Interning at NinjaDojo

Posted On: Oct 12, 2018

Found in: Internship, Programming, Software Development, Team

Ever thought about quitting your soul sucking job, taking a bit of a leap of faith and trying something completely different?

I did, and it all worked out okay (mostly thanks to the awesome team at NinjaDojo Software.)

Hi, I’m Murray and for the past few months (up until quite recently) I’ve been one of the interns scurrying around the building at NinjaDojo Software. I’m writing this guest blog post to talk about how the experiences I had, the skills I learned and the projects I built set me up for a career as a full stack developer.

After teaching in a difficult school for a couple of months, I was thoroughly burned out.

A bit about me. I started off my career as a music teacher, having completed a Bachelor of Music followed by a Diploma of Education. Soon after I moved into computing teaching after completing a couple of computer science units at university. After teaching in a difficult school for a couple of years I was thoroughly burned out.

I had been interested in changing careers into software development for a while and although I had the basics down and had built a couple of small projects, it wasn’t anywhere near the experience or the skills that most employers needed to see. The guys at NinjaDojo Software got in touch, offering me an internship which would train me up as a full stack developer. In essence it was more of a mentorship, they offered me assistance, training and a clear path to becoming a capable developer.

It's no picnic, becoming a full-stack developer.

The first few weeks were really hard, moving from simple online tutorials to fully featured full stack web applications was difficult as all hell. While I can confidently say that I had the basics of programming down, creating modern web applications was an entirely different ball game. Things just didn’t click, suddenly there were not just new languages to learn but frameworks and libraries, each with their own set of quirks, ways of doing things and confusing documentation. I felt guilty for asking so many dumb questions but John was always really helpful and explained things in a way that made a lot more sense than the documentation/online tutorials did.

As the weeks went on I became more confident. My annoying questions to the team became less of the “how do I do something” kind and more of “what’s the best way to do something” kind. I learned how to connect my database to my backend - my backend to my front end via an API, what an API actually was and the list goes on (full disclaimer: CSS is still wizardry, though Josh and John did teach me how to use chrome developer tools which made the front end experience slightly less painful). It was also great to see during this time what a small but dedicated team of developers can actually accomplish. The high standard of work produced by the team is something I truly am in envy of. It was obvious that everyone really cared about the quality of the code they were putting out (no hacks!).

Around the two month mark I began applying for jobs. To my surprise I actually got some responses and an offer which I accepted. I can confidently say that the only reason I am working there now is due to the projects I had been working on at NinjaDojo Software. The fact that I could show knowledge of SQL/Databases, Javascript/React and backend knowledge with Go and Python meant that I had something to backup my feeble claim of being a semi competent developer.

I’ll always be really grateful for my time at NinjaDojo Software, I can say for certainty that I wouldn’t be where I am now without all their help. The ability to practice something every day with a strong mentor and a hugely knowledgeable team really fast tracked my learning. To any future interns that may be considering the opportunity, I would highly recommend the experience.

Murray Watts