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Alec Bruns ’17

How did you explore your interests and decide on a major?

I decided on my major coming into Lake Forest College. I took AP Computer Science and everything just made sense. I knew that it was what I wanted to spend my life doing. Once at school I spent time researching internships and better ways to network and meet people in the software field. I spent many trips going to Chicago to meet people in the field for coffee to talk to them about what they do and advice for moving forward.

What were your responsibilities as an intern?

As an Intern at Hyatt, I worked with the Real Time Analytic team. They were tasked with building a Real Time Analytic platform to track, manage and process large amounts of data. Big Data is the buzzword for it. My role was to work on a small side project and to learn more about the software development process. I was tasked with building A RESTful web service that could query several of the databases they were using and return them in a human readable JSON format. By the end of the internship I was able to complete the project!

What was the most rewarding part of your internship?

The most rewarding part was definitely the large amount of information I learned about the development process and the ways to develop software professionally. I was introduced to many new concepts and frameworks that are used throughout the Country and World. I left my internship with so much more knowledge in many concepts that I had either no knowledge of or very vague knowledge of.

What did you learn about yourself during your internship?

It was very humbling. I learned that I still have a lot to learn in software development. There is so much out there to learn still. But at the same time, I am more than ready and eager to learn it!

What role has your internship played in shaping your career path?

My internship led me to my career. I met a woman while internship hunting and while she didn’t have any opportunities for me at her workplace, she connected me to the CTO of Hyatt who offered me the internship. From there the CTO liked my work and recently changed jobs to work at Carlson Wagonlit. When I reached out for advice and direction towards people that may be interested in hiring a fresh grad, he offered me a position with him! So, it definitely played a big role in shaping my career!

Do you have any advice for students completing internships in your field?

Network! It is so important. Everyone is always saying it but you really don’t realize how important it is until you go out and start doing it. Once you begin to meet people, you will find many are more than happy to help you move forward down your career path. My biggest piece of advice would be to treat whoever you are trying to network with like a human being, not a job board. You will have a lot more success that way!

I’d also say don’t give up when applying to internships! There are a lot out there. I know I probably applied to well over 50, maybe even 100. There are a lot of people applying and a lot of places hiring. You may get lucky and get a response from your first few but if you don’t, don’t give up hope! Just keep applying and reaching out.