In 2018, commercial real estate group Cushman & Wakefield released a report that ranked the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area as one of the top 25 technology cities in the county. As more and more companies recognize the value of technology roles, Minnesota will continue to be a major destination for those interested in a career in tech. 

According to a recent report released by the Minnesota High Tech Association, there are almost 10,000 open IT roles in Minnesota. Companies like Four51 are doing their part to fill those roles and get the next generation ready for a career in tech. 

This year, Four51 supported the tech community with a Front End Development Internship Program. The goal of this program was for the interns to learn and experience what it’s really like to work at a tech company. 

Throughout the summer they got hands-on experience working with our local, in-house team of developers and were fully immersed in the day-to-day work. They worked directly with the OrderCloud API, had weekly check-ins with their mentors, gave a 15-minute lightning talk on a tech topic of their choice, and completed a final project. 

But don’t just take our word for it. Here’s what the interns had to say about their summer with Four51. 

Intern: Cynthia Rico Mendoza

School/Major: Augsburg University, Computer Science

How did you get interested in a career in technology?

My interest in Computer Science started when I took a course in 2017 called Religion and Science in Popular culture. The course was taught by a Computer Science professor and we learned about the conflicts between religion and science, the rise of technology and how that would impact the future. This course got me really interested in technology because one day we discussed the possibility of computer or robotic therapy, and during this time I was a psychology major with an interest in becoming a therapist. My perception of technology changed that day and I learned that technology is something that’s heavily used and relied on by many different people. We talked about virtual games, augmented reality, and discussed what is ethically correct in terms of virtual creations and capabilities a user has in those virtual creations. Eventually, I decided to reach out to that professor and tell him about my interest in changing majors. He recommended a book called “Overcomplicated: Technology at the Limits of Comprehension”. After reading this book, I knew I wanted to learn more about technology. 

What was the most interesting or surprising thing you learned this summer at Four51?

I thought it was interesting working with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to get our images on our website. Since most of my projects for school run locally on my computer, I usually just store my images in a folder on my computer. But, with our final project, we stored our images in a bucket in Amazon Simple Storage Service (AWS S3), which was really interesting and fun to learn! 

What was your favorite part about being a Four51 intern?

One of my favorite parts about being a Four51 intern was having the opportunity to have two amazing mentors, Alexa and Crhisitan! I loved checking in with them weekly. Whether it was about my project or just sharing some highlights about the weekend. It was great getting to learn more about them and having them as go-to people if I ever needed help or wanted more clarification on certain problems. 

Tell us a little bit about your final project?

For our project, we created a website for a paint company and a product page for a way to show and sell the products. We created a React-based application from scratch using AWS S3 to host our images, Material UI, and React Bootstrap for styling purposes. We used AWS S3 for the images because it gave us a URL for each image. If we were to just host the images locally, the images wouldn’t show up if we shared the code, so AWS S3 solved this. We also used OrderCloud Javascript SDK to get all products information about our painting company.

What advice would you give to other students who want to pursue a career in technology?

Always stay up-to-date with what is going on in the technology world! And don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Intern: Kevin Ahn

School/Major: Colby College, Computer Science and Economics

How did you get interested in a career in technology?

Originally, I had always thought I would go into business or finance with my economics degree. However, after taking my first ever computer science course during my freshman year, I seriously started considering a career in tech. A few courses later, I fell in love with the tech world and wanted to go down that career path. Finding Four51 was fantastic because it is such a business-oriented tech company which means I get the best of both worlds with regard to my majors. 

What was the most interesting or surprising thing you learned this summer?

Aside from the technical skills I’ve learned this summer, I think that the most interesting thing has been learning more about how a professional company operates overall. Having spent the past three years coding in a classroom, it was a big change to work in a professional setting and learning about how that works has been invaluable and a lot of fun!

What was your favorite part about being a Four51 intern?

My favorite part of being an intern this summer was definitely being part of the development team here. All of the full-time devs were incredibly welcoming and always available to help out when needed. This made coming into work each day a lot of fun because the overall culture here is so welcoming while still having a very work-driven mindset, something I really enjoyed.

Tell us a little bit about your final project?

Cynthia and I have been working on creating a base app using the React framework and the OrderCloud API that could be used ( or at least have parts of it used) to get a new customer up and running more quickly. The main thing that we focused on for this project was the product page itself. We wanted to have a polished page where a user could search, sort, and filter through the set of products that a Seller organization has made using OrderCloud. 

What advice would you give to other students who want to pursue a career in technology?

For any students looking to get into tech there are two things that I would recommend. First, go beyond what you do in the classroom. Taking a few hours during the week to learn something new is incredibly helpful and shows a deeper level of commitment that many other students or people often don’t show. Whether that’s working on a personal project or even spending time on sites like CodeAcademy or Pluralsight, those few extra hours a week will really benefit you in the future. And second, stay as up to date in the tech world as you can. The tech world is constantly changing and it’s really helpful to be able to understand what’s going on and actually talk about it. 

We’ve had a great summer with Cynthia and Kevin in the office and we appreciate all of the hard work that they contributed. Everyone at Four51 wishes you both the best of luck as you return to school and as you pursue your future goals! 


Four51 is hiring! Check out our open job positions on the development team and beyond.

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