Mentorship and working with the next generation of developers is important to our team here at Planet Argon. We just welcomed our second pair of Ruby on Rails interns this year from Epicodus, a Northwest-based vocational school for aspiring programmers. For the next five weeks, we'll be working with Sean Sumler and Sowmya Dinavahi. Here's a quick reflection of Sean's first week at Planet Argon.
Beginning an internship in any field can certainly be a challenge. I’ve heard many stories from colleagues about their experiences with their first internships as a junior developer. Some were great, while others seemed pretty awful. While having these discussions, I tried to get a feel for what I should expect when I begin my internship. As I listened to each account, one thing became clear: you never know what you’re gonna get.
I spent the 5 months before my internship at Epicodus, a programming bootcamp here in Portland. There, I learned the fundamentals of programming, how to work within a team and on my own, and how to absorb large amounts of information in a small amount of time. I felt as prepared as one could be, but was I ready to take my budding career from development into production?
I entered my first week with an even mix of blind confidence and impostor syndrome. I’ve done all I could to prepare, reviewing style guides and best practices. John and Kathryn had already laid out expectations for the kind of work interns would be doing during the interview process, which was extremely helpful. On day one I was assigned to work on a live application for an actual client, which was not something I had anticipated. It was exciting! I felt trusted, and this grew my confidence incrementally.
Previously, I’ve worked on simple, small-scale applications which pale in comparison to the project to which I was assigned. As I managed my tasks, I found myself getting lost in the file structure, chasing bugs that may not have existed in the areas I was searching. We’ve all been there.
Still, this left me feeling anxious, as I was no longer in the classroom environment where I could compare my project with others within my cohort. I expressed these concerns with John, who walked me through the methods he might take while tackling a similar issue. It was great to receive that level of support, and going forward I knew I could comfortably ask the team any questions I had.
After completing my first set of tasks, I began trusting my instincts. I enjoyed every small victory and used my mistakes as learning opportunities. Even if I didn’t have a concrete solution for a particular problem, the team at Planet Argon assured me that I was looking in the right places, and thinking about the right things.
As my career moves forward, I hope to find myself working alongside a group of folks like everyone here at PA, who made my first week as an intern exciting and educational.
(rated 10/10, would intern again)