majoring in photography? Play around with a camera. Are you majoring in computer science? Play around with a computer. Share with your friends and find mentors who can help you grow. You shouldn't be discouraged by a challenge. Just try hard and when you are successful, you will end up enjoying your success a lot more. Don't think about grades so much because you will already excel at what you do, if you enjoy whatever you are doing.

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