The Tech Experience That Helped Me Grow
Monday, February 11, 2019
Posted by: Kaylin Berg
By: Jessica Criollo, former ITA Intern
If somebody told me I was going to be working in the tech industry in the future, I probably would have just laughed it off. Little did I know I was about to embark myself in an internship that would change my whole perspective about this.
My tech industry experience started off at Illinois Technology Association (ITA) and I couldn’t be any happier. I had some knowledge on what the tech industry revolved around, but I knew for a fact I still needed to become more familiar with it. Let me start off by saying that my team played a primary role for such a great learning experience! They were so open to answering my questions and were willing to provide any extra insight on what they knew about the industry themselves. They definitely made learning about a new industry easy and fun.
My days at ITA consisted of collecting data for their Women Influence Chicago initiative, managing all of their social media platforms, and developing ideas for their student philanthropy. However, the project I enjoyed the most was launching their Instagram page. This project allowed me to be creative, while still addressing ITA’s goal of reaching a younger demographic. I was a little worried if we were going to see any engagement but I quickly realized that I shouldn’t have. Not only did the awareness of ITA’s events increase because of this platform, but their audience was able to get a feel of their work environment and the city they thrived in. It was really neat to see people start learning more about what ITA did!
Although the Women Influence Chicago initiative project consisted of a lot of collecting data, I also enjoyed it a lot! ITA’s Women Influence Chicago initiative aims to increase the number of women that are working in the tech industry. When I started collecting data on the amount of women that are in the tech industry in Chicago, I quickly noticed that there were very few! I knew for a fact that there were many capable and talented women who could be part of the tech industry, but there were rarely any holding roles in the industry. Even though I wasn’t directly addressing this issue in the tech industry, I was helping demonstrate that there should be more inclusivity. This project allowed me to work towards something I was very passionate about, which I loved.
The projects I worked on while I was at ITA helped me expand my knowledge on the tech industry, but the events I went to also played a HUGE role. The events I am referring to is ITA’s IoT Summit Chicago and Dare Mighty Things. Chicago professionals in the tech industry were able to provide a lot of insight on what the tech industry is working on right now and how people feel about it. Not only that, but it just allowed me to see how much dedication these professionals have in this field. It was truly inspiring.
After working on these projects and going to these events, I knew I wanted to further explore the tech industry when I started my career. However, as a public relations and advertising major, I didn’t know if that would be possible. Little did I know Walker Sands Communications was a public relations agency that focused on the tech industry. What luck right? It turned out they were also one of ITA’s member companies! My supervisor and I spoke about my interest in learning more about Walker Sands Communications and before I knew it, she had set up a job shadow opportunity at their office. With the knowledge ITA had provided me during my internship, I was able to understand what the staff was talking about during my job shadow. Not only that, but I also had the background knowledge of the tech companies that existed in Chicago, which are actually some of ITA’s member companies.
With my internship coming to an end, I couldn’t thank ITA enough. I learned so much, worked with an amazing team, and was able to gain so much insight on the tech industry. I am so happy to say that because of ITA, I am now a PR intern at Walker Sands Communications. The knowledge and experience ITA provided me has helped me tremendously in my internship so far and I couldn’t be any more grateful.
ITA truly aims to help and make a difference with the people they interact with. Either it be their staff, interns, members, or friends around them, they will make sure you succeed. They will connect, educate and provide you with the resources you need to scale yourself or your business. With great respect and pride, I can honestly say, ITA will elevate the local tech community and make Illinois the place for tech companies to thrive. I can’t wait to see what they do in the future!