Last summer, we kicked off our intern program at DocuSign and hired approximately 70 sharp-minded college students and young professionals across a variety of departments — from sales to marketing to IT and more. Our goal was to step outside the traditional parameters of an internship program and offer a heightened level of hands-on learning and mentorship. We had the opportunity to sit down with Betsy B., a developer intern in her freshman year of college, to hear about her experience at DocuSign, her career ambitions, and more. Below is her story.
In August, Betsy Button entered her first year at Williams College — a small, selective, liberal arts college on the east coast. Knowing this, it may seem surprising that her summer internship was not spent in humanities, but rather, in an eleven week intensive, developer internship at Docusign.
“Eric Fleischman [VP of Development Ops & Chief Architect] came to speak to the interns as part of the executive speaker series. I reached out to him to ask about his experience as an engineer coming from a small liberal arts college. He went to Colby — which is similar to Williams. Beyond snarky comments about whether White Mules or Purple Cows are superior, he gave me some surprising advice. He said he wished he had taken more advantage of the liberal arts aspect and learned more in different areas instead of just trying to take all of the computer science electives. Because I’m planning on studying computer science, this definitely helps me see the greater picture.
In fact, the internship program at DocuSign was designed to do just that: Interns would have a core focus, but were given opportunities to branch out and learn about how their respective disciplines affected the company as a whole. Whether that meant seeking advice, or even supplementary projects from other departments, the internship program encouraged continual discovery through branching out and asking questions. “I think his perspective speaks to the DocuSign spirit, as cheesy as that sounds.” Betsy said. “Be great at what you do, but also strive to understand the rest of what’s going on. People here don’t think narrowly – they’re open-minded and interested in what other people are working on, especially if it doesn’t have anything to do with their own projects.
Betsy also took initiative in asking the social media team for access to their social analytics, and was subsequently invited to go through their training and ultimately, draft a variety of posts which went on to be published across the DocuSign channels. “[It was] completely unrelated to my job, yet it shows how everything here is interconnected. DocuSign praises people who do not confine themselves to their specific role and choose to branch out, and I think that’s awesome,” said Betsy.
After graduating high school in June, Betsy’s DocuSign internship served as the perfect transition period between highschool and college. “I want to study computer science combined with some sort of social science that is yet to be determined,” said Betsy. Before beginning at Williams, her goal was to secure an internship that would allow her a platform to immerse herself in computer science, yet study the interplay between the developer world and the social world.
Betsy sought out an internship at DocuSign for the opportunity to become fully immersed in a tech environment, and to learn and network with successful people in the industry. “Everyone is smart and dedicated. I know I made the right choice in coming to DocuSign,” she said.
During her time as an intern, Betsy worked on Marie Huwe’s team. The VP of Developer Programs and Evangelism served as a mentor to Betsy, offering tactics to sharpen her work skills in addition to providing long-term career advice. “She gave me advice as a woman in tech and helped me think about my future.”
Betsy’s main project during her summer internship was to craft a competitive analysis between DocuSign and its competitors. Much of her responsibilities included reaching out to people internally and collecting information that was not readily available online. “I came into this internship with limited knowledge of coding and APIs, and didn’t know what an SDK was,” said Betsy. “Yet, so far I’ve built four integrations using API documentation and SDKs. They took a lot of time, but I learned what they were and used them to highlight the differences in the developer experience.” She went on to analyze her own experience, collecting research to fill in other metrics, interviewing developers outside the company, and learning about their “ideal developer experience” in order to prioritize DocuSign’s future developer evangelism strategy.
While the internship program at DocuSign provides a large amount of mentorship from a variety of teams, each intern was officially assigned a specific mentor. Betsy worked with Chris Sinkey, our then-director of product marketing. “Chris owns competitive analysis. His consistent dedication to detail inspired me to dig deep into my own research. I couldn’t have been as successful this summer without his advice and mentorship.”
During her time at DocuSign, Chris assigned her the project of building an integration between a third party data source and a database where information regarding competitive analysis could be stored, and drawn from to produce charts and graphs.
Encouraged by the internship program’s focus on hands-on learning and mentorship across departments, Betsy went on to seek the assistance of DocuSign developers, who offered input on the project from a technical point of view. “It was cool because I got to talk to the engineer who wrote DocuSign’s Java SDK. We had a lot of conversations throughout my internship. It’s extremely motivating that the people who wrote the programs I’m working with — even if they’re at the SVP level — are willing to talk to us, listen, and give advice,” she said. “As an intern I didn’t have any limits. I was encouraged to ask questions and take risks. I explored and learned as much as I possibly could. Hearing it was OK to take initiative and go forward showed me that my ideas were OK and good.”
As Betsy enters her second semester at Williams, she continues to develop her aspirations for the future. “I definitely want to keep working in tech. Immersion in DocuSign’s hard-working yet fun-loving culture showed me the best part of the tech world: the people. One day, I can see myself standing in the same place as my mentors from this summer. DocuSign gave me the opportunity to build irreplaceable connections and begin my career in the best imaginable light.
“My first semester at Williams has highlighted the value of my time at DocuSign. Very few of my classmates have had the opportunity to get high quality industry experience. I’m now planning on double majoring in computer science and economics to open as many doors for myself as possible. I know that I’ll be able to apply the skills I developed at DocuSign as I continue my education and keep exploring the industry.”
It was a privilege to have Betsy on-board as a summer intern, and we wish her continued success in her education and career. To learn more about becoming an intern at DocuSign, visit our careers page.