I Got A Job

MERN

I graduated from Launch Academy towards the end of May. In the roughly 3 months since then, I have made a lot of progress on a number of fronts. I have taken the initiative to build, market and manage my own web development company, Web Sage DesignI have made great strides in my Front End skillset, no longer relying on the crutch of Front End frameworks like Foundation or Bootstrap. I finally built my first production level website with real life users – Adamski Tree. I have taken the initial steps to branch out of my Rails/React knowledgebase and move towards complete mastery of JavaScript by studying Node.js, Express, React (in greater complexity) and MongoDB.

While working on all of that I have had phone screens, onsite interviews and coding challenges with more companies than I care to count. Some companies were amazing while others were less than optimal. Some interviews I aced and others made me wish those mind eraser pens from Men In Black were a real thing.

That brings us up to current day. I am currently in week 2 of an internship program with a company called BovControl. It is a Full-Stack position with a focus on the Front End. I am tasked with essentially rebuilding the entire User facing dashboard to conform with the mockups generated by our designer. It’s a pretty big job but something that I feel will give me invaluable experience and confidence moving forward.

Now, you may be thinking — Internship? Well, hold on a second, let’s walk through this. I started this journey with a very clear goal in mind — Begin a new and promising career as a developer that would carry me in my retirement years. Now, of course a full-time gig would be ideal but an internship will do just fine.

My goals, ambitions and desires are all long term, and to that extent, I want to avoid needlessly rushing into a new career. There is something to be said of trial by fire, but there is also something to be said of being methodical and measured — this is my current approach.

By taking this internship, I am gaining real world experience and adding real value to a project that has real world implications. In short, I am actually making a difference in what I am currently doing, how could I possibly say no to that?! In terms of the near future, the potential for a small contract job is on the horizon. I believe if I continue to add value to the projects I am working on that someone will make me an offer for a Full Time position within the next 6 months.

It is also important to note that, although I have never mentioned this, having accepted this position means I fulfilled my deadline. In August of last year, I decided to forgo any Plan B and become a developer. I allowed myself exactly 1 year to begin my new career. My job began August 29, 2017. How about that timing?

The Nitty Gritty

What am I building and who am I working for? The company is called BovControl and they are essentially an IoT (Internet of Things) company based out of Brazil whose flagship product makes it easier for farmers to do two things:

  1. Reduce needless waste on their cattle ranches with the help of machine learning and predictive AI
  2. Increase efficiency as well as production (milk / slaughter)

While this is a really cool product, it is not what I am working on. I am working on a side project of theirs which is called the PPC (Platform Producing Right). The PPC is the product of a joint effort between BovControl and a Brazilian NGO (Non Governmental Organization) called Aliança da Terra. 

The purpose of the app is to raise the level of compliance with national and international sustainability standards for each farm. The app makes it easier to prove, document and acquire certifications. 

How about the tech? First off, it uses the MERN stack – (MongoDB, Express, React, Node). So far, and likely for the next month I will be focusing the bulk of my time in React. Why? Coming into this project I was greeted with the most recent iteration of the app’s desktop counterpart (dashboard). Since being created, the design team have come up with a new iteration, replete with a completely new look and feel and my job is make that happen.

The level of involvement to pull this off by myself (I am the only dev on this project) is pretty extensive. It will involve refactoring a lot of the React components to be more modular, as this will reduce load times and increase performance overall. Additionally, it will require a complete overhaul of the styling and Front End frameworks to make it look, feel and function the way they want it to. I’m game!

After this is all done, I have some real programming to do. I need to hop over to the Node.js side of things and build a custom API for handling weather, day by day. It sounds both complicated and interesting — I am really looking forward to doing that because I think it will be a really great challenge!

Wrap Up

All in all, I am very satisfied with where I am at right now. I am working on a really cool project and building real world experience. Working at this internship is really going to set me up for great success in the very near future – I can see it already. A lot of work went into getting to where I am right now, and even more work will be required to push on even further — I am more than up to the challenge!

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