Article  |  Internship

Catchup with James Anderson, Planet Argon's youngest intern

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An interview with James Anderson, aka @_jamesaanderson, still Planet Argon's youngest intern[1].

Carl: How are things going for you since the internship, are there any technologies you find really exciting right now, etc?

James: Since my internship at Planet Argon, I haven't interned anywhere else, but I've been working on a few side projects. One project is homebrew-bundle. It recently got added to the homebrew organization, and I've been a part of the homebrew team for a while. I'm also creating an iOS app, which I'll be releasing soon. I've also been going to a lot of hackathons. My first hackathon was HackTech in LA and since then I've been going to hackathons across the US such as PennApps, and I won 2nd place at HS Hacks last year. I'm now a sophomore in high school and I'm pretty busy with school, but I'll be applying for more internships this summer.

Carl: That is excellent! How many Hackathons have you gone to so far?

James: About 10 including Hacktech, HS Hacks, LA Hacks, Penn Apps, HackGenY, HackCC.

Carl: That's impressive. Are there are new technologies you are especially interested in learning next?

James: I've recently been getting interested in Go, and I'd like to work more with it. I've heard Rust is similar to Go, so I'd like to learn that at some point. Another language I'm interested in, at the moment, is Clojure.

Carl: I think when you interned with us, you did some javascript work for graphing of Github data. Have you done anything else with Javascript? What do you think about the rise of the Javascript Frameworks, like Angular and Ember?

James: I've been doing a lot of work with Ember recently though I'd also like to get more familiar with Angular.js. With Ember, I really like the routing as well as Ember-Data. I'm also interested in learning React.

I'm a big fan of the rise of client-side frameworks because I like the separation of the server-side and the client-side. I also like the organization that a framework provides vs plain jQuery code.

Carl: How have you found the learning curve of Ember to be? I mean both the fact that it uses the new ES2015 syntax for javascript (if you are using ember-cli) and the fact that it has been undergoing fairly rapid development for a while now, both in Ember and in some add-ons like Ember-Data.

James: The new syntax for javascript was a bit to grasp at first but other than that the learning curve for Ember hasn't been bad for me at all. Although Ember's MVC is different than what's used in Rails it's still the same concepts so it hasn't been too hard to pickup. I'm still not sure if I'd use Ember-Data in production but I've really enjoyed playing around with it and seeing it updated.

Carl: If you could give advice to other aspiring developers based upon what you've learned in the last couple of years, what would it be?

James: The great thing about the internet is there are tons of resources available. My advice to aspiring developers would be to just start coding and to continue trying new things.

Carl: That's certainly true, and different when I started coding. There was no WWW so magazines were the main way code tutorials made the rounds. Fellow developers are sometimes unwilling to see another viewpoint and/or have very different priorities, and learning to handle that is an important step for new developers. Have you had to deal with any difficult personalities on projects yet? If so, have you found any methods for working with people like that you'd like to share?

James: In general it helps me to look at something from another point of view, and compromise when it makes sense.

Carl: Fair enough. Have you decided what you want to do after High School? Colleges, start your own company, etc?

James: After High School I'd hopefully like to start my own company but maybe that'll have wait until after College. Programming is pretty easy to pick up self taught but there's a lot of computer science concepts that I'd still like to learn that'll change my view on programming. If I do go to college I'd like to take computer science.

[1] Interview with our 14 year old Ruby on Rails intern

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