[author: Jade Felber**]
Building my own app within the space of a four-week internship? No I’m not joking. It happened.
I have always been interested in tech – I love reading TechCrunch as much as the next avocado-toast-eating millennial, and I had dabbled in some coding classes at university. But being interested in tech and actively engaging with it and learning its intricacies are two very different things.
In partnership with Clifford Chance on its unique LIFT internship programme (a programme that aims to develop its future trainees’ knowledge of different client industries) I joined Neota as a Business Development and Marketing Executive, helping both the Sales and Marketing teams with a broad range of activities. I am always keen to build on my sales skills – learning to sell is arguably one of the most important skills that there are, and it takes consistent practice, work, and flexibility of approach to become good at it (just ask the candidates that fumble their way through a sales task on The Apprentice). Learning to sell and learning to market a product means having an in-depth understanding of both the product itself, and the needs and current shortfalls of the industry within which the client that you are selling to operates.
Learning more about the product meant grappling with it on a first-hand basis in the same way that a client would once they have been onboarded. Each intern was invited to complete Fundamentals, the new training programme that clients use to get to grips with how to build an app using Neota’s unique no-code platform. Despite being fully aware that the platform was no-code, before opening Studio, the main platform used to build apps, I had nonetheless still envisioned some sort of
< ”complicated” = code editor filled with “thousands of lines of code” that would>
< leave me “running for the hills” >
< input class = “Technology. Very. Very. Scary” >
No, not scary.
Refreshingly easy. Surprisingly so. Within the same space of time that it takes me to decide what to wear in the morning, I had already learnt the basics of how to apply reasoning logic to my application through ‘decision trees’, and how to create question flows (forms that allow question and answer input data). In the same way that dance choreographers spend months piecing together complex routines to be delivered on the front-end by glossy Tik Tok models, Neota’s platform allows you to apply functions to your app that are powered by complex coding, without doing any of the hard work yourself. You’re the Tik Tok model: you can drag and drop to your heart’s content, and sit there and look pretty (or at least, create a sophisticated app that looks pretty) while the architects at Neota do all of the choreographing and hard work for you in the background. Thanks to the platform, a lockdown miracle occurred (if I can do it, then I promise you can too): I had created the components of my own sample puppy adoption application within around two hours. Cute.
My first few days were simultaneously packed with sales- and marketing-related tasks, practicing my app-building skills, and introductory meetings with different members of the team, aimed at helping me to ascertain the ways in which the teams interact with each other and form one seamless and integrated unit. I was struck by how dynamic every Neota employee is: most have corporate backgrounds rooted in Neota’s target industries, but they also have the added bonus of multidisciplinary skills and a phenomenal knowledge of technology. I Ieft the (virtual) office after my first week feeling inspired by the people that I had met, and by the company that I had entered. I wanted to be just like them.
And luckily for me, the team’s consistently open, non-hierarchical and welcoming approach allowed me to do just that. Before starting, I had been worried that building a relationship with brand new colleagues would be difficult in the Covid-era. No cheeky group Pret trips or post-work team pub quizzes to be had. But working with extremely knowledgeable people that are happy to answer any questions (even the stupid ones) and to impart this knowledge meant that the scope for growth and learning was huge. I could not have asked for a better internship from this perspective, nor from the perspective of the perfect balance that was struck throughout my time with Neota between supervision and guidance over tasks to ensure that I was working along the right lines, and the freedom to work autonomously on projects and to put my very own spin on them. Every task was interesting and relevant, and mirrored knowledge that would be required as a trainee: researching different legal processes that could be automated meant having knowledge of the law in the first place. Researching competitors meant having the same commercial awareness that would be necessary as a trainee to understand a client’s aims and obstacles within its industry. Having worked in a start-up, entrepreneurial environment previously, I really enjoy the fact that you can take initiative and suggest new things, and that people are genuinely receptive to these suggestions. It felt good to know that I was making a tangible contribution to the future of Neota.
I am hugely grateful to both Clifford Chance and Neota for the opportunities that I have had during the internship. I have not only learnt so much about the legal technology industry, but I have also built my own app (hallelujah!), been introduced to fantastic work colleagues and clients, gained so many new skills, and have learnt more about myself (for one thing, that I can do something even if at first it seems daunting – like building an app!!) and my working style. When I enter the doors of 10 Upper Bank Street next August, I’ll bring with me a more well-informed, commercial approach to my work and a greater ability to contextualise the issues faced by Clifford Chance’s array of clients. I would encourage all future trainees to consider undertaking a LIFT internship for this very reason. And if that’s not enough to convince you, then the pretty LinkedIn certificate of completion of the Fundamentals training course most certainly should be.
**Jade Felber, Marketing & Business Development Executive at Neota Logic