From Paperbacks to Python
By: Sarah Scott
Another May, another hot summer in Texas! But this time is different - instead of moping around my hometown groaning about the dog days, I’ll be working as an intern in San Antonio. After completing my first year of college at Trinity University, I began looking for a summer job. I wanted something that would help me pay for textbooks and, ideally, would give me experience related to my English major. The Students + Startups program was perfect. The program, organized by Trinity’s Entrepreneurship department, provides interns to companies at a startup friendly price. It runs for 10 weeks, which allows students plenty of time to finish projects that their employers can use after the internship ends.
Although I was thrilled to be accepted into the program, the STEM opportunities offered were intimidating. I’ve always been interested in technical writing, but my rudimentary knowledge of the field seemed leagues away from the fast-paced world of technology. My future, I was sure, would consist of sitting in a dusty office, refining documents on Windows 95 while the actual technicians wrote code with their Neuralinks. Thankfully, Jungle Disk helped me turn that outdated idea into a project plan. The goal: teach me about technical writing while creating a valuable tool for the company.
At my internship with Jungle Disk, I’ll create a user guide for their flagship product, which is cloud-based backup included in their data security product suite. My main goal is to make a user manual/guide for customers that backup their computers (also known as workgroup) with a stretch goal of a server edition manual. To do this, I’ll have to use anything from Markdown, which is a way to format text, to Python, a high-level programming language. To help format the end product, and familiarize me with the documentation tools of professionals, I’ll likely work with both LaTeX and Sphinx. Both help create documents, but are distinct from widely used word processors like Microsoft Word. LaTeX requires the writer to learn its unique language, but with a great payback: instant, painless formatting. Sphinx is a tool to export documents to many formats (HTML websites, PDFs, EPubs, etc.) and is often used in conjunction with LaTeX.
I hope to achieve other goals as well in my 10 weeks here at Jungle Disk. These include objectives that aren’t quantitative, but equally important for the workforce, such as: being a part of varying teams, developing communication skills through the refinement of my user guide, and gaining skills in non-academic research. Developing the user guide means I’ll have to work with teams and communicate one-on-one. I’ll have to work with different groups to verify if the information is correct, if it’s presented in an approved way, and if it will be compatible with Jungle Disk’s workgroup updates. Additionally, I’m knowledgeable in academic research, but lack the experience doing professional research. Technical writing especially requires interpretation and translation of existing data, while academic writing focuses on compilation of new sources.
Thank you to Jungle Disk, the Trinity Entrepreneurship department, and the 80/20 Foundation for this opportunity. I aim to create a useful product while also learning for my future career. Who knows – maybe I’ll end up programming the Neuralink.