Getting to Know Ada Developers Academy Graduate Brandi Wilson

Here at Skytap, we take every opportunity we can to promote and help support Ada Developers Academy, a local non-profit software development school for women. Ada is tuition-free and places the school’s graduates in a five-month internship at one of Seattle’s amazing software companies.

We’re beyond proud to sponsor Ada Developers Academy and to have one of their recent graduates as an intern here at Skytap. Meet Brandi Wilson!

What have you really enjoyed getting to work on, and what’s something you’re really proud of?

Brandi Wilson, Skytap software engineering intern
Brandi Wilson, Skytap software engineering intern

I know it’s cliche, but I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve had the opportunity to work on so far. Everything I’ve worked on has been so different and I’ve been able to touch a wide variety of areas in the web frontend codebase. I’m incredibly grateful for the variety of work available.

Many of the tasks I’ve worked on so far were directly assigned to me as pocket projects, but I have to say I’m proud of the first bug I personally pulled off our ticketing system. I remember being quite intimidated by the bug, but one of my goals for my internship is not to shy away from daunting tasks. In the end, the fix turned out to be a lot easier than I originally anticipated.

What’s something that has surprised you about your role?
It was pleasantly surprising how quickly I integrated with the web frontend team. I didn’t expect to feel so at home with a group of people. They, like everyone at Skytap, are all so incredibly helpful and supportive; I can’t imagine interning somewhere without the amount of encouragement and help I’ve received. Not only that, but I have never once felt like I was “just the intern.” From day one, I have felt like a valuable member of the web frontend team, even though I still feel like there are major gaps in my technological understanding.

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How did your time as an Ada cohort prepare you for your internship?
While in the classroom, Ada taught us Ruby and JavaScript, many key concepts important to web development, and computer science fundamentals. We worked on over a dozen different projects both individually and in groups. I think the amount of hands-on work we had was invaluable for preparing us for our internships.

What’s been something really challenging you’ve worked on that you could advise current and future Ada cohorts really work at?
What was really challenging about moving from the classroom to the workplace was accepting that it’s normal and completely okay to feel slow. I think a lot of us were so used to drinking from a fire hose—which is what we were expected to do at Ada. We were building and completing entire projects every one to two weeks, and it was hard to go from that to completing a single task in the same amount of time.

Between learning your way around a large, unfamiliar codebase and going back and forth on a code review, everything takes much longer than you expect it to. Taking the time to read and understand the code you’re working with may make your pace feel agonizingly slow but doing so will help you greatly in the long run.

What are you looking forward to working on in the future?
I’m really looking forward to working on a larger scale project. Specifically, I’ll be converting one of our legacy pages, which is in an older codebase, to look like one of our newer pages. It’s a fairly self-contained project, but there are still a lot of moving pieces, and I’m very excited to have the opportunity to bring those pieces together.

Also, if possible within my remaining time at Skytap, I would love the chance to take a look at what some of the other teams are working on. Being so fresh to the tech industry, I want to learn as much as possible about the different positions available out there.

If you’re an aspiring software developer or a company looking for an incredible sponsorship opportunity, we encourage you to check out the Ada Developers Academy

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