Rocket: The Next Generation
Most of us still remember how hard it was to get our first job. How can I get a job with no experience? What will make me stand out from my peers? How do I know which job is the right one for me?
I remember that uncertainty very well, which is why I’m excited that Rocket now has a growing internship program to help college students begin their careers and explore their options even before they graduate. This year we have 47 interns throughout the company, including 24 in our corporate headquarters. And I’m proud to say that we have an intern cohort in our Austin office, which has been open for less than two months!
On June 14 we held our third annual Intern/Executive barbeque dinner. This is an opportunity for our interns to meet our executive team and for our executive team to meet our interns. But Rocket being Rocket, we added our own unique twist to the evening: we set up a bunch of musical instruments, amplifiers, and microphones in our Executive Briefing Center and invited the interns to join with more than 100 other Rocketeers to be part of a music festival. At first, many of the interns were a bit apprehensive, but after a few minutes they were picking up guitars and microphones and joining in! The highlight of the night was the entire intern group coming on stage and singing Tom Petty’s Free Fallin’ together.
Technical skills are important, but it’s easy to overlook the importance of culture. That’s what was on my mind when I decided to create an evening of music. We could have hosted a typical meet-and-greet evening. But we didn’t, and the results were amazing. I went home that night feeling really good about Rocket – and about our interns. I had a similar feeling last year after I received this note from one of our 2015 summer interns (and now a full-time Rocketeer):
“As I was reflecting on all of the friends and co-workers I met this summer, I realized Rocket was full of great people. Everyone I met was truly kind and willing to help. The fact that the company was made up of these types of people could not have been accidental. You can hire great people and teach them to be great engineers, but the reverse is far harder. I'm not quite sure how you did it, but Rocket hired a group of interns that were genuine and with whom it was a pleasure to work and interact. I think my summer would not have been as wonderful as it was if your hiring decision focused on which candidate had greater programming ability. This summer was a fantastic opportunity. I enjoyed every week and learned about more than I ever thought I would, but the pinnacle of the summer was the people I met. Thank you for everything you gave to the intern program and for Rocket's focus on hiring great people. Please keep it up.”
Rocket is a unique place made up of unique people. To see our interns meet and collaborate so effortlessly – in the context of their “day job” or with music – with people they don’t even know is a real testament to our culture at Rocket.
I look forward to seeing all of the interns back next year…as full-time Rocketeers and members of The Rocket Band.
Andrew J. Youniss
President and CEO, Rocket Software, Inc.