Why do you believe the Ada program is good for your company?
The ability to attract outstanding tech talent is one of our greatest challenges. Ada has allowed us to do that while increasing the diversity of our workforce, making our company better and more productive overall. To quote Ed Lazowska, Chair of CSE at the UW, “Software design is inherently a creative process, and we all bring our own perspectives. If we have a diverse workforce, we will have a better product in the end.”
We’ve hired three Ada graduates full-time (Hi Galina, Elizabeth, and Bri!), have a 4th completing her internship soon (Howdy Sally!), and a 5th beginning her internship in April (Welcome Sarah!). Our software engineering organization is now 30% percent female — three times the national average.
Ada has had a huge positive impact on our work culture. We’ve made improvements in our inclusivity and hiring practices, and it’s awesome to give our male developers the opportunity to work with devs who break the mold and shatter stereotypes.
Can you describe what your intern’s first day looks like?
I start the morning off with a 1-on-1 meeting, welcoming the intern to the team, setting expectations about the internship, and explaining how we get work done. It usually takes a couple of hours and folks describe it as “drinking from the firehose.” They go to our daily stand-up meeting, and then spend the rest of the day shadowing a teammate. Also, we have lunch together as a company (EnergySavvy has free catered lunch every day, and we’re hiring!).
We have a ritual at each new teammate’s first stand-up to go around the circle and say our name, what we do, and answer one silly question that changes each time (e.g. favorite color, favorite decade of the 20th century, etc.).
By the end of the first day, the goal for the new intern is to have a sense for what they’ll be working on and how it fits into the bigger picture of the company’s mission; what we value as a team; how they’ll be measured; and how they’ll receive feedback along the way.
What has surprised you the most when taking on an Ada intern?
I’ve been amazed with the speed at which Ada interns are able to learn our codebase, tech stack and processes, and start adding value to the team.
What do you find unique about your Ada intern compared to other interns?
We’ve never had non-Ada interns so I don’t have anything to compare them to! While Ada interns do not have as much depth in computer science theory, they more than make up for in general life experience and attitude. Being accepted into Ada and making it through the classroom portion of the program sends a strong signal about a woman’s grit and her love of learning. These are characteristics that we look for in hiring here at EnergySavvy, because it’s easier to teach someone programming than it is to teach tenacity or customer-focus.