Cracking the Code, Part one: Inspiring women in technology Disney Professional Internships

Technology and diversity are two major forces that drive the culture at Disney, and empowering women to be involved in the tech industry is key to inspiring the future of technology. There are endless opportunities for women in tech at The Walt Disney Company – and they are constantly growing! Think you might be interested in a tech internship at Disney? Take a closer look through Emma’s journey, the first of our three-part series featuring tech interns who help make the magic!


Internship title: Enterprise Technology Full Stack Software Engineering Intern

University name and degree title: University of Illinois Springfield, bachelor of science in computer science

Describe a day in the life in your role.
A day in the life at my role is filled with coding and learning! I work on real projects that my team is developing. Our team is the Identity Access Management team, so we work on services that relate to Authorization (which means what sites and applications a cast member can access) and Authentication (which means information about who the cast member is) for the company.  I get to contribute my code and work collaboratively with them. Since our products are used company wide, I also meet with and assist people from different departments to help them use our products. Every single day a new problem comes up that I get to learn how to solve.

What previous experiences and projects do you feel prepared you for this role?
I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to intern at a startup very early on in my computer science career. They taught me a lot of fundamentals that laid the foundations of how to be a good developer. From there, I was offered a role as an intern with Walt Disney Attractions Technology, and now I am with corporate in my current role. Each experience helps me build up to the next one.

What skills have you learned as part of your professional internship?
In terms of technical skills, JavaScript – Angular and Node frameworks specifically –  has been the biggest thing that I’ve learned. I went from not knowing the language at all to coding in it every day. I’ve also had the opportunity to learn about cloud-based deployment technologies. My most current project has me using Docker, Cloud Formation, and Cloud Pipeline in Amazon Web Services, which is very exciting since these are new and valuable technologies.

Non-technical skills I have learned are how to communicate professionally with people from around the company and with different technological backgrounds. I have also learned how to think about problems like a software developer and how to problem-solve in an effective way.

What is your favorite part about your current role?
The people! I love the people that I work with. I have been so lucky that they have really given me the freedom to learn whatever I want to learn, and they all have various areas expertise that they are willing to teach me about. They take the time out to help me whenever I need, and they make me feel like an important part of the team. Plus, we have an awesome Star Wars themed work area.

What would you have liked to know prior to starting your internship?
I would’ve liked to know that it is okay not to know things. I was very hard on myself when I first started because I had to ask questions all the time. I learned over time that you should never stop asking questions. Senior developers ask each other questions. Technology is always changing and there are always going to be things you don’t know. 

Do you have any advice for applicants interested in Technology?
Do not limit yourself. Apply to as many things that interest you because you never know what you might like or where you might end up. Along with that, do not get down if you get rejected. I have been rejected from so many internships! You just have to wait for the right person to find you at the right time and use the experience to practice interviewing. Also, make sure to have a portfolio and be working on projects that are similar to things you want to do. If you do not have the experience yet, you can build it up on your own and put it on your GitHub account. That is just as valid as previous job experience, if not more so, because it shows that you care enough to spend your free time doing it.

How is your Professional Internship preparing you for success in the future?
For one, it is teaching me valuable, tangible technical skills that I can use in the future. I also hope to have my career at Disney, so it has been a great way to get involved with the company, and network.

Fun Facts

Favorite Disney movie: ‘Beauty and the Beast’
Favorite attraction: Splash Mountain at Magic Kingdom Park
Favorite Disney character(s): Mickey Mouse, Judy Hopps, Belle