Intern Experience

The Intern Experience: Learning with Mike Platoon

At the end of August 2020, we accepted offers to be Code Platoon’s TA interns for their fall 2020 cohort, Mike Platoon.

As students studying Computer Science and Software Engineering, we spent previous semesters taking traditional CS/SE courses. Like our counterparts studying other subjects, we believed we would be able to find internships that would allow us to apply our in-class learnings to real-life challenges. 

We were wrong. 

After spending hours reading applicant qualifications for software development roles, we were bombarded with words like “front-end developer,” “backend developer,” “SQL,” “JavaScript,” and “React.” We came face-to-face with the reality that despite the fundamentals our CS/SE curriculums focused on, we were not adept in using these current industry technologies and languages. After seeing the Code Platoon TA intern opportunity open up that allowed for the dynamic of learning these skills and teaching, the decision to apply quickly followed.

Throughout the program, we sat through the lectures with all the students from the Mike Platoon cohort, studying a curriculum that focused on developing relevant skills for the full-stack development role. Utilizing off-hours and weekends, we were able to stay a couple of days ahead of the other students, which allowed us to serve as teaching assistants for the debugging process and gave us the ability to answer lingering questions. 

Although our time with the coding Bootcamp advanced our coding skills, we also gained much from the Beyond Tech sessions and Career Prep sessions, which covered topics ranging from mock interviews to salary negotiations and diversity in the workplace. Beyond Tech gave us a more realistic glimpse into the tech industry as a whole and what we can expect going in. The information gained from these “soft skills” sessions included some of our biggest takeaways, with information applicable to more than just a tech industry career.

If we could go back to the beginning of October and speak to ourselves and the students, we would advise them to continue asking questions. Everyone starts at a different place. Some students come in with a host of knowledge already, and some are starting from scratch. The key is to keep practicing what you’ve learned. If you’re confused about what you’re learning, ask questions. The internet and everyone in your cohort — both your instructional team and your classmates — is here to help you.

We are glad to have been allowed to work with fantastic people from Mike Platoon. We have learned so much from the journey. We know that the journey does not stop here and are excited to see what the future holds. It has been a pleasure working with everyone!

Merry Shen is a T.A. for Code Platoon’s 13th cohort, Mike Platoon. She is a rising Sophomore at the University of Michigan studying Computer Science and Mathematics. Follow Merry on LinkedIn

Alyssa Arce is a T.A. for Code Platoon’s 13th cohort, Mike Platoon. She is currently studying Software Engineering and Sustainability at Arizona State University. Follow Alyssa on LinkedIn or find her on Instagram.

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