The Portal is happy to announce the introduction of our mini-training opportunities!
These mini-training sessions are designed to help students that have struggled with our interview process, those that are interested in seeing what our curriculum is like, or for students who simply want to have more practical, concrete, and hands-on experience with coding!
Rather than having a single, over-arching project that you'll build on over the course of 5 to 6 weeks as the students in our normal training cohorts do, you'll be able to work on smaller, standalone tasks that focus largely on implementation and design.
If you're interested in mini-training, you need only come by our Irvine office, located in University Tower, 4199 Campus Drive Suite 210!
Our mini-training hours for Summer 2017 are as follows:
You are also more than welcome to come by outside of those hours, but Thi, your instructor, may not be able to provide as much personal assistance.
If you have any questions, please feel free to email email@example.com
This post was originally published by Celyn Matienzo, a member of The Portal’s business operations and content marketing teams.
“So what can you do with an English degree?”
In my experience? Anything you set your mind to.
Your future career path isn’t dictated by your degree as much as it’s dictated by your experience, and even those are only really limited by how you spin your skills and how willing you are to step outside your comfort zone.
My work experience has been sporadic and spontaneous at best. Back in high school, when I was set on pursuing the pre-med track in college, I volunteered at a big hospital and in various medical clinics.
(I even sat in on a surgery in one of the clinics’ operating rooms when I was 13, but that’s not really something you can put on a resume.)
The administrative office job that I took in college was nothing new to me. Simple tasks around the office, special event support with international guests — nothing difficult, nothing rewarding. So when I saw that applications were open for a local startup, I figured, why not?
I was drawn to The Portal not for the position — a member of the “administrative and business operations team” didn’t sound like anything out of the ordinary — but for the challenge.
I was born and raised in the admin world of large, bureaucratic organizations. I couldn’t imagine what it meant to be part of a startup with only three or so employees. Were people hyper-efficient multitasking gods and goddesses? Were they operating on a smaller scale than I was used to? Would I even be remotely useful in such a place?
I walked into my interview with their project manager and managing director woefully unprepared. But after a two-in-one interview and one test of my event-planning skills later, I was in.
The first six months as a part-time administrative apprentice posed a steep learning curve for me. I was an English major in a tech-focused company, and I came at a time when the admin team was undergoing some big changes. I worked through at least three iterations of the admin team over six months, including a version of the team that was just me.
I was forced into challenging situations every week. Managing day-to-day office duties, creating a new social media strategy, dealing with new team members and having to rework everything when they left — I learned more about management and entrepreneurship in the first six months that I was an working at The Portal than I had in any other office I’d worked at.
The offer to join The Portal team as a full-time member presented an interesting opportunity. The job came not only with administrative duties, but with the opportunity to create and lead the digital and content marketing teams.
I didn’t have to face the “2+ years of content writing and marketing experience required” wall anymore, but I’d have to juggle the familiar world of admin work with the new and terrifying realm of content creation and distribution.
As a student just finishing up college, learning how to write and distribute content for businesses or a company were going to be things I’d have to learn how to do anyway. So why not do it for the startup I’d already invested my time in?
I also saw it as a chance to work with the skills that were relevant to my degree. English majors don’t usually face the question of what practical applications their degree has — it’s abound in soft skills, and writing for companies has become more important now than ever.
But just because most soft skills are applicable to almost every job, doesn’t mean that humanities majors are guaranteed any job that they apply for, no matter how well they write their resume and cover letter. Getting a foot in the door for any industry can feel difficult if most “entry-level jobs” are asking for some experience.
Writing for The Portal has given me a leg up with chance to apply my writing skills to a real-world business. It isn’t about using literary theory as a lens to read certain texts anymore, or telling a completely fictional story — I get to apply my narrative skills to different things.
Now, it’s about developing a voice for a company, or a person, and explaining new services or products for a wider customer audience.
Although I’ve spent these first few months having nightmares about Trello boards, emails, and weekly reports, being a member of The Portal’s core team has become one of the most interesting and valuable experiences in my career. I don’t just adapt to changes in the company’s direction and strategy anymore; I get to see the process behind making these decisions.
Being one of the only non-technical people in the office is admittedly a little daunting — I’m usually left with just high-level understanding of most of the projects my coworkers are working on — but I’ve learned more about entrepreneurship and the nitty-gritty details of running a business than I would have in a larger, more segmented company.
Even though I’m feeling more settled now, I’ve realized that working at a startup means I’ll never quite feel “comfortable.” We’re always trying new things and getting ourselves into new challenges, and I can’t wait to see where we end up in the coming months.
This article was originally posted on Medium, June 5, 2017.
This article is by Ray Chan, Co-Founder and Managing Director of The Portal.
The Portal’s goal is to revolutionize the local startup and business economy. We’ve made good progress, especially in providing experience to students who want to work in the technical field, but this is only one component of the startup world.
We’re teaming up with The Beall Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship as sponsors of the 2017 New Venture Competition in order to bring an even greater impact to the community. We’re offering up $2,000 in matching services to each of the four winning teams for a total of $8,000 in order to help students build out their ideas.
The competition is currently in its 11th year, but this has been one of the first years that the competition has been opened to students outside of the Paul Merage School of Business, and the response has been overwhelming. Almost 90 teams submitted the first business plan, and 41 final teams remain to give their final presentations.
We want to provide students with the opportunity to take the next steps toward building their businesses. The Portal’s students will provide critical resources in web and mobile development, design, and accounting. It’s important to the success and growth of their plan that they have access to the resources that will bring them to the next steps.
The New Venture Competition is an opportunity for all of these student teams, along with those working at The Portal, to experience first-hand what it takes to create a successful business.
All of our current students have been carefully selected and highly trained by industry professionals, and they’ll be working on building and making the products and solutions that the teams from the New Venture Competition have been developing. Each of their deliverables will be architected and approved by their professional mentors.
Not only will The Portal help the students bring their ideas to life, we’ll also help bring them to the next level.
Experiential learning is the key to helping people develop the skills that will make them successful on their career paths. We hope that events like The New Venture Competition will inspire the students to continue learning and innovating.
About The Portal:
The Portal is an Irvine-based non-profit social enterprise whose goal is to revolutionize the local startup and business economy by turning technical talent into experienced hires. Students in the apprenticeship program receive mentorship from, and work directly with, industry professionals. With a focus on experiential learning and on-the-job training, The Portal aims to provide students with valuable work experience that complements what they learn in school and an opportunity to exercise ideas they encounter in their classes. Through leadership opportunities, the chance to work on live projects, and connections to local leaders and innovators, The Portal hopes to inspire the next generation of thinkers and doers..
About The Beall Center for Innovation and Excellence:
One of seven Centers of Excellence at UC Irvine’s Paul Merage School of Business, the Beall Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship was established to help business visionaries transfer their ideas into viable business opportunities, either in new ventures or within existing organizations. Students can engage with the Center through curricular programs offered including a Minor in Innovation and Entrepreneurship and a Certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, or through programs like the New Venture Competition. Through leadership, education, and potential partnerships, the Center creates an environment that fosters a connection among world-class UC Irvine researchers, innovative visionaries, savvy business leaders, creative venture capitalists and pivotal business channels. This connection inspires innovation and entrepreneurship, and provides the hands-on opportunities for students to learn. Find out more on The Beall Center for Innovation and Excellence website.
This article was originally published on Medium, May 11, 2017.