When it comes to choosing a career, Alexis Fink puts the emphasis on people first.
Growing up in the suburbs of Carmel, Ind., did not mean that Alexis was automatically going to choose Indiana as a home after graduation. Her computer science degree from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology would position her to work in our country’s fastest-growing tech companies, many of which were present at the career fairs she attended.
That’s where she met members of TechPoint’s talent team and first learned about Xtern, a 10-week summer internship program for tech-skilled college students. “When I first heard about it, I thought it was like an internship ‘plus.’ Xtern provided a work experience from 9 to 5, and afterwards you had all these activities to help get engaged with your fellow Xterns and the Indy community,” said Alexis. She liked the unique opportunity of living and working alongside her computer science peers, so she decided to apply and give it a shot.
Alexis was chosen to be part of the Xtern Class of 2015, where she worked for DeveloperTown and learned valuable skills in Ruby on Rails, iOS development, and how to work with a team.
“Xtern gave me real world job experience along with the ability to learn this new technology I hadn’t worked in before. At Rose-Hulman, we learned and implemented our tech knowledge into projects that simulated real world experiences. Alumni would create projects that would take a year to complete, and that opportunity was a really cool experience. School is one thing when you work with people your own age and you know them fairly well, but being out in the real world with people of different ages during Xtern was different and new,” said Alexis.
Alexis’ new experiences did not end after clocking out every day. She took full advantage of the social events and professional development opportunities provided by Xtern, which gave her a different outlook on the community she grew up in. “I lived downtown while participating in Xtern, which allowed me to re-do my impression of downtown Indy compared to the Indy I saw as a kid. It has changed so much, and there are far more options of things to do.”
Living downtown and spending time with her Xtern colleagues ultimately led Alexis to think about choosing Indianapolis for her tech career. “If I wasn’t part of Xtern, I’d have a job but I wouldn’t have a network of likeminded people who were experiencing and producing the same things I was at my job. Xtern gave me a community of people that worked hard and had fun, and it helped me to stay motivated throughout the summer,” said Alexis.
After completing the Xtern program, Alexis decided to apply for the inaugural Indy Tech Fellowship, which launched in August. The two-year program is geared toward new graduates, crafted to place developers, designers and product managers with leading companies where they can hone their skills, fast-track their careers and impact our community. Alexis is currently working at PAN – Performance Assessment Network, an education and HR technology company located in Indianapolis, as a software development engineer.
“I had so much fun in Xtern, and the Indy Tech Fellowship allowed me to relive those memories. When I heard about it, I was 100 percent all in. My friends have gone on to other cities where they don’t know a lot of people, or they travel a lot, but with the Indy Tech Fellowship you have all these other people who have recently moved here and are all going through similar things.
For me, if I found a job I really liked or people I enjoyed being around, that’s where I would stay. My job search was never about the location, it was about who was there. You can always find cool things in small areas, but it was a perk that I know now the area I’m currently working in after college,” said Alexis.