But programming was only a byproduct of my Master’s work and I began to realize if I wanted to identify as a programmer, I needed a more holistic understanding beyond the subset of packages and functions I used for my Masters work.
I spent my first month or so understanding the library, then eventually creating custom blocks to import, transform, and visualize data. I’d go to bed perplexed, and in the morning jump out of bed with a solution. Git allowed me to make code worse before it got better. Eventually I even stopped referring to Happy Git with R. I learned how to work in branches and review code. I no longer questioned my abilities, figuring things out became a matter of when.
A little over halfway through the internship I had a working user interface and a palette of blocks. I found myself looking at the code written at the beginning of the internship and squirming. I could write this again. Better.
TidyBlocks 2.0 began in a fresh repo where I cleaned up and abstracted the code. Once functioning, the webpage was overhauled again to use the React.js framework, a popular tool for front end web developers.
I could talk about the specifics of the tool I developed, but I think what’s more important was that this internship gave me the space to learn tools and concepts I wanted to master by building something I am not only proud of, but know people can benefit from.
There’s also workshops offered to interact with employees outside of your project – I learned how to be a TidyVerse instructor with Greg Wilson, and created a blogdown website with Alison Hill. I strongly attribute having a professional web presence to my employment and Alison will forever be my mentor AKA #RMom. I also learned a ton from the other interns in the cohort, some of whom I’m sure I’ll be friends with forever.
I wanted to write an objective post where I measured the skills I had going into the internship against the many skills I gained, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how profoundly this internship changed my life. Not only has this job empowered me to become a professional programmer, but it also gave me an insight into what an inclusive tech company looks like and what constitutes a healthy work life balance. I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to learn from the people I hold so much respect for. I strongly believe anyone who is motivated and excited to learn would gain immensely from interning with RStudio. As much as I try to remain quantitative, what I’ve gained is immeasurable.