Blog #1: Learning and doing and learning some more

My first week at PingThings at first mainly consisted of many introductory meetings to get to know the company and how it worked. The most useful meeting for getting a sense of the structure of the company was our daily morning “standup,” where our masterful PM, Chelsea, kept the entire team on schedule and working efficiently throughout each “sprint” (the name for a two week chunk of planned tasks as per the True Agile project management method). Seeing the whole team every morning has helped make this internship feel like I’m learning about the whole organization instead of just my siloed tasks, despite this being a completely remote internship. I was and continue to be impressed that we have such a quick and useful meeting every morning.

On the second day, I was given details about my project for the summer. My main takeaway from my project description and first meeting with the CTO was that I had a lot to learn. I spent the rest of the week dividing my time between meetings and taking a crash course on docker and kubernetes, two tools that I would need to master in order to complete the tasks I had been assigned for the summer. I learned so much that first week, following some tutorials and taking many notes (pictured below), but the real test of how robust my understanding was would come in my second week, when I began my first task of using docker and kubernetes to deploy a cron job that would run a process on the psql database every night. I had so many new experiences in my second week! I wrote YAML for the first time, used Secrets in kubernetes, wrote a cron job for the first time, and laughed when I found that a two-letter typo was the bug I’d been trying to fix for hours. Although this all felt intimidating at first, to my surprise, by the end of the week I had completed all the tasks I had been assigned for that two-week sprint. I felt proud of my work and excited for more weeks of such rich learning experiences.

I spent the last day of my first two weeks getting back into learning. My larger project this summer will be about networks and implementing permissions and protection for the large time-series database that holds all of the grid sensor data and I still have a lot to learn about those subjects — and how they work in kubernetes — before I can complete it. This first cycle of learning so many new skills and then implementing those skills in a real world task, gave me a delicious taste of what this summer could mean for me and my confidence as a programmer. Before beginning this internship, I had done well in school but been nervous and unconfident about how well I would be able to translate my school skills into the “real world” of software engineering. Having this opportunity to be supported in learning new things in a professional environment has already shifted my perception of post grad life from more apprehensive to more excited, which is a welcome shift.

I look forward to more shifts in perspective and more skills learned and applied over the next two weeks! See you then <3