As a freshman in college, I knew my first summer would be an important one. I knew that how I spent my time would set the foundation for the remainder of my college experience and future career.
Having developed mobile apps in the past, participating in hackathons throughout all of high school, and volunteering my time as an Android Developer on campus, I was a programming enthusiast. So, I wanted to spend this summer gaining professional experience as a software engineer.
Discovering Very Good Ventures
When I came across Very Good Ventures, I was immediately interested. The company was innovative in its adaptation of multi-platform app technology using Flutter and very entrepreneurial in their pursuits. As an aspiring mobile app developer myself, I knew this would be a great place to grow as a developer and entrepreneur.
After reaching out to David DeRemer, VGV’s president, and interviewing with Albert Lardizabal, a Principal Engineer on the team, I was extended an offer and was excited to begin.
I spent the first month of my internship learning the Flutter framework and working on personal projects. During my first week, I met with my supervisor, Albert Lardizabal, to discuss my goals and to create an action plan for the summer. After figuring out the gaps in my knowledge, we decided that my priorities would be to learn state management architectures (such as the Bloc Library), continuous integration/development practices (using Codemagic), and testing.
I spent the first few weeks researching these topics and creating sample apps to consolidate what I learned into tangible projects. My first personal project was a Flutter Playground application that is meant to be a testing ground for various Flutter widgets. The full repository can be found here.
My second project was a news application that allows users to search for stock-related news for various companies. The full repository can be found here.
While building these projects, I had biweekly code reviews with my supervisor to assess my code quality. These meetings were very helpful for learning how to write clean code that scales easily.
During this time, I was also helping with VGV projects. On June 27th and 28th, VGV helped host the world’s largest Flutter Hackathon - Hack20. Leading up to the day, the team needed help testing the website they built as well as marketing the event. I ran tests on the website to detect bugs, wrote social media posts, and contacted Flutter influencers to help spread the word. Read more about Hack20 in our blog post here.
During the second month of my internship, I became involved in VGV’s client work. The first client I worked with was a lottery corporation who was looking for help with their mobile application. My role was to research security solutions for their app and help determine which SDKs suited their needs.
The second client I worked with was Google’s Flutter Team. I was responsible for providing technical support for developers on one of their Flutter Discord servers and writing weekly reports for them.
The third client project I worked on was by far the most involved. I worked with a financial services company to help build their mobile app from the ground up using Flutter. I was involved with implementing user registration features, banking features, and writing end-to-end tests.
Working with clients was an incredibly rewarding part of my internship. It enabled me to explore various types of work, and it taught me to be adaptable. In addition, it allowed me to make real, palpable contributions that will potentially affect millions of customers around the world, and to me, that’s the most fulfilling part of this career.
When I initially received an offer in January, the plan was for my internship to take place in VGV’s New York office. However, once the pandemic hit, this was no longer the case. While I was initially a bit worried about how a virtual internship would go, my doubts were cleared almost immediately after I began working. The VGV team members created an inclusive and supportive virtual environment, and I am immensely grateful for all the mentorship I received.
My 12 weeks at VGV allowed me to grow both professionally and personally. I’ve become a more experienced developer, studied the product management aspect of projects, and learned how to maintain relationships with both clients and teammates. Most importantly, I’ve gained a new sense of what this career path entails, and it’s something that I love.
Sahit Penmatcha is a rising sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania, pursuing a dual degree in Computer Science and Economics. He worked as an Engineering Intern at VGV in Summer 2020.