As her software engineering internship wrapped up in the summer of 2021, Megan knew Fortra was where she wanted to be. The ace programmer joined Fortra full time as an associate software engineer that fall and quickly moved into a software engineer I role. Megan has enjoyed the open, supportive culture she knows will help her advance in her career.
How did you learn about Fortra, and what was your first position?
I reached out to my professor Char Parker, whom I’d kept in touch with from college. She was great about helping students link up with businesses looking for employees. She put me in touch with Tim Woodfield, who was seeking fresh IBM talent for Fortra core products. I started as a software engineer intern in May 2021.
What was your first week like?
It was a little intimidating, but at the same time super exciting. It was my first real corporate experience. As soon as I started meeting people and getting acclimated, I had the best welcome. When you step into a new world, the people really matter. Everybody at Fortra was nice and understanding and ready to answer questions. I was immediately paired up with a mentor, Marie Stangl. I couldn’t have asked for a better person to be a mentor because she’s very knowledgeable and helpful.
What type of tasks did you have to complete?
At first, they went easy on me! As an intern, you can get overwhelmed because you're learning so much. They did a good job of giving me little bits at a time, and it reduced the pressure. I started with creating a customer setup report for the support team. My mentor helped me understand why it was important and how it would make a difference. I built the report using the RPG language I’d learned in school. It was a really good way to get started because I was comfortable, and I worked my way up from there.
What has your journey at Fortra been like?
It sounds corny, but it’s been a dream come true. I spent all summer during my internship doing reports, and then at the end of it, I didn’t want to leave. Going from an intern to getting hired as an associate software engineer was very exciting. I recently became scrum master certified, and I was also promoted to software engineer I. I’ve been working on the Robot HA product, but I'm moving to Powertech Encryption soon. I'm excited to learn something new, and there is ample opportunity for that here. My entire journey has been filled with growth, and I know there is much more ahead!
What have you learned since your first day here?
Real success comes when the whole team is successful. In college, you're doing your own thing. Here, you’re part of a unit. I’m not successful unless everyone around me is successful. We’re all in this together.
Try new things. Put yourself out there and go for the things that scare you. Really good things come from pushing yourself outside your boundaries. This has definitely given me a lot of opportunities.
You don't have to be perfect. Just let the perfectionism go a little bit. If you fail, it's a-okay. Everybody here is ready to pick you up and help you keep going. If you don't know something, that's an opportunity to learn and grow.
What was your favorite project?
Working on Robot HA 13.04, which was focused on improving our apply performance. I got to watch everybody who had been here for 20 years—people who I aspire to be like—go through a software release. Experiencing for the first time, the whole lifecycle of a software release, watching everyone in action, was so inspiring for me. I was hearing them talk every day about all these intense things I was still learning. By the end of that release, I really understood all those things. Watching the team working together and solving tough problems taught me so much.
What in the Fortra structure has helped you get to where you are?
As a company, Fortra is great about having somebody start as an intern and giving them room to grow. All the tools are laid out, you just have to pick them up and run with them. Management has been very supportive, saying let us know what you need, and we'll help you get there.
What does your day to day look like now?
It depends on the day. I spend a lot of time coding, programming, and in meetings. I think the best part though is collaborating with the team. I’ve been remote since I started but am looking forward to meeting everyone in person soon.
What's your favorite part of your work?
The teamwork. Sometimes in this industry people can be very isolated and don't mind it. I love programming, but I also didn’t want to just sit in a corner and not talk to people all day. I love that every day I get to program and do what I like, but I also get to work with a team.
How do you think your internship prepared you for a career at Fortra?
It really solidified why soft skills are so important. You could be the best programmer in the world, but if you can’t communicate with others, it’s going to be tough.
What in the Fortra culture stood out to you as an intern and as you continue today?
The culture here is amazing. It’s what everybody wants and strives for, and we really do meet that high expectation. Fortra arranged an employee education session on “gray area thinking” last summer, and it was a really good experience. I've never been at a place that cared about inclusivity or made that kind of effort to help others. We're not just saying it, we're doing real things to make that happen.