OpportunityPHL: Tech and Innovation Internship

September 1, 2022

This summer, Coded by Kids hosted interns through our Tech and Innovation Internship and OpportunityPHL* mentorship programs, which connect underrepresented students in Philadelphia with tech industry professionals. Broken up into teams — Draft2Code, Kermit, and Zygotes, the students worked together to solve problems, gain valuable advice from mentors and learn from our partners during site visits and virtual workshops. The program included 18 Philadelphia high school and college students, ages 16 to 24, who come from backgrounds that are traditionally underrepresented in tech and innovation.

Sylvester Mobley, Founder and CEO of Coded by Kids, sees effective mentorship of young innovators as a key step in turning Philadelphia into the capital of equitable tech. “By introducing students to experienced mentors, we’re building their confidence and giving them a direct connection to the world of tech and innovation,” says Mobley. “Fostering relationships between students and professionals who will champion their success is another way to expand opportunities for students who have been underrepresented in the field.”

In addition to the mentorship program, the students took part in Coded by Kids’ second Tech and Innovation Internship, working for Draft Studios, a web development agency comprised of talented and ambitious college and high school students. Project Manager at Draft Studios, and former intern, Lennin A. explains that they “aim to provide underrepresented youth the opportunity and skills to gain confidence in choosing a career in tech.” The internship contains roles in UI/UX design, project management, and web development.

Learning from Philly’s Tech Leaders

The partnerships that Coded by Kids has with tech mentors and corporate volunteers makes a huge difference in the experience of our students. This summer, our interns were able to meet some amazing professionals working in tech and innovation and these experiences showed the students how far tech can take them. We want them to know their opportunities are endless and this networking is proof of that. UI/UX Design Intern Khilola S. is especially grateful for these opportunities. “We networked a lot with different companies and we got to talk with developers and learn how far they have come. It was an inspiration because I want to follow their footsteps and eventually be where they are right now.”

Students during virtual workshop with Bank of America

The students attended several virtual workshops focusing on personal branding, resume building and tips on managing finances. Validation and Ideation Intern, Sory K., felt that the financial workshop with Bank of America really “brought into perspective the importance of financial education and how it can impact our lives.” While Project Management and Development Intern Afnan A. felt that the workshop with Enterprise helped them “get a very good grasp on where to start with making a LinkedIn and how to set up a resume.”

“The experience has been pretty great… I’m really grateful for not only the internship, but also the guidance that [CBK] provided. We’ve been able to do a lot of fun workshops and they’re teaching us valuable skills.” — Anshika N.
CBK summer interns taking a group photo during the SEI Investments site visit

In addition to the virtual workshops, our students were able to go on several in-person site visits. At the SEI campus in Oaks, PA they toured the facility, met with various staff and learned about different career opportunities in technology & investment. Denis Okema, SEI’s Director of Diversity and Inclusion, told the students “There is power in seeing yourself where you want to be.”

Student group photo during Exyn site visit

The group also got to experience the future of tech with a site visit to Exyn Technologies. From learning about the code behind drones, robotics, 3D mapping, and AI, to watching these concepts in action, our students learned to think outside the box. Students learned all aspects of the business, including mapping, testing, user experience, project management and marketing.

These visits allowed the interns to experience different directions tech can take them, different work cultures, and network in person with professionals in the field. With these visits, and the one-on-one connections they made with their mentors, each student was able to learn about different aspects of the tech and innovation space and be better prepared for the next step in their careers.

Collaboration and Team Building

Students working together during a team wireframing session.
“CBK gave me a foundation and now it’s time to blossom from it.” — Amadin A.

Our interns expected to finish the summer having grown their technical skills, but what they took away from their experience was so much more. They learned to work as a team and the importance of communicating. Lead Development Intern Amadin A. said “I feel like as a developer, I grew in two aspects, development and communication…CBK gave me a foundation and now it’s time to blossom from it.”

Web Development Intern Neirah H. also grew a lot this summer, saying that her “biggest takeaway is the importance of communicating and connecting with everyone. My managers really helps me grow as a developer and as a person. In addition, communicating with my team while doing these two projects really put it in perspective for me of what teamwork really is.”

Diversity in Tech

Student intern participating in Intro to Gaming Workshop with partner, Cxmmunity
“Working in a diverse group really inspires me. I would say that changed my view of how tech can be.” — Ari M.

When asked what their favorite thing about the summer was, Project Management Intern Irie Z. reflected on the diversity of Coded by Kids and Draft Studios. “I feel like in technology, it’s very rare for you to be on a diverse team, and not only your team, but your managers and CEO. So it’s nice to be able to look up to people that look like me.” UI/UX Design Intern Ari M. echoed the sentiment saying that “before this internship, my only view of tech was my computer science classes and everyone around me in those classes, they didn’t look like me… CBK is very diverse and working in a diverse group really inspires me. I would say that changed my view of how tech can be.”

Internship Takeaways

“Coded by Kids and this internship has given me the feeling that I can do most things if I actually set my mind to it.” — Jocelyn C.

The Tech and Innovation Internship focuses on setting our students up for success in all areas — networking, team building, technical skills, and more. Tahsin Z. reflected on the summer and said this “was an incredibly valuable experience because it forced me to think critically about areas that I may not have otherwise been exposed to so early.”

100% of the students said that this experience increased their interest in the tech space. 89% said this also increased their interest in participating in the startups space.

We are so impressed by the 18 interns that participated in the program this year and thrilled that 100% of the students said that this experience increased their interest in the tech space. Additionally, 89% said this also increased their interest in participating in the startups space. We know that they are the future of tech and innovation and can’t wait to see what they do next.

Learn more about each team and watch their final presentations here: Draft2Code, Kermit, and Zygotes.

This 10-week summer internship was made possible by contributions from our sponsors: Peacock, the Philadelphia Department of Commerce, Comcast NBC Universal, Comic Relief, SEI Investments, and Enterprise Holdings. Special thanks to Exyn Technologies, Bank of America, and Cxmmunity for facilitating workshops.

Interested in sponsoring future programs? Contact us by emailing development@codedbykids.com.

About Coded by Kids: Coded by Kids is a Philadelphia-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit fighting inequity by preparing underrepresented young people to succeed as tech and innovation leaders through project-based learning and mentorship. Our programs are designed to provide young people with beginner to advanced level software development, data science, and user experience design skills. Learn more at codedbykids.com or follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Posted on
September 1, 2022