One of the reasons why I pursued a degree in Computer Science was because I wanted to create cool things to help people in any way, shape, or form. Shortly after, I was introduced to the world of Mobile App Development and soon became heavily interested in this world of Computer Science.
Given that my interest started to lean towards Mobile App Development, I began learning Android development in school and building apps for fun and for classes. I was determined to gain some professional experience in the mobile development field right out of college. However, being a new grad can be a scary time as you transition from the academic world to the real world.
My Very Good Discovery of Very Good Ventures
In October 2020, I was nearing graduation and began speaking with my mentor, Eric Seidel, about my plans post graduation. After discussing my interests, my mentor shared a link to an article about Very Good Ventures Chicago. After reading that article, I started to dive more into VGV’s blog posts and that’s when I discovered an article detailing the VGV internship experience.
After reading the internship article, I just knew this was a place I could see myself working and growing as a mobile app developer. I visited VGV’s website contact page and gave a brief introduction about myself and why I was interested in working at VGV. Shortly after, VGV’s Head of Engineering, Jorge Coca, contacted me and we set up a time to chat over Google Meet. During our meeting, I discussed my interests and Jorge planned a roadmap with me to prepare for the interviews and adequately find the best role for me if I were to join the team.
After going through the interview process, I spoke with VGV’s president, David DeRemer, who told me about the company itself. A few days later, I was extended an offer and couldn’t wait to join the team.
I spent the first month of my internship learning the Flutter framework. Given that my background is in Android development, there were a lot of things I would have to get accustomed to. I met with my supervisor, Jorge Coca, every week and he laid goals out for me which helped me learn important features of Flutter. I began to work on small tasks for an internal VGV application. As I learned more, I started to get more challenging tasks. If I ran into any trouble or had any questions, everyone on the team was super eager to jump on a call and help me.
Eventually I started to become more comfortable with Flutter and I started to hit the goals Jorge had set up for me during our weekly meetings. Jorge and I soon had a chat about moving me over to work with the team on a client project. I was slowly brought onto the project and began with simple tasks to get familiar with the codebase.
For my second month, I spent most of my time working on client applications, pair programming with the team, and participating in client meetings. One of the things I loved about my internship was the ability to do pair programming with the team members. I‘ve always had this fear of being thrown in the deep end and struggling to stay afloat, essentially being stuck trying to figure out something alone. VGV made sure I never felt lost. With paired programming I was always able to express my concerns, bounce ideas off my team, and get feedback or advice for the aforementioned ideas.
Month 2 was also met with a second onboarding process. Since I didn’t have much experience with the Bloc Library, Jorge spoke with me about spending a week to learn this since state management is pretty important in our app development process. I spent the first few days of my onboarding 2.0 process researching and learning more about Bloc + Cubit and what they have to offer versus other state management architectures.
The following days, I dove into creating a sample project to build upon the knowledge I gained from my research. My sample project was the Weather Tutorial App which demonstrated how to manage multiple blocs and dynamically updating states. Once I finished the weather app, I synced up with Jorge to relay what I learned and we both thought it was a success. After I felt comfortable with Bloc, I returned to my client project and started understanding and asking more questions about how we use Bloc. I felt relieved knowing that if there were any gaps in my knowledge, I could get sufficient help.
At this point, I became amazed at how far I’ve come since starting my internship. I continued to work on client projects with my teammates, and my confidence grew stronger. I felt way more knowledgeable and aware of how to approach problems and felt that I had the tools to succeed. In meetings I also wasn’t afraid to express concerns or discuss my approach to a certain task. The tasks got more difficult, which really tested my knowledge, but I was able to overcome them all.
My 3 months at VGV allowed me to grow as a Flutter developer and find confidence I didn't have before. I was initially worried that my internship being virtual would hinder my growth, but luckily VGV was with me every step of the way. My internship reaffirmed to me how fun and intricate mobile app development is and it’s something that I can see myself doing for a very long time.
Latrell Thomas was a Software Engineer Intern at Very Good Ventures in 2021.