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Spencer Brown

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My Internship Experience - Spencer

My Key Learning Takeaways

My Key Learning Takeaways

  • vim/wemux
  • Git flow
  • Testing
  • Agile
  • How to investigate problems in an existing code base
  • “implementation details” –> how to stay focused on the right level of detail

Why I chose to accept Continuity’s offer

(potential insight for things to stress in future interviews/talks with candidates)

  • My primary goal for the summer was to maximize my learning. I thought I could best achieve this at a small company where I could wear a variety of hats and have a direct involvement in solving key problems. I received offers from two small companies (Continuity and a company in Indianapolis). Here’s why I chose Continuity:
    • Opportunities to work with full-time engineers:
      • I didn’t want to be isolated; I wanted to have exposure to full-time engineers in order to absorb as much masterful Rails knowledge as I could! Pair programming was perfect for this. I was leaning toward Continuity throughout my decision-making process, and once I learned that I’d be pairing with full-time engineers for the summer, I felt that it was undoubtedly the best choice.
    • Culture fit with the team:
      • I thought that everyone I interviewed with was really cool and I loved that the team was involved in organizing meetups. When Ben sent me a list of resources I could study leading up to the internship, he said, “We are going to push you to be the best hacker you can be…” I loved that he used the word ‘hacker’ (it got me super excited; I remember showing a friend and making him jealous).

What was done well

  • Everyone was welcoming
    • Everyone I met from Continuity was incredibly welcoming. Dan picking me up from the airport, Zach inviting me to hang out, and receiving sprited introductions to everyone in the office were all fantastic. When I asked Jim for a ride to Kent for the trip to Marnie’s parents’ place, he said, “Of course! You’re part of the family now!” It really felt that way, and that was an awesome feeling.
  • FT engineers were excited about teaching
    • I was really worried about not knowing enough heading into the summer. Not only was everyone on the team happy to answer questions, they seemed to enjoy teaching me.
  • The engineering team treated me like a FT engineer
    • I really liked the experience of diving into the role of a FT engineer (rather than doing an intern project).
    • Having my opinion valued in meetings was great.
    • I felt like a ‘true’ member of the team.
  • I was able to tackle a diverse spread of problems
    • Having the opportunity to work on AWS devops, bootstrap/front-end, and SQL in addition to Ruby/Rails was awesome.


  • Continue doing things from the ‘What was done well’ section.
  • Continue including interns in meetings, but make expectations clearer. At first, I wasn’t sure if my opinions were welcome.
  • It might be good to do a demo or give a fly-over explanation of Control when interviewing intern candidates (or a similar alternative). I understood the concept of Control before the summer, but had no idea what it looked like/how it functioned.
  • It might be good to offer learning resources for interns by default. I reached out for them and found them to be really helpful (especially The Humble Little Ruby Book).
  • Focus on a more even split of driving time when pairing at the beginning of the internship. We were able to achieve this over time, but it would have been good to have a greater focus on it from the beginning. I felt that even if the person I was pairing with was guiding me entirely, it was helpful for me to be the one driving us through the code.
  • Onboarding:
    • Explain company structure/roles
    • Show company/product roadmap (earlier)
    • Have Andy give his intro to interns (earlier)
    • Doing db setup/pairing setup/etc. on the first day (rather than beforehand) felt hectic to me. It’s possible that this is a common onboarding practice and I just haven’t had exposure to it, but I would recommend having this stuff set up before an employee’s first day.

Wrap up

  • This summer was fantastic. Coming in, I felt like I held relatively high expectations regarding how much I would like the team and how much I would learn. Going out, I feel like all of my expectations have been significantly exceeded. You guys were way more awesome than I could have imagined and looking back, I realize that I’ve learned an enormous amount of information spanning from Mediterranean food to variable hoisting. I’m confident that this summer will prove to be an extremely valuable experience for me in the future. It sounds like Continuity has a very promising future and I’m looking forward to seeing its continued success. Best of luck to all of you in your Continuity journeys! Thanks for being such welcoming and excellent mentors over the course of the past twelve weeks!