My First Week of Interning at Modus Create: Drinking From a Firehose

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They say that if you’re a summer intern, you’re basically treated as the freshman of the workplace. You’re considered the new guy, a kid compared to the others in the office. Especially as a software development intern, where you have to deal with some heavy duty code, you’re said to be treated even worse because everyone seems to have a higher knowledge and skill set than you. This notion, however, has been proven absurdly false after my first week at Modus Create. While many people are above me in terms of knowledge and skill, I’ve learned so much within the past week and could not be more ecstatic for the weeks to come. In the following article, I’ll be talking about why the past week at Modus Create has brought to me a new perspective not only as a web and mobile app developer, but as a person.

Who Am I?

Before I give you the spiel on my experience at Modus, I want to first tell you who I am. My name is Andrew Tran and I’m a rising junior at Justice High School in Falls Church, VA. Because my school offers no computer science classes, I’m 100% self-taught. I started programming when I was ten, and it was definitely NOT because I wanted to learn all of computer science. I wanted to make some cool games and web pages for my cousins just for the heck of it. While I only wrote simple puzzle games, I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I was so captured, despite its difficulties, because I thought that telling a computer what to do and display exactly what you wanted was like magic. In a way, the programmers and engineers of today are magicians because simply being able to make an app on a device directly in your pocket that can do something as simple as saying “hello” or “goodbye” would be considered magic hundreds of years ago. And what kind of ten-year-old doesn’t love magic? Anyway, I digress. Fast forward a couple of years to when I was twelve, I started learning how to use basic Python, Perl, Java, and C. Then fast forward into freshman year of high school, I published my first app on the Google Play Store called Mathtivity. Honestly, I didn’t expect to get more than fifty downloads, but four months after its release, it got over 1,000 downloads!! Then fast forward to today, I have three apps published so far (Mathtivity for Android, Mathtivity for iOS, DubMATH and coding has never been more fun.

In summary, I’ve always had a passion for coding and still do. I guess you could say my love for “magic” hasn’t died out since I was a kid. Nonetheless, my goal here at Modus Create is to learn from others and see what kind of magic there is to explore!

React JS

On my second day at Modus, I was tasked with fixing an issue using ReactJS. It was a directory (modir) of Modites where you could access their profiles by clicking on their names. The profile would display an image and name of the employee, as well as the current date. The only problem was that the “current date” was actually ten days ahead and my task was to resolve this issue. At first, I had no idea what to do. The code seemed so foreign to me with the new ES6 JavaScript. The only knowledge I had was my basic understanding of HTML/CSS and JavaScript from videos on Code Academy I watched in fourth grade. Despite being extremely lost, I had one asset that could help me resolve this issue: a programmer mindset. After a few minutes of banging my head against the wall and some critical thinking, I figured that the date would be stored in some variable called “date” or “timestamp.” I then dug a little deeper into the code to see if there would be like a “+10” or something like that added to the date variable. Finally, I found that the problem was in here:

const processTimestamps = (records: Modite[] = [], date: Date) => {
     const nowUtc: Date = new Date(date.getTime() + date.getTimezoneOffset())
     records.forEach((item: Modite) => {
          const itemDate: Date = new Date((nowUtc as Date) - (item.tz_offset as number) * 60000)
		item.localDate = monthDayYear(itemDate)
         })
}

The issue was that there was an extra argument in this function that grabbed the current date of the local user rather than the current date of the modite. I couldn’t have solved this, however, without the help of others.

After resolving this problem, I immediately started watching all the YouTube videos I could on React starting from the beginner level. It didn’t take me very long to find out that React was a super hard JavaScript library to learn and that it would take me quality hours to learn this stuff. Nevertheless, my pursuit to master React has not diminished because I’m still intrigued by all the powerful applications that can be developed using this tool.

The Modus Community

Going into this internship, I thought I was a pretty experienced programmer. I mean hey, I’ve published three apps within the past year, right? Wrong. It became apparent to me that my code was inefficient and bulky when I started working with the programmers at Modus. These are some of the most talented programmers I’ve ever met, including people like Mike Schwartz and Grgur De Grisogono. I’m not going to lie, the first day I arrived I was really scared. I was worried that the other developers would look down on me for writing 20 lines of code when it could’ve been done in only 5. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be accepted in the workplace because I was the new guy. I was scared to even talk to some of the developers because I realized they were way out of my league!

Then I realized, there is absolutely no need to feel this way. The members of the Modus community are some of the most caring and helpful people you’d ever meet. When I was struggling after hours trying to run a React application, for example, Mike Schwartz was there to provide me with an in-detail response on how to solve it and provide me with learning material. When I was STILL struggling on the React app 4 days later, Grgur De Grisogono was willing to take about an hour of his day to call me and see what the problem was. People like this make me so excited to work for Modus because they have a desire to improve themselves and the people around them. Jay Garcia’s philosophy of “leave your ego at the door” is clearly more than just words coming out of his mouth. This philosophy is applied throughout the company and it is known here that the collective success of the company triumphs over individual merit.

Conclusion

I guess you could say my first week at Modus was quite an experience. As I said before, engineers are the magicians of today and this holds true for those at Modus Create. Modus is like a collection of the most talented magicians, and I’m here learning from the best of the best. It sounds a little cheesy, but it’s the only way to describe it. With that being said, I absolutely love the environment, people, and the learning experiences I’ve had within the past week at Modus. I’m ecstatic for the weeks to come and the people I’ll meet. You’re going to see me in the following weeks with more blog posts on my experience here, so stay tuned!


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