Four months have come and gone so quickly, I can't believe I almost didn't take the leap. I think back to the days when I was freaking out about not being able to hang out with my friends, all of the 'time' that I would be investing and I want to laugh at myself. Having completed the 4 months I can say that this was the best, quickest, learning lesson I have ever been a part of. Four months is NOTHING! How did I think that my life was going to be over if I didn't see my friends for four months?! I realize now how silly I was but at the time, it was a very real issue.

For my last blog I thought this time around we could try a different style of writing. I, at random, picked three students from my cohort and interviewed them on their internship experience.

Q&A:

Amir, LEARN Alumni, Cohort 2016

  • 1.Who did you intern with?
  • Apmetrix. They are a data collection company that works with mostly the mobile and game industry. I was tasked with developing the front-end which included, developing user tools to better sort the data, building an in-app search function, and a slide panel that would hold various other user tools. I also worked on much of the design.
  • 2.If you could change one thing about the process what would you have changed?
  • The one thing I would change is for the legality of internships clearly be discussed with students. By the end of my internship I felt that there were some things that should not have been happening the way they were, such as our code being used for production without any monetary reward. While I was not expecting to get paid, or to be rewarded for my work, by the end of my internship I felt I was being taken advantage of and just being used as free labor to meet the company's deadline. Had I known the laws I may have been able to negotiate something. With that said, I feel the internship did teach me a lot and I really was able to hone my programming skills.
  • 3.What was your favorite part about the internship?
  • My favorite part was the people I worked with and the work they do. Data analytics is a fascinating business and I was glad to be a part of it. I learned so much about data collection and what can be done with that data. Furthermore, They worked with many big names in the gaming industry and it was a ton of fun to be a part of that since I love video games myself.
  • 4.How did you pick your internship company?
  • I interviewed with a few companies, but at the end of the day I chose Apmetrix based on the people who work there and the work that they do. I knew it would be more fast paced than some of the other companies, but I wanted that pressure and intensity as I felt it would really boost my programming skills.

Russell, LEARN Alumni, Cohort 2016

  • 1.Who did you intern with?
  • Zesty.io. They are a startup in downtown San Diego that focus on CMS for deploying brand, marketing, and commerce websites.
  • 2.What did you like and dislike about your internship?
  • I really liked being able to learn new things on a daily basis. Zesty is a very deep product and the small size of the team meant that I had to learn a ton of things every single day. Although it was easy to be overwhelmed, I'm extremely fortunate to work with a team that made me feel like a part of the crew right away. This meant that even if concepts were challenging and took me awhile to grasp, I felt safe to ask a lot of questions, which really helped solidify all that I was learning. The only thing that I disliked was being alone on the internship, because it would have been nice to have someone to work through things with that was on the same level as me. That being said, being the only noobie really made me push extra hard because I wanted to be as good as everyone else around me.
  • 3.What are your thoughts on doing the internship as part of the LEARN curriculum a whole?
  • I think the internship is essential to the learning experience. While all internship experiences may not be exactly the same, having a place to really start focusing with a dedicated team is crucial to having a good understanding of what we have learned and where we need to go. It's important to start believing in yourself just as much if not more so than to have others believe in you as well.
  • 4.You were the only student to fly solo to an internship, how do you think this impacted your learning experience? The good and the bad!
  • I think a lot of good things can come from flying solo. Obviously, it forces you to be accountable for yourself, which can really push you to succeed. The downside is that it can be easy to succumb to the pressure without having someone else to help dissolve the tension. That being said, I am extremely lucky that the zesty team are so great that I never really felt alone, even if I was the only person most the time to not have a full grasp on what was going on. Ultimately (and hopefully not too cheesily), I believe that even if you are by yourself or one of a thousand interns, if you put your heart into what you're doing that it has a great chance of working out. The advantage of flying solo is that the spotlight is on you, so that your work/heart can shine more easily.
  • 5.What are your feelings about the period after the internship? Do you feel prepared for the real world?
  • One of the biggest things I've learned after the internship is there are a lot of things I don't know. The good news is that understanding the things I don't know, if even on the most simplistic level, is a great start in learning them. When you first start programming, the world feels horrifyingly vast and empty. It's like, here is all this empty space of things I don't know and I have no idea what it's supposed to be. Now the pieces are coming together in a way that is a lot more colorful and cohesive. Even if all the pieces don't make perfect sense, there is at least a pattern that I can follow that will lead me somewhere that is sensible. With programming, you have to (sometimes literally) build the path before you can start walking down it.

Daniel, LEARN Alumni, Cohort 2016

  • 1.Who did you intern with?
  • Housecall aka Housecall Pro.
  • 2.How did you feel the onboarding process went?
  • The on boarding process was a bit less formal than I thought it would be. I expected our mentors would go through the codebase with us and allow us to ask questions as we went along. It was later revealed to me that since it was the first time they had taken on any interns from a bootcamp they were still learning themselves to be mentors as they went along. As time went by, I progressively received more challenging tasks and asking less and less questions. The downside to learning the codebase this way was that you could easily get overwhelmed by its complexity. There are still very tough concepts to grasp within the code but I have also developed a tolerance to the uneasiness that can come from being completely lost so everything becomes clearer much faster than it did in the beginning.
  • 3.Would you have done anything different?
  • I have learned that writing every little step down on paper no matter how small, gives me clarity. This is a skill I have developed more and more, but I do wish to have learned it sooner so that I could've grasped the code base faster.
  • 4.Best moment and worst moment?
  • I don't have a worst moment since everyone there has been very supportive and willing to help, but I do have embarrassing moments all the time when I am focused some much on hard concepts that I overlook the things I already know. The best moment so far has been a small feature I was tasked with that would help the customer support team's day a little easier.
  • LEARN what to expect during professional development week.