Mentorship and working with the next generation of developers is important to our team here at Planet Argon. We just welcomed our third round of Ruby on Rails interns from Epicodus, a Pacific Northwest-based vocational school for aspiring programmers. For the next five weeks, we'll be working with three new developers – Aaron Rohrbacher, Nate McGregor, and Mark Helt. Here's Aaron's take on interning at Planet Argon.
As we wrapped up our final days at Epicodus, the excitement levels were elevated; It was time to begin our internships, and none of us knew where we would land. As rigorous interview schedules concluded, my top choice was clear, and I was praying to the tech gods to be chosen by Planet Argon. It worked!
As two of my cohorts and I began, it was clear that we would be working on real projects in Planet Argon’s diverse repertoire. Our primary mentor, John, helped us set up our development environments, assigned us each a Jira ticket for a current Planet Argon account, and let us dive in. As a brand-new Ruby on Rails developer, this felt overwhelming, especially at first.
The experience of taking a look at an existing application that may have been in several hands in its lifetime was totally new to me. The knowledge gained by taking the time to grasp the functionality of these projects has been invaluable.
One of the coolest things about interning at Planet Argon has been diving into the wide variety of applications they take on. While I spent a decent amount of time working on one project, before long, it was time to move on to the next. This meant starting all over in learning how another client’s site worked, and how it worked with “other stuff” (API’s, AWS, etc.).
In working with model and controller testing, I’ve learned so much about some common (and less common) ways of using Ruby on Rails in various situations: Spree for eCommerce, Refinery for content management, AWS’s S3 bucket for data storage, and Contentful as a digital content API.
In working on testing the unique use of these resources in an application, I learned how the project was working at a much deeper level. I’ll never look at ALOHA’s website again without shedding a little tear. We became soul mates!
While digging into projects and learning as much as I can about them has been great, I’m still a new developer. I get stuck! The mentorship available in Planet Argon’s internship program has been nothing short of amazing, and I can’t say enough about how great this team has been with us.
While John has been our main point of contact, I’ve found myself able to hit our company Slack channel for mentorship from any member of the development team. Most often within minutes, John, Corinne, Brian, Scott, Robby, Gary, or any combination thereof, are at my desk, patiently pointing me in the right direction. These are busy people. They don’t have to offer this internship program. But they do, and they do it really well.
Meanwhile, the team hosted a Waffle Day breakfast this last Friday morning, Groundhog Day. While I’ll spare you the contents of the conversation at my table (some of the team here share my love for the darker side of humor), I feel rather touched by the sense of community here. Gary, Planet Argon’s CEO, and Robby, the founder, both took the time to take each intern out to coffee for a one-on-one. They each offered advice, and were engaged in my future plans, aspirations, and personal anxieties. Afterward, each sent excellent resources related to our conversation.
Planet Argon’s slogan is “Make it Happen,” and I’ve been utterly impressed in how they stand up to that challenge, well above and beyond the scope of an internship program. As I transition from Epicodus into a career, I’m genuinely grateful to have been able to kickstart it here.