September 01, 2017

Simon: Plugging into the IT field at Appalachian Mountain Club

The Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) had an eventful summer, with an office move from Beacon Hill to Charlestown and furthering progress on IT infrastructure updates. While best known for connecting people to the outdoors, the AMC helped one PIC high school student view a different type of landscape: information technology.

Simon, a rising senior at Boston Latin Academy, spent the summer working with Jackie Albrecht, director of IT at AMC, on a wide variety of projects. It was an exciting first experience for Simon to work in an office and learn more about IT. “It’s my first time working on a professional team and it’s better than working alone, even though a lot of people in IT might not think so,” joked Simon. “Especially just getting started out in a field, it’s great to have people who are more experienced than you are there as a resource.”

His supervisor Jackie became interested in hiring a high school student through the PIC after talking with colleagues who participate in the Society of Information Management (SIM) Boston. “Some of my peers in that community have hosted interns through the PIC and they spoke very positively about the experience. They gave me some specific examples of the types of projects that high school students had done for them, and I was excited to get involved this summer.”

For Jackie, hosting Simon for the summer added invaluable capacity to her team at a time when they needed it most. “Simon has been tremendous, helping us out with so many of the things we have in play this summer,” said Jackie. “After being here for a couple of weeks, he told me ‘these are actually real projects that you have me working on.’ We really needed this extra help.”

Jackie noted that the office move and major IT updates made for a sometimes-unstructured work environment, but Simon took it all in stride. “I was surprised by how adept Simon was at working fairly independently and just diving into whatever we needed him to do,” said Jackie. 

Whether it was helping to inventory equipment, configuring new iPads with mobile device management software, updating the Salesforce database, or completing help desk tickets, Simon gained broad exposure to the operations of an IT department. Simon had previously participated in programming at Square Tech, which helps young people learn IT and tech skills, so he had knowledge about computer technology and coding coming into the summer. While he’s no stranger to the tech world, Simon was surprised about one aspect of working in an IT department. “Even in the IT field, you have to talk to people a lot of the time. When clients have problems with technology, you have to be able to communicate and help them solve it—there’s a lot of social interaction,” he said.

Simon’s summer job at AMC was a natural next step in his goal of majoring in computer science or networking in college and pursuing a career in information technology. “We use computers every day and there’s so much that we can do with them—it’s fascinating to me. I think working in a real IT department this summer has opened up the field to me,” said Simon.

Learn more about our School-to-Career initiative, which connects Boston public high school students with career readiness and employment opportunities.

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