PLANET ARGON blog

Interview with our 14 year old Ruby on Rails intern

Reading time: ~ 3 minutes

James and the Planet Argon crew

We had the privilege of connecting with a young Ruby on Rails developer, James Anderson, who spent a few weeks interning with us here at the studio. We were inspired by his cleverness and dedication, it was great to have him in the studio! We first met James at the Argon Trail where we took Rails developers on a hike in the Columbia River Gorge. James already is an active contributor to Github’s open source community and has a sleek website.

We spent some time interviewing James to learn a bit more about him and what his plans are for the future.

Planet Argon: Who are you?
James Anderson. I just finished an internship at Planet Argon.

How old are you?
14

Where are you from?
Los Angeles, CA

What’s your favorite color?
Blue

Who are your favorite musicians?
I’m not much of a music listener.

When did you get interested in software programming?
After watching The Social Network I did some research online on how to build a website and eventually learned some HTML. After building something in HTML I wanted to add authentication and a commenting system so I bought a book on PHP and went through the examples.

Who are a few of your mentors? why?
The list includes Steve Klabnik, Aaron Patterson, Yehuda Katz, and Matz. I view them as mentors because they are active contributors to the projects I use and love. I’ve had a chance to see Aaron Patterson and Steve Klabnik speak in person but I’ve never personally met any of them. If I were to meet one of them I’d probably ask them how they got started with Ruby and OSS.

What’s the last non-technical book that you read?
For summer reading I read Siddhartha by Herman Hesse.

How would you describe Siddartha in three words?
I would use the words: peaceful, spiritual, and journey.

How long have you been programming with Ruby?
Off and on for about nearly 2 years

What other languages have you programmed with?
PHP, Python, JavaScript, and most recently Clojure and Scala. Ruby is definitely one of my favorites.

What prompted you to inquire Planet Argon for an internship?
I was looking for an internship to improve my skills as a programmer. After looking at Planet Argon’s website and doing the Argon hike before RailsConf it seemed like a place I’d enjoy working at.

Group shot of James with Ruby on Rails Developers

What was the process for getting an internship offer from Planet Argon?
I emailed them asking whether or not they had any open internship availabilities. After that I skyped with Gary and completed a challenge problem.

What did you work on while interning at Planet Argon?
I worked on Hydra and GitHub Dashboard while at Planet Argon. Hydra is an internal tool that Planet Argon uses to report on deployments to servers. GitHub Dashboard is an internal tool that shows contributor stats for Planet Argon’s GitHub repos.

Did you hit any roadblocks while working on these tools? How did you get help?
Along the way I encountered some issues with the GitHub API and caching which my coworkers were able to help me through.

James munching on a granola bar - mid hike

What technologies did you work with?
D3, jQuery, sparkline (JavaScript), Ruby, and Rails.

Which team members did you spend the most time working with?
I spent most of my time working with Carlos , Gary and Carl.

What did you learn at Planet Argon?
I got a better feel for how a software development company runs. What surprised me the most about Planet Argon was their method of organizing and managing issues via Jira.

I also got a chance to play with D3, Rails caching, and the GitHub API.

What online resources do you use to get help with your code?
Ruby’s docs, Rails’ docs, and Stack Overflow.

What code editor do you use?
I primarily use Vim within a Tmux session but recently I’ve been looking into Emacs.

What terminal shell do you use?
Zsh with the help of Oh My Zsh. I use Oh My Zsh’s default robbyrussell theme.

What school grade are you entering this year?
I’ll be entering 9th grade this fall.

What do you think you’ll be doing when you’re 30?
I’m hoping I’ll get to be a mobile or web developer.

Where can people follow you online?
People can find me on GitHub and Twitter.

Closing Thoughts

On behalf of the entire Planet Argon team, we really enjoyed having you around the studio the past few weeks. Best of luck as you start high school this year!

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