By: Lexie Newhouse
Photos by: Deniece Griffin
Leilani Jones, a current Marketing student at Georgia State, sat down with the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute to share her experiences as a Marketing Intern at DigitalCrafts through Invest Atlanta’s Students2Startups program.
“The startup culture is fundamentally different from corporate with things like their relaxed dress code and non-cubical-style working. I also feel that startups are more accepting when it comes to the learning curve. As long as you’re able to adapt and learn quickly, you’ll be fine.”
– Leilani Jones
How did you first hear about Students2Startups?
I was scrolling through Twitter and I saw that Mayor Lance Bottoms retweeted Invest Atlanta’s post about the Student2Startups program. I read up on the program and decided to apply. With my corporate background, I was eager to try something new like the startup environment.
What startup do you work for?
This summer, interned with DigitalCrafts a coding bootcamp based in Atlanta. They bring together beginner coders and people trying to transition to the tech field to teach them various coding languages like Java Script, and Python. The bootcamp is held in person at Atlanta Tech Village, one of the largest tech incubators in the south. DigitalCrafts also has a location in Houston.
Who founded DigitalCrafts?
Jake Hadden and Max McChesney co-founded DigitalCrafts. They went to school together and have been best friends ever since. Especially being in the Atlanta office, they’re extremely present and involved with the students.
What is the program’s target audience?
DigitalCrafts’ starting age is 17 years old, so we essentially go from high school and beyond. On average, it’s people between 34 and 40 years old. I appreciate the diversity of having a variety of different people, different ages, different ethnicities, different everything!
How is a bootcamp different from a traditional school?
DigitalCrafts is an intensive program that lasts four months. Every day from 9 to 4, you’re working. Then you put in overtime on top of that to stay late and ask questions. Whereas in a typical school semester you have breaks or lulls between assignment deadlines and exams, this bootcamp constantly has projects and assignments. There’s no waiting or procrastinating. You really have to stay focused on whatever task is at hand.
What is the DigitalCrafts application process like?
Applicants go through an interview process so that we can learn about their prior coding experiences and levels. Before they are actually accepted into the program, they participate in “Code Challenge.” Here they attempt to solve five primary coding languages. Through this process, we can better gauge their coding knowledge and background.
What role do you play as an intern on the marketing team?
As the only intern, I worked on a marketing project called “Student Stories.” The goal was to interview DigitalCrafts alumni to capture their experiences during the program. Basically, I wrote all the interview questions, contacted the alumni, and then invited them to Atlanta Tech Village to video record their responses. After editing the clips, I sent it over to my manager to prep it for our social media channels.
What do you like about working with a startup?
Coming into this internship, I only had previous experience working in large corporations. The startup culture is fundamentally different from corporate with things like their relaxed dress code and non-cubical-style working. I also feel that startups are more accepting when it comes to the learning curve. As long as you’re able to adapt and learn quickly, you’ll be fine. That’s not necessarily the case with corporate when you’re expected to know everything coming in. You’ll work with so many different elements of the business versus being limited to one department, so it’s also important to be well-rounded when working for a startup.
Do you prefer the corporate or startup lifestyle?
I definitely enjoy working with startups because you’re able to unleash your creativity. Working in Atlanta Tech Village provides a diverse mix of companies doing different projects. It’s a great opportunity to network with new people. Plus, it’s such a friendly and social environment!
Do you have ambitions to start your own business one day?
I do want to start my own business. I’m not the person to just work for someone else my entire life. I was thinking something that combines tech and fashion for women, especially since women aren’t dominant in the tech community.
What does entrepreneurship mean to you?
Entrepreneurship means being able to take risks while creating value in your community. Sure, there’s a business aspect to it of earning a profit, but you also have to show that you care about your community and that your business is going to have a positive impact.