Article  |  Internship

From Dancing to Coding: Transitioning Careers with a Planet Argon Internship

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From Dancing to Coding: Transitioning Careers with a Planet Argon Internship

Hi, I’m Marilyn

I’m a professional hip-hop dancer born and raised in San Diego, California. My prior work experience includes teaching dance for 10 years, sales and operations at a corporate gym, and some entrepreneurship baking/selling pastries for a specialty coffee shop. After years of juggling multiple jobs, I wanted to pivot into a career where I could apply my creativity and leadership.

image of marilyn the ruby on rails developer intern smiling

Before the Internship

One of the main reasons I got interested in learning coding was how much problem-solving it requires. Having a dancer’s mentality naturally causes me to look for creative solutions without being afraid of trying new approaches. There is more than one way to solve any problem in web development.

I enrolled in LEARN Academy’s Full Stack Web Development Bootcamp, which includes a 1-month internship. After interviewing with different companies, I was most drawn to intern at Planet Argon because of their commitment to mentorship and community.


Transitioning into a new career, I felt a little nervous entering an unfamiliar work environment. However, Planet Argon heavily values collaboration, so I knew this would be a great opportunity for me to learn from seasoned developers.

During the onboarding process, I had 1:1 meetings with the team, and everyone was so welcoming. From the number of internal resources to the collaborative efforts seen within Slack channels, I was genuinely impressed with the systems Planet Argon has established. Being new to this field can be overwhelming, but seeing how humble, supportive, and communicative the team is made me eager to join a similar team.

After going through the extensive process of setting up my computer environment, I was excited to add the git plug-in to Oh My ZSH and learn a whole bunch of shortcut commands to use in the terminal.

Working on My First Project

The first project I was assigned to work on was to improve the user experience of Applegate’s website. My task was to resize a product locator modal, and from this, I learned about media queries and building a responsive application.

When I first saw the codebase, I felt overwhelmed and didn’t know where to start. If I were to relate this feeling to dance, it’d be similar to learning advanced choreography and staging it for a show. My process was to break down the task as simply as possible and understand the most basic aspects of it. From there, I could familiarize myself with the code, and the task felt completely doable.

When I created my first pull request, I was excited that my contribution would be on a live production site. The process involved back-and-forth communication between the Lead Dev and the client. It was great to witness and take part in the common workflow.

Working with the Dev Team

The biggest challenge to working remotely is waiting for a response from someone before feeling like I can move on. However, I’ve learned there are many ways I can find an answer myself by searching in past threads for the same problem, referencing Planet Argon’s documentation, or researching on Google. This has definitely taught me how to be more resourceful.

Pair programming sessions with the dev team have been my favorite part of the internship. All of the developers are incredibly knowledgeable and always willing to explain concepts to me. Whether they were a junior dev, senior dev, or even Robby, the CEO, nobody was too busy or too skilled to help out. It was reassuring to remember that they’d all been in my shoes before. This continuous mentorship is the kind of culture I want to work in for my career.

Going Forward

The whole internship experience has been awesome and went by too fast. I came in questioning if I was prepared enough, but realized the more important question was, “How much do I want to learn?” My mindset as a young developer aligns with my perspective on dance. There will always be more to learn. I will fine-tune new skills with practice and by collaborating with others to enhance my growth.

A big takeaway is not being afraid to ask questions and being intentional with my work. Getting comfortable with this has given me clarity, confidence, mentorship, and even practice with networking.

From the Bootcamp at LEARN Academy to the internship at Planet Argon, I’ve seen how both companies design their programs with intention around their core values and mission statements. It makes all the difference to be surrounded by teams of people who understand their purpose and want to help others achieve their goals.

My goal for the near future is to continue learning with online resources and land a job where my growth will be impactful. Specifically, I hope to feel comfortable with both backend and frontend development to be a successful Full Stack Web Developer.

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