Experiencing Cleveland: My Summer at Flashstarts

In the beginning, I had no idea what working at Flashstarts and in Cleveland was going to be like. This was my first software development internship and first time coding outside of an academic environment. I wanted to explore working with startups some more after creating my own in a startup pitch competition at my school called LaunchU.

I had an interesting experience with Cleveland, because I opted to live in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the city called Slavic Village. The streets, houses and stores are all either very rundown or abandoned. I didn’t get to know my neighbors, but my housemates were all very nice and excellent people to live with. To commute to work my roommate and fellow Flashstarts intern Marouane and I biked. It was an refreshing way to get the day started and to finish the day off.  Kayaking on Lake Erie was the highlight of my Cleveland experience. Overall I’m glad to have this experience, it gave me some perspective of different social circumstances.

Early on in this internship, one of the challenges was having to learn the wide range of technologies the different startups used. Most startups wanted web development work which was difficult for me, because I had never worked in this field before. But because this isn’t a skill offered at my college, it has ended up being a great opportunity for me. I’ve spent most of my time working with Ruby on Rails. The startups here are all at different phases technologically. This has really improved my ability to either build a program from scratch or improve on someone else’s code.

Now, with less than three weeks left in this internship, I’m glad I spent my summer here. I’ve worked on a diverse group of development projects ranging from creating a database, web development to plotting sigmoidal curves. I can say that I have become a more competent web developer, knowledgeable in some of the most commonly used technologies in the field like Ruby or Javascript.

Flashstarts has a great environment overall. In the morning there’s a large selection of coffee and fresh oatmeal. Oftentimes I’ll take ping pong breaks to refresh my mind. My favorite memories from Flashstarts would definitely be watching the World Cup with everyone else and honing my ping pong skills. Working at Flashstarts and living in Cleveland will definitely be one of my more unique summers and I’m glad to have this experience.

Kenny Wang (left in the picture above) is a Computer Science Major and Math Minor at Oberlin College. He currently works as a Software Development Intern at Flashstarts. 

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