Preparing the Next Generation of Technology Innovators

Written By: Michelle Duke Hopkins
  • 10/17/2017

A recent article in ReadWrite explored the IoT skills gap and shared that “68 percent of IoT professions say they struggle to recruit employees with the right IoT experience.”

The IoT has opened up a multitude of opportunities for the next generation of engineers and innovators. With Gartner projecting that the number of connected “things” will hit 8.4 billion this year, and will surge to 20.4 billion by 2020, it has never been more important to educate and prepare students to take advantage of the opportunities the IoT presents in the workforce of the future.

PTC has a long and successful history of supporting students and helping train and inspire the next generation of engineers and innovators in the technology industry. Each summer, the company welcomes students to its Summer Internship Program where they gain real-world experience and learn how physical digital convergence is changing the way companies create, service, and operate products.

This past summer, 70 interns converged on the PTC headquarters campus in Needham, MA to take on responsibilities across the company, including engineering, marketing, technical support, talent acquisition, and more. From working with the latest IoT and AR technology and using ThingWorx Studio to build AR experiences, to learning a new programming language and strengthening their ability to collaborate and work together as a team, this year’s interns took away valuable experiences that will help them take the next step in their future careers.

What were some of their biggest takeaways? A few interns shared some of the highlights of their 2017 summer internship at PTC:

Kaija Petrone, ThingWorx Intern:
“Intellectual, engaging and inspiring. This is how I would describe my ThingWorx internship at PTC if asked to do so in three words.

From an intellectual standpoint, I was able to apply skills I was developing in the classroom at an undergraduate business school directly to my work to analyze the ThingWorx Studio Free Trial Program. Before the internship, I knew I loved working with Excel. After working so heavily with Excel in the analysis I conducted for the Studio Free Trial, I strengthened my passion for analytics. My work at PTC has even inspired me to consider changing my course load to incorporate a greater focus on business analytics when I return to college in the fall for my senior year.

To intern for a company on the cutting-edge of a new technology is beyond exciting, and the excitement is visible here by the smiles, energy, and supportive attitude of the people who work here. The clever use cases for AR that both our employees and our end users generate are unique and have the power to make an immense impact. To be a part of that as an intern is extremely inspiring, and it excites me about the future.”

Nicole Closson, Brand Marketing Intern:
“Born and raised in Northern California, it didn’t surprise my parents when I told them that I wanted to get involved in technology. It did surprise me that so many people asked why a Silicon Valley native was in Boston to experience the latest technology. 

I knew this would be my last summer before college ended, as well as my last opportunity to move to the East Coast and develop business and technology professional experience. When I was researching internships and potential job opportunities, PTC was at the top of my list. I was ready to gain corporate business experience with a company that has a culture driven by creativity, innovation, and a stimulating work environment. I was excited by PTC’s brand philosophy, and I instantly found my place with the corporate brand marketing team and event planning.

I wasn’t prepared for the “Why Boston” question that seemed to be on everyone’s mind when they heard I was from the Bay Area. After planning IoT and AR meet ups in Boston, exploring the higher education venues in the city, and meeting people with so much knowledge and grit, I think the better question is why not Boston.
I am happy to say that I’m leaving with a collective network of people that greatly influenced my interest in the technology world. PTC has given me the platform to grow professionally in ways I didn’t see possible before. If you are looking for a robust experience at the top of the industrial software community or just want to learn more about technology, you are in the right place. PTC will leave you curious, empowered, and ready to take on your next adventure through tech.”

Joey Farrar, Marketing Operations Intern:
“PTC is the most impressive and driven company that I have ever been around and working here has been an absolute blast. The culture of this company shows just how much they care about their employees, as well as their customers. My manager as well as other people on my team have been a model for what every company should be like. They push you to work to your highest potential, and give you great exposure to what the working world will be like. It is a great feeling when you have numerous people you can constantly go to with questions, when you need advice, or have issues of any kind. Interning at PTC does not make you feel like an intern, they treat you as if you are a full-time worker and prepare you for the real world. This forces you to step out of your comfort zone at times and discover things about yourself that you are good at or need to improve on.”

Lane Rawlings - Product Marketing Intern
“Build your network. Just as it’s important to establish a good relationship with your manager and your peers, it’s also good to build relationships with other employees. Maybe you are interested in their job – set up a meeting with them. Maybe they could be a good resource for you on one of your projects – set up a meeting with them. Maybe they just seem like a cool person – set up a meeting with them. Take everyone you meet as an opportunity to learn more. Use their wisdom as your inspiration and your resource. Here at PTC, you’re encouraged to make as many connections as you can. I have found that every employee here is beyond friendly and looking to help you in whatever way they can. One of the most helpful pieces of advice I got was to not only build my personal network, but also my LinkedIn network. “

Paul Walter, Marketing Operations Intern:
“This summer, I set out to find a summer internship that would give me different experiences than past ones. Previously, I have been more on the creative side of marketing, but I wanted to find something much more data driven and tech focused. PTC turned out to be the perfect place for me.
This summer at PTC has been an incredible experience for me, and I have grown immensely both personally and professionally. Coming into this summer, I was nervous due to my lack of experience in the industry. However, with the support of my managers, peers, and the PTC internship program as a whole, I was able to adjust and learn very quickly, and those nerves disappeared within days.

Since my first day here they made me feel as if I belong and am a valued member. Whether it is including me in important discussions and meetings or inviting me to grab some ice cream, I always feel like I belong. In addition, they have consistently tested and challenged me all summer to learn and grow as much as I possibly can, for which I will be forever grateful.”

Maggie McCarthy, Channel Marketing Intern:
“Life here at PTC is fun. You are constantly surrounded by people who set goals to succeed and are also encouraged to do the same. There are so many opportunities to become involved in different projects and activities that enhance your skills and create new ones. I was lucky to be placed on a team that was not only fast-paced, but who also cared. My manager and coworkers quickly became mentors to me who I could go to with any question or problem.”

Aislinn Varney, Customer Success Marketing Intern:
“To me, this summer internship is much more than just an internship. Like any internship, I am gaining knowledge in the world of business, but more importantly, I am developing personally and professionally. Here at PTC, I have had the opportunity to participate in a lot of workshops and assessments put on by the talent acquisition team. I took a Predictive Index and an emotional intelligence assessment, both of which provided me with crucial insight into myself and highlighted areas where I can excel. I also attended workshops on effective communication and key presenting skills. Beyond the normal business experience, PTC has really offered me the chance to learn and develop lifelong skills that can be applied to every part of my life.”

Matt Wasserman, Customer Success Intern:
“At PTC we do not perform the stereotypical internship functions. During my time here I’ve been asked to work on multiple meaningful jobs. I have felt like I’ve been a part of a dynamic team working together to deliver important projects.”

John Piegeon, Talent Acquisition Intern:
“Being an intern for the Talent Acquisition group, I got the opportunity to speak with employees who previously worked as interns at PTC and now work here full-time. It’s interesting to see their perspective on interns and the company because not too long ago they were in the exact position I’m currently in. These short interviews allowed me to learn more about the people I worked alongside every day.”

Amy Robbins and Alex Samaha, Technical Support Interns:
“At the end of the day, we learned how important it is to collaborate and grow together to reach a common goal.”

Related Video:

PTC: Day in the Life of an Intern

Preparing the Next Generation of Technology Innovators

  • Connected Devices
  • Digital Transformation
  • Industrial Internet of Things

About the Author

Michelle Duke Hopkins

Michelle Hopkins is Managing Editor of Product Lifecycle Report. She has spent her career in marketing and communications in the technology industry focused primarily on enterprise software. Michelle enjoys researching and writing about how new technology trends and innovations can transform business processes and impact customer relationships, competitive advantage and overall revenue and profitability. Frequent topics include the Internet of Things, manufacturing, service lifecycle management and STEM.