As hard as I tried and as ready as I thought I was, starting my first software development job straight out of college was still a shock to the system. Admittedly, my first month of work was probably drastically different from most people’s.

I started my career in Software Engineering just over a month ago at Indy-based tech startup Zylo. As a software-as-a-service optimization platform, Zylo is a small company with just over 20 employees. It had always been a dream of mine to work at a startup company, so when the opportunity to work at one arose, my interest was piqued.

This opportunity came through the Orr Fellowship, a two-year program designed to support and develop recent graduates in the Indianapolis area. The program provides Orr Fellows with a network of 80 peers, all of whom share a passion and drive for improving themselves and Indianapolis. Fellows participate in workshops, case events and civic engagement events throughout the Indianapolis area.

Finding my Dream Job

Fellows are matched with host companies where they work as full time employees and launch their careers. It was through the Fellowship that I first heard about Zylo, and I am so grateful that I did. Within seconds of meeting my Zylo interviewer, I was captivated by his energy and passion for the company. I honestly knew very little about software-as-a-service, but I knew that I had found my dream job. I received an offer later that night and was so eager to begin my own startup journey.

Unfortunately, the Orr Fellowship screening process takes place pretty early. It was only November and I still had 6 months of college to complete. I attended classes, led my clubs and anxiously awaited my first day of work.

My First Day

Eventually, the big day came. I was so excited and nervous that I arrived at the office downtown almost an hour early. I took a walk around Monument Circle to kill some time, but I had so much energy that only took me six minutes (and might have made me slightly dizzy). I went ahead and ventured into the Zylo offices and officially began my first day of work. It was an amazing day filled with human resources documentation, laptop configuration and team member introductions.

I began to get to know the team and that’s when the true significance of this job hit me; my career had officially begun. These are the people that I will spend 40+ hours a week with. They are the people who will be reviewing my code and helping me get it to company standards. But most importantly, they are the people who will act as my role models as I develop career habits — mostly good ones, I’m sure (wink) — that will last me a lifetime. And while that was an overwhelming realization, I couldn’t have imagined a better group of people to fill that role.

The Startup Life

Another revelation I had throughout my first week of work was the significance of working for a startup. I quickly learned that I would be directly reporting to two of my company’s Vice Presidents and within only two weeks of working, I had already had coffee with my company’s CEO, Eric Christopher. I had always imagined that life at a startup would be amazing, but the reality is turning out to be so much better than even my wildest dreams.

Life moves fast at a startup. By the end of my first week, I had already deployed code to production. Only a month later, I am treated as a fully equal team member. I attend meetings, get assigned tasks and am responsible for reviewing other people’s code. Each day is better than the last, and I am so happy and honored to be living my dream come true.

About the Author

Morgan Cook is a Software Engineer who graduated from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology May 2017. She is an Orr Fellow who recently moved to Indy and began her career at Zylo, a High Alpha portfolio company.

Read more about Morgan Cook’s startup journey and Orr Fellowship experience in this Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology story Alumna Seeking to Make a Difference as Orr Fellow. (©Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology/Bryan Cantwell)