Want to do tech work that matters and make great friends while doing it? New college grad Charlene participated in our Technology Development Program as an IT intern and is now enrolled in the 13-month rotational program as a senior TDP associate. She shares her experiences so far:
What’s unique about the Technology Development Program at UnitedHealth Group?
It’s the perfect transition from college to full-time work. You can try out different areas that you’re interested in and find out what you like (or what you don’t like) before placed full-time. You’re able to have a mentor throughout the program. They’ll help you walk through everything and how to navigate your way through the full-time employment experience.
Why UnitedHealth Group?
I chose to work for UnitedHealth Group because I found that the culture fit really well with the way I work. It’s easy to see how you’re making a difference in people’s lives no matter where they are; be it employees or patients. Culturally it’s a great fit. I’m never afraid to talk to anybody no matter their hierarchy or position. I feel comfortable approaching anyone. Everyone is very friendly and willing to help you out.
What advice for an intern or new grad joining the program?
For someone joining the program, my advice is to be really open to networking. Your first week will be a lot of networking. You’ll be meeting all your fellow TDP associates and making friends. Be open to learning. You’ll be learning different roles in each rotation throughout the program. There’s a big difference between learning in school and learning in the real world.
What program rotations are you on?
My current track has me working as a quality assurance analyst/business analyst on the enterprise hosting services teams. I do quality assurance work. I look at servers and make sure they’re compliant with our policies and ready for customers. My next rotation will be in the Systems Analyst/Data Analyst positions. The rotations offer opportunity to explore the different business and technology driven tracks within UnitedHealth Group. I’m looking forward to learning as much as I can.
What can interns and new grads expect coming in?
Interns and new grads can expect to make actual, meaningful impact in this organization. You’ll also make an impact on those people benefitting from your work – patients, doctors and nurses. During my internship, I worked as a System Analyst. Within that role, I worked on a clinical application that’s currently being used by nurses and doctors. So it was really exciting to see that you’re not fetching coffee for people as an intern. You’re actually doing real meaningful work and making a difference.
Right now I’m making a difference as a Quality Assurance Analyst on servers. I’m actually putting servers out to production and getting ready for customers to use. It’s pretty cool to know I’m making an impact.
How did you start your career?
I started my career here as an IT intern in the summer of 2014. I worked on a clinical application. During my 12-week internship, I met a lot of awesome people. I learned a lot and I was happy to accept a full-time offer when I received it.
Culturally, how has this program been a fit for you?
The culture at UnitedHealth Group is a perfect fit for me. Everyone I work with is really willing to help. They’re never too busy to set aside a half an hour to answer a question about an application or writing a database query. They try to make you feel like you’re part of a family. I’m never afraid to ask any questions or speak up about an idea that I think could be more efficient.
What can students expect in their first year?
Expect to gain a huge network of coworkers within the program. Those coworkers will become friends. You’ll be hanging out with them after work for happy hours or bowling. You can also expect to do a lot more social responsibility than you’d expect. We do a lot of volunteer events within the program. In the summer, we did Second Harvest Heartland where we packaged food for the community. In the fall, we did Habitat for Humanity where we helped build two houses. We booked the whole week and we made a lot of progress for the community. We also fixed and cleaned bikes for kids. Expect to lead a very meaningful lifestyle outside and inside of work.
What’s been your favorite part about the program?
My favorite part of the program by far is the people. I’m here for the people. I enjoy the work a lot but I would stay here for the people. My team is amazing. They’re always open to help me. People are super friendly. They’re obviously here because they have the same similarities to what I do. They’re a great fit for me and I’m a great fit for them.
What have you learned so far?
I have learned a lot: how to stay organized, how to use my Outlook calendar. It’s incredibly important to stay organized and view your schedule and take notes on different tasks. You won’t just be doing one task the entire time you’re here. There are a lot of different projects where teams will utilize your skills. You’ll be making an impactful difference on these teams and within the company. Be ready to make a difference.
How do you grow and advance within the program?
Be open to networking. This company is rather vast. But if you keep networking with directors, managers, fellow TDPers and find out what they’re doing and if you’re interested in it or not, then it’s wonderful. You can find out where you want to go in virtually any track you want. You can be as technical or as little technical as you want it to be. It’s really just making your own track.
What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of building a site that’s used by my team on an everyday basis. It’s really satisfying being able to build something that’s actually useful to people and helping make your team more efficient at what they’re doing. And putting smiles on people’s faces!
What kind of impact can you have working here?
It’s pretty easy to see the impact you have working here. No matter what you’re doing, you will see how your work can affect other teams, your manager, patients and the nation.
How do you bring your passion to work?
I have a passion for learning. I don’t want to get stuck doing one thing for the rest of my life. Learning new tasks on an almost every day basis is great. That novelty keeps me excited to go to work and I’m never bored here!
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