As I close out my first year as a full-time Software Engineer here at Sprout, I am reminded of one moment during my internship  last summer that will always stick with me. In my final week, I was called into a meeting where several senior engineers guided my fellow interns and me on how to interview elsewhere. Initially, I was certain they were ostensibly showing us the door. However, they had already spent an exorbitant amount of time and effort training us, making us feel the “Sprout Love”, and to top it off, presented each of us with a return offer. Needless to say, I was confused why they were encouraging and even instructing us to go off and explore our options.

One year in and I have realized that this gesture embodies what I’ve come to appreciate about the culture at Sprout–always be curious and always be growing. The way Sprout embraces learning and development for all employees is impressive, and by the end of my internship it made it difficult, dare I say impossible, for me to decline that return offer. And while I have explored other career options, knowing my team supports and encourages me in that journey, no matter what, actually makes it more enticing for me to stay at Sprout.

Fast-forward to the present and it’s been a pretty wild ride. Just two days into my full-time position and Sprout continued to deliver on its commitment to my growth as an engineer and leader, placing me in tech design meetings for our asset library feature, and within my first month, we released that feature to customers. Since then, I’ve helped build Instagram scheduling and Twitter video publishing, both of which were led in tandem by myself and another engineer who graduated with me last summer. It is hard to believe how much changes in a year. Nearly twelve months ago I was walking across the stage at Northwestern’s commencement ceremony and now I come to work everyday with the support and freedom to make lasting impacts on the team.

Looking back on my graduating class, I am struck by how many of my fellow engineers headed to the fabled Silicon Valley to start their careers. While I have no doubt that they are all finding similar fulfillment in their work and tackling exciting challenges every day, I think it’s worth mentioning that there are exciting companies everywhere you look. I could have easily justified the need to go somewhere else and find experiences at different companies. In fact, many of my teammates encouraged exploring those options. That said, I really couldn’t imagine starting anywhere else. The tech community in Chicago is thriving and I’m sincerely proud to be a part of it.

To those that are graduating soon. I’d say that wherever you go, there will likely be some brilliant engineers for you to work with and exciting challenges to solve if you seek them out. Just be sure that you’re investing your time into an organization that is similarly invested in you.

Interested in joining the Sprout team? Browse through our careers page to see our current openings.