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Article  |  Development

Where Are They Now? Catching up with Former Planet Argon Interns

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Where Are They Now? Catching up with Former Planet Argon Interns

One of the things we stress in our open-sourced guide to tech internships is to keep in touch with your interns after their time with your company comes to an end. We got to chatting recently in the office about what some of our former interns were up to these days, which sparked the idea to hear from some of them directly.

We reached out to some of the interns we’ve hosted at Planet Argon over the last few years in both Ruby on Rails and Frontend Development internships to see where their career has taken them so far. Many of these interns came to Planet Argon for a five-week internship following their coursework at Epicodus, a Pacific Northwest-based engineering bootcamp.

Here are their encouraging words of wisdom and their honest experience about entering the industry as junior engineers. We're grateful that we were able to play a part in each of their engineering careers, and are proud of what they've each accomplished and will continue to accomplish.

Holly Wilkalis, Technical Support Engineer, New Relic

Former Front-End Development Intern, Spring 2018

What skills/abilities have helped you the most so far in this role?

Research and problem-solving skills, teaching, front end development experience, user analytics and data interpretation.

What advice do you have for current web dev interns or soon-to-be junior developers?

Be honest about your skills and what you want from your first tech job, and then be open to opportunities! I was originally only applying for junior front end roles, but there were so few opportunities open at the time. I applied to a support role here at New Relic after talking to one of their recruiters at a PDXWIT job fair and it's turned out to be a great fit for me.

My knowledge of front end development and user experience still comes in handy, I get to use my training background, and I'm getting exposure to a lot of really interesting and complex code bases, both our own and our customers. It's been a really good learning experience so far.

Is there anything that you learned from your Planet Argon internship that was particularly helpful in your first full-time role?

It was really helpful to see how a web development agency works, what some different roles in a typical shop are, and how the team makes decisions and manages workloads. In my current role I'm helping a variety of development teams use our software in their own applications and having that experience has helped me better understand how our customers work.

You can follow Holly on LinkedIn.

Tracie Weitzman, Product Support Specialist at Cayuse LLC

Former Front-End Development Intern, Spring 2017

What skills/abilities have helped you the most so far in this role?

Customer service, problem-solving, asking follow up questions, curiosity about the product, and a general understanding of SaaS.

What advice do you have for current web dev interns or soon-to-be junior developers?

Don't be afraid to network!

Is there anything that you learned from your Planet Argon internship that was particularly helpful in your first full-time role?

Having experience working with clients directly was incredibly valuable. Exposure to real office organizational tools such as JIRA, stand-ups, and Agile methodology gave so much context to technical skills I learned at Epicodus. Both of these experiences really helped me to dive into technical product support.

Aaron Rohrbacher, Software Development Engineer in Test, Fiduciary Benchmarks & Freelance Engineer

Former Ruby on Rails Development Intern, Winter 2018

What skills/abilities have helped you the most so far in this role?

Coding automated tests, and a solid understanding of REST Rails APIs.

What advice do you have for current web dev interns or soon-to-be junior developers?

Continue being willing to learn at every opportunity. Be willing and patient with your first role; things move quickly afterward, and the people I find to be most successful early on have started in QA, content management, or junior front-end development. Take your time at first, and keep learning!

Is there anything that you learned from your Planet Argon internship that was particularly helpful in your first full-time role?

My current company has a very similar team feel and workflow. Planet Argon gave me a great foundation in working around more experienced developers, and when/how to ask for help. I’m also grateful for the experience in engineering/developing automated tests, and keeping them ‘isolated’ in order to prevent flakiness, especially when running in parallel.

You can follow Aaron on LinkedIn.

Sean Pierce, Full Stack Developer, Software Engineer at I-ology

Former Ruby on Rails Intern, Fall 2017

What skills/abilities have helped you the most so far in this role?

The ability to solve problems (or ask for help when I can't) has been huge for me in my current position.

What advice do you have for current web dev interns or soon-to-be junior developers?

I always recommend that juniors or job seekers continue to learn and refine their skill set. Research interesting technologies and develop a project. Better yet, develop an ongoing project relevant to the technologies with which you intend to work. Go ahead and make an e-commerce site for your friend's record store, or create that blog or podcast site you've been thinking about!

Is there anything that you learned from your Planet Argon internship that was particularly helpful in your first full-time role?

My time at Planet Argon taught me that "Yes, I Can":

  • Yes, I can solve problems on-the-fly.
  • Yes, I can start a new career in a new field and thrive.
  • Yes, I can set and accomplish goals.

Having previously only worked in the service industry, the idea of becoming a software developer was daunting. My time at Planet Argon made this transition way less scary. I learned a ton about myself, and I even managed to write some code too!

You can follow Sean on his podcast series, Intro to Rhythm.

Reese Glasscock, Support Engineer at Acquia

Former Ruby on Rails Intern, Fall 2018

What skills/abilities have helped you the most so far in this role?

Learning Linux commands/problem solving

What advice do you have for current web dev interns or soon-to-be junior developers?

I would say, stay curious and never give up. Also, know that when searching for jobs don't always look for the generic "developer" role. Go outside the box and look for things possibly in support. You might find that you like working those kinds of roles more so than when you were writing code. But ALWAYS stay curious! Things will get hard, you'll struggle, you'll think you can't do whatever it is you are trying to do. Just know we all have been there and you'll constantly be there and it takes some getting used to. Over time, you'll learn to enjoy the challenge!

Is there anything that you learned from your Planet Argon internship that was particularly helpful in your first full-time role?

Planet Argon helped me immensely. From the time that we had working with Robby to explain things like DNS, to working with John and going over major technical troubles and working step by step to figure out how to work through the issue. PA is also amazing at introducing you to the community, making you feel like you can ask the "dumb" questions and not feel "dumb" at the same time. Everyone is in it to win it and fostering a culture of community and growth in the team has really lent itself to being successful in my current role.

You can connect with Reese on LinkedIn.

Sowmya Dinavahi, Software Engineer at Moovel

Former Ruby on Rails Intern, Fall 2017

What skills/abilities have helped you the most so far in this role?

  1. Communication skills (by listening, learning, and asking more questions).

  2. Analytical thinking and researching about new technologies.

  3. Flexibility and adaptability (be ready for challenges)

  4. Interpersonal skills

  5. Ability to take ownership and learn from mistakes

  6. Ability to plan and work hard and also prioritize to have a good work life balance

  7. Ability to wear multiple hats and work on different aspects at work

  8. Leadership/management skills

What advice do you have for current web dev interns or soon-to-be junior developers?

Never fear to speak up and ask questions when you are asked like, "You don't have much experience on your resume, Why do you think you are qualified for this position?" They are just trying to test your confidence and make sure you don't underestimate yourself. Good communication skills and confidence really helped me secure the role I wanted.

Is there anything that you learned from your Planet Argon internship that was particularly helpful in your first full-time role?

I learned I can manage things and can handle pressure. If someone says a no, I now knew I can get things done by myself. I was also able to break the code and because of that, learned how to fix it. I learned how a single line change can affect things in such huge code files. I also learned how to write meaningful commits. :)

You can connect with Sowmya on LinkedIn.

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