Published: Sept. 19, 2018 By

This blog is part of a series showcasing CU Engineering students’ summer experiences in engineering: internships, research, study abroad and more.

Zayo interns at office headquartersThis summer I interned at Zayo Group, a network infrastructure company that provides fiber, cloud and colocation services to companies so they can best serve their customers.

After creating a relationship with the company through the ZAPS* scholarship program, I was accepted as a software development intern for the core team, which specializes in Salesforce development and providing “core” functionalities to optimize the company. As Salesforce is Zayo’s database, communication center and overall backbone, it is essential to keep it running and efficient for the company to function.

Coming in as a junior developer with little technical job experience, I had never seen Salesforce and its respective programming languages, Apex and Visualforce. Much of the first few weeks was spent learning to navigate the platform and develop on it. Zayo has customized the platform to such an extent that many of the functionalities in our version of Salesforce are company-specific, so I spent a lot of time shadowing other team members.

Through working with other developers and coworkers, I was able to experience one of the best parts of Zayo – its people. I was never once turned down when I asked someone to sit down with me and explain the project they are working on, show me a process, or help me with something I was stuck on. Right off the bat I was invited to have lunch with people I had just met, and intern and companywide events created a tight-knit community. I have even had opportunities to talk with executives in the company who were interested in hearing what I was up to.

This summer, I was tasked with optimizing shipping within Zayo. As it is, our warehouses have to do a lot of going back and forth between the shipping companies and Salesforce. To ship supplies, the request starts on Salesforce. Someone must then manually enter the data from Salesforce to FedEx to get the label, and then go back to Salesforce to enter the shipping information. Much of the focus for many developers at Zayo is optimizing processes like billing and the customer experience, leaving inside processes like shipping somewhat overlooked.

Eleanor Hightower at FlatironsTo solve this, another intern and I created a shipping app within Salesforce to simplify the process. All but the weight of the package is already in Salesforce, so by only requiring the warehouses to enter the weight, we can save a lot of time and limit the number of sources of potentially incorrect information entered into our databases.

Interning at Zayo has made me a better developer in both backend and frontend. Having to learn technologies like Apex and Angular on the fly has not only expanded my knowledge base but helped me learn how to approach new challenges. I am ecstatic to be continuing on part-time to continue working with this fantastic group of people and improve my skills even more.

Eleanor Hightower is a junior computer science major from Boulder.

*Zayo Achievement Program Scholars (ZAPS) is a program offered to a select few computer science majors through Zayo and The BOLD Center. In addition to financial backing, the program gives us professional development training (such as interview practice, resume reviews, etc.), a dedicated mentor to talk to about what it is like to work in industry and ask advice, and networking opportunities. This will be the second year the program is offered.

Interested in internships?

Internships and other hands-on engineering experiences can accelerate your transition into full-time employment after graduation. You also may be able to earn cash and/or course credit for your work. CU Boulder has resources to help! Check out the CU Engineering Office of Internship for more information.