web development
August 15th, 2014

Experience is the great teacher

Aaron Block
Development Intern

You can learn a lot from books. But there’s one thing (at least) that books can’t replace: Experience.

This summer, I was an intern at P’unk Ave. I had the opportunity to learn a lot about design and web development throughout my internship, but I also learned that you learn more from one thing more than any other. More than books or articles or tutorials, the thing that you learn from most is experience.

The advantage I have at P’unk Ave is that I am surrounded by people who know more than me. I am surrounded by people who are better at web development than me. I ask a lot of questions and the answers I get contribute considerably to all that I learn. I am working with all of these people who are professionals in a field that I aspire to be a professional in and I’m happy to say I think I took full advantage of that experience.

In the crazy world of web development, it can seem like there are more glitches than working parts. CSS is filled with idiosyncrasies especially and JavaScript and HTML exhibit behavior that you may not expect from time to time as well. Throughout my time at P’unk Ave, I learned that if I come up with a way to do something that seems kind of crazy or convoluted, it may be the right way to do it. This leads me to my next point: try it. Your way of doing something may not totally work but you may be surprised how often your way is the right way.

For me, coming up with ideas to practice my programming skills is never the issue. The issue is sticking with them when I hit a bump. When I realized there was some problem that I didn’t immediately know how to fix, my instinct was to back away slowly. The things that give you the biggest problems are harder but they also hold the most learning value once you tackle them.  Since the start of my time at P’unk Ave, I’ve gotten into the habit of writing things down. I write what the problem I’m trying to fix is, I write things I’ve tried that have not worked, and I write down all the methods and strategies I come up with that I think might work. For me, writing stuff down is a way of keeping track of my goal. I always have an ultimate goal, but often the intermediate steps are a little more abstract in my mind. By writing all of my goals and strategies down, I am able to make sure I stay on task and always know what I am doing. Not only does this help me fix those problems that I am not confident I can solve but it also makes the work more engaging for me.

In six weeks at P’unk Ave, I learned a lot about web development, I learned a lot about design, but I also learned a lot about how to learn. People have always told me that practice was key in becoming good at something. While I didn’t dismiss what they said, I didn’t exactly understand how true it was. For a lot of people, this will sound redundant but it’s worth saying. Practice makes perfect.

I’d like to thank everybody at P’unk Ave for making my experience here so great. Everyone was very welcoming and nice and more than happy to answer any and all of my questions. I really enjoyed being able to work at P’unk Ave and hope I can continue working with them in the future.

 

Aaron Block
Development Intern

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