I fell into the field of web design by accident at a previous internship. I was working for a small business with virtually no web presence. Realizing this was a major problem if the business wanted to remain a strong competitor in the increasingly globalized marketplace of the 21st century, the company did what any organization in their position would do.
They bought a Dreamweaver license and let their 19-year-old intern have free reign.
All kidding aside, I spent the summer teaching myself both Dreamweaver and Photoshop, as well as basic HTML and CSS coding. Come August, they were happy with the results of my project, and I had a new hobby. As a communications and English major, I didn’t really expect to use this particular skill set during the work day. I had taken an elective course in digital media production at school, but it was more for my own enjoyment than for professional development. However, when I saw a digital marketing strategy opportunity at UPMC, I seized it.
I find my work intellectually fulfilling because it is crucial for me to be well-rounded. I need to think strategically in order to plan a website in the most effective and logical way possible and result in a positive user experience. At the same time, I need to be creative in order to make the site visually appealing and appropriately convey the image and message of the overall UPMC brand and the individual organization which I am representing.
Having never worked for an organization as large as UPMC before, I had no idea that there could be so many individuals involved in the creation of a website before the summer associates program began. I have had the opportunity to shadow everyone in the digital marketing department, from social media specialists to graphic designers, and software engineers to web content editors. Everyone has been more than willing to take time out of their busy schedules to talk to me about what they do, how they got to where they are today, and even let me help them with major projects to test drive that career path for myself. I have discovered some interests that I didn’t even know I had, and identified some areas in which I have little to no interest. What stands out most across the board is how much everyone genuinely cares about the quality of the work they do and each other. This teamwork mentality and upbeat office environment will remain priorities for me no matter where my career takes me.
My experience as an e-Strategy Summer Associate has challenged me to expand my knowledge base, and consequently, lead me to consider career pathways that I didn’t even know existed. With the rapid speed at which technology and media develops, I can’t say for sure what I will be doing five or ten years from now. For now, I am happy with where I am and grateful to UPMC for helping me get here.
By Julia Saunders, Digital Marketing/E-Strategy Summer Associate