It all started with an internship: My Journey with SeekandHit

Starting out as a developer can be tough, especially if you're going at it alone. I learned that the hard way, but I also discovered that having the right work environment can make all the difference. That's why I'm here to share my story with you and offer up some key takeaways.

Tonino Kaštelan 1 year ago
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My journey as a developer started back in high school when I caught the coding bug, and since then, I’ve faced many challenges, but also many successes. You will see the impact of a good environment in this, but also the role you have to play and what you need to bring to the table. 

I hope that my story can motivate you to take the next step and guide you as you start your own journey as a developer.

Before SeekandHit

My journey started back in high school when I was exploring different subjects to find what piqued my interest. I discovered coding and was immediately fascinated by what could be accomplished with just a few lines of code. 

However, learning how to code on your own can be incredibly difficult. I didn’t even know what I wanted to do with it at first and really needed some guidance and assistance.

With the help of my friends who had more experience than me, I made some progress. However, we all hit a point where we were unsure of what to do next. And this, I think is, the first step you need to take. You need to realize that you are stuck and spinning in circles. Luckily, we were always attending meetups and we kept connected with the Split dev community. Eventually, we found out about a Python weekend organized by and SeekandHit. The coding workshop was incredibly informative and we learned more in a few days than we had in months of self-educating. After that experience, it was clear what our next step should be.

After mustering up the courage for a step like this, I emailed SeekandHit and asked if an internship would be possible for me. Luckily, they said yes, and my journey continued.

The Internship

I had an interesting journey at the company. When I first joined, I was in between highschool and college, and obviously pretty inexperienced. The project I was introduced to at the time was relatively big. I have never faced something like that. Luckily, with the project also came a mentor. He eased me into the project, offering me guidance at every step and help whenever I needed it.
I started working on small tasks, and as I learned and gained experience I had the opportunity to work on larger, more complex tasks. This allowed me to slowly but steadily grow as a developer. 

Throughout that summer I have learned something which would take me ages to learn by myself. Unfortunately, I had to leave since I wasn’t sure if I could balance my upcoming college duties and the work at the company.

Going to College

After the internship, it was time for college. The first year was pretty rough. The college approach to education is very different compared to high school one. It is fast paced and relies on you and your capability to learn by yourself, to be able to get through it all. Once you get used to it, you get slightly more independent in the learning process.

In my opinion, if I had to highlight some of the most critical lessons that college imparts, this would likely be the most significant one. It is the skill that helps you advance in different areas of your work and possibly, life. 

The more I went through college, the easier it was to manage my time. After nearly two years of being in college, my company mentor reached out to me regarding an available position, inquiring if I was interested in giving it a shot. I thought it over and realized that a big chunk of my day was spent hanging out and sipping coffee. Even if I took the job, I could still have time for myself and hanging out with my friends. 

I think that people are always capable of more than they think they are, the fact is that we are slacking off when we are able to slack off. Ultimately, I went along with my thinking and arrived at the conclusion that I should take the chance and give it a try.

Coming back

As I returned to the company, I started as a junior.  Even though I now had more experience, I still felt like I needed additional guidance to expand my developer skills. My requests were greeted with open arms and I got to work with technologies that I’ve never heard of before.

My first project

I was placed in a team that worked with projects in areas which were new to me. At first, I did maintenance and small features to learn my way around the project. Some time later, a request for a new project arrived. This new project would need to be written in an obscure language none of us have even heard of. It was pretty intimidating at first. But, nevertheless, my mentors thought I was ready to design and develop this project with their guidance. I know this can be really frightening, but I found that if you just go along with it, after some time you turn around and realize: “Huh, I thought I would never be able to learn this, yet here I am.”

Eventually the specification for the project was ready, and with that, my research and development started. The technology was pretty obscure, and finding resources was very hard. To make it even worse, I couldn’t find any project which even remotely resembled the one I was supposed to create. 

The research was pretty difficult and time consuming. I was progressing, but relatively slow. Every now and then my mentors would meet up with me to have a sync and check out how the project was moving along. Even though the technology was even more foreign to my mentors since I did most of the research, their input was vital. Their experience allowed them to find approaches to solving the problems at hand which were unimaginable to me. It was an incredible learning experience. I took those approaches and their way of thinking, and tried to apply it myself. As a result, the project progressed much more quickly and before long, I was able to develop a functional prototype well ahead of schedule. 

This project was the grounds for my promotion, ending my Junior Developer career, becoming a full-fledged developer. 

The proper guidance from my mentors, and the experience they brought to the table accelerated my learning and growth as a developer. 

I think that an important thing is to acknowledge your successes but also realize how big of a part everyone else played in it. I feel this is the only way we can properly grow, not only as developers but also personally.

Moving on

After 7 months of working on the mentioned project, I was getting interested in picking something else up and expanding my knowledge in different directions. The company had no issue with this. They fulfilled my request and allowed me to work on another project which interested me. This is actually the project I am working on right now. While onboarding on this project I was surprised to see the variations of how different teams function and how they approach similar problems.

All of these approaches were good in their own way, each had its own merits. When you think about it, this is extremely good for someone still learning and acquiring experience. You aren’t confined to the view of how one person/team functions. Instead, you are presented with various methods, and you can select the one that suits you best and aligns with your beliefs. 

A year and a half into this project I am still learning new stuff, both from the team and through the project. Through this project, I have been able to work on a number of different technologies. I’ve had the chance to get into diverse areas of the job, ranging from backend development and proxies to data engineering, all thanks to its scope and the diversity of it. This is the reason I have stuck with it. Nevertheless, I am confident that if I were to wish to work on something different in the future, I would be able to.

Looking back

From where I am standing now, I feel extremely confident that I made the right decision choosing SeekandHit. It has given me the opportunity and space to grow, which in my opinion is one of the most important things for an aspiring developer. 

There is a vast pool of experienced talent in the company, all ready to mentor you and guide you through your career. The variety in their approaches and experience allows for growth in different paths. 

Another crucial thing when starting out as a developer is not to get treated as a “code monkey” and get sidelined. Here, your mentors won’t allow this, they will keep pushing for you as long as you aspire to be more than what you are. The only thing they ask in return is that you are willing to develop yourself and not just wait on them to teach you everything.

Other than the learning opportunities, the environment is relaxed and great. Considering that the job can get difficult at times, you need this kind of environment to ease it on you and not have you additionally stress about going to the office.

As a working student, I have a lot going on in my life. Having job duties, college duties and a personal life can sometimes get hard to balance. But you can’t allow yourself to stop your personal life because of your duties and responsibilities. This can be hard at times so it is important to have a dose of flexibility, which is exactly what Seekandhit offers. Through communication we always managed to work out a solution during the working hours. 

All in all, I hope my story helped you. I think this is a great place not only as a starting point, but also as an environment to grow and progress further. I can sincerely recommend SeekandHit as the place to kick off your developer journey.


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