Interview with the Interns
Kalamuna is a company that aims to help its employees grow, increase their aptitude with open-source technologies, and provide a space for them to learn from one another. It had been some years since we had developer interns at Kalamuna, but our Director of Technology, Anna Mykhailova’s passion for the cause and relationship with her alma mater inspired us to restart the program this year.
We recently had the privilege to help develop and mentor two young, vibrant, and motivated professionals: Mariam Khalifa and Jacob Meloche. We sat down with Mariam and Jacob at the conclusion of their 3-month internships to hear about their experience with remote work and discuss their career ambitions.
What brought you to invest in developer education?
Jacob: Six months ago, I enrolled in the Interactive Media Specialist graduate program at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario. Before that, I had been programming as a hobby for about three years.
Mariam: I started Fanshawe’s Interactive Media Program program in 2018. After graduating, I did some freelance work (web design and front-end development). Six months ago, I then decided to enroll in Fanshawe’s graduate program to advance my web development skills.
What'd you want to accomplish with Kalamuna? Why choose our program?
Jacob: I was very excited to apply my skills in a practical setting. I was also interested in working on large projects with highly skilled developers.
Mariam: I wanted to gain industry experience and apply what I’ve been learning. I was very excited to learn new skills and work on large-scale projects.
What did you learn?
Jacob: I learned so many things, both general and specific. The most transformative thing I learned was the power and importance of teamwork when it comes to web development. Working on large projects at Kalamuna has shown me what can be accomplished when developers work efficiently with one another. I also learned a lot about my skills and how to develop them.
Mariam: I learned lots of technical skills related explicitly to Drupal and frontend development. I also learned soft skills such as the importance of teamwork and effective communication.
How will you apply this learning?
Jacob: I think moving forward professionally, I will be better prepared to market myself and contribute to a team’s success. I will also have a better understanding of many of the work processes surrounding web development.
Mariam: I believe it will help me get a full-time job in the industry. I am ready to kick-start my career with the experience I gained at Kalamuna.
Do you have a favorite memory?
Jacob: It was a great experience overall. I really appreciated the career guidance that I received from different team members at specific points; I also enjoyed successfully solving problems, etc. Of course, I liked the tacos as well!
Mariam: When I received my first taco!
What gave you a sense of accomplishment?
Jacob: The feedback that I received, and any time I was able to solve problems that seemed too difficult at first.
Mariam: Finishing any task that was assigned to me. But, the launch of Kalamuna’s new website after being directly involved in some of the last-minute tasks.
How would you describe the culture at Kalamuna?
Jacob: Kalamuna seems like they are genuinely on a mission to do social good. It seems that technology is used as a means to this end, and it was nice to work with a team that I felt stood for something. I felt that values like cooperation and friendship were also part of the culture at Kalamuna.
Mariam: I would say it’s a culture of respect, integrity, and teamwork. I am happy to be a part of a team that is so dedicated to helping non-profits and very conscious about choosing their projects.
Any advice for future generations of developers, or technologists in general?
Jacob: I would say do your best to learn as many new things as possible. Try to look at the things you don’t know as opportunities to develop your skills. If you get stuck, you can always ask questions. In my experience, there are usually many people willing to help.
Mariam: Just take it easy. There is a bit of a learning curve, and it takes time, patience, and lots of questions.
[End of Interview]
While developers early in their career path have a lot to learn, they are also uniquely positioned to contribute to agencies. Their fresh perspective can often lead to new ways of thinking, and their experiences experimenting with newer technologies can broaden the range of possibilities.
For Jacob and Mariam, this was a precious experience, both personally and professionally. They learned a great deal, demonstrated work ethic and professionalism, and truly impressed our team with their ideas and passion.
We could not be more excited to continue our collaboration with Mariam, who recently accepted a full-time position with us as a Junior Developer!
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