The latest crop of interns at Kanzu Code sat down for a debrief, to share from their work experiences this past year. And, based on their one-word descriptions, it is fitting to conclude that it has turned out to be a worthwhile endeavour for each of them. Ahmed, Daniel, Maria and Goretti spoke of the team at Kanzu Code as Reliable, Supportive, Educative and Available.

What did you enjoy most while working at Kanzu Code?

Ahmed: Learn from the experiences of more seasoned professionals.

Ahmed: I thought the Team building programs were phenomenal. Our team had been tasked with building a new product, and we all worked on it remotely. Despite it being a very collaborative process, we barely met each other physically.  Therefore, it was always a welcome change of pace to occasionally get to be in the same room with my teammates, and be mentored by Jerald Muhwezi, our Supervisor. It was the ideal space that provided affirmation for the things we were doing well, and guidance in the areas where we were struggling to handle our code. These moments forged a real camaraderie within the group, and particularly with our Supervisor. We felt fortunate to be able to glean unique perspectives from such a consummate engineer and seasoned professional.

In their response, Daniel and Maria both agreed that the calls with Jerald, their Supervisor were the high points in their experience. These calls were spent debugging code and would often go on till late into the night. Daniel mentioned that the support he felt during these sessions enabled his learning immensely and made his journey at the Company that much more enjoyable.

Gorretti was spoilt for choice and remarked that she enjoyed the entire process of working both with her teammates and supervisors: Jerald and Timothy. The experience of trying to get their code up and running was particularly memorable because they were also preparing themselves for the eventual presentation that they would make to the rest of the team at Kanzu Code.

Are there any skills, or aspects of our culture that you will carry into the future once you leave Kanzu Code?

Ahmed: Yes, certainly. I know I have benefitted from the emphasis on Time management at Kanzu Code. I previously had a hard time keeping the balance between my personal and professional life, but working here forced me to plan out my days so that I always knew how, when, and where to focus my energies. I hope to continue in this discipline moving forward.

Effective Communication is also a skill I have had to nurture while at Kanzu Code. As a professional, it became important to continually keep my bosses and clients informed whenever I was developing a product. I made them aware of what I was doing, how much I had done and what I was looking to do next.

From a technical standpoint, nothing has proved more central than the ability to debug errors on the codebase. I have learned that one must always expect that errors will emerge from the code. Therefore, debugging is a necessary skill set to have, to identify problems in the code and address them effectively.

Finally, purposely asking for help has been key in my productivity. The biggest lesson that has stuck with me from this experience is that I am always better off learning what I do not know than staying caught up in what I already know.   

Daniel pauses before he says, In regards to skills, I am grateful to have learned how to debug code, as well as how to collaborate using Git and GitHub on a team project. And when it comes to the culture at Kanzu Code, it has become apparent to me how important good communication is in ensuring the effectiveness of the whole team. It is an integral part of the collaborative process. Your teammates need to always be kept in the loop of what you are doing and planning. If they are not, the whole process is undermined. On top of that, you acquire a reputation for being unreliable.

Maria: Team work makes the dream work.

Maria Is single-minded in her take away, when she says very simply “Teamwork”, while Goretti echoes some of what the boys have mentioned. Going forward, she will be more intentional not just about communicating, but also, about doing it via the right channels. Additionally, she learned the wisdom in consulting others and hopes that whatever position she holds next, she will be able to do her work with excellence; delivering according to expectation. And just like Daniel, she said that the skills she has acquired learning how to debug code and collaborate on Git, testing code, are invaluable.

 What have you learnt during your time here?

Ahmed: To begin with, the technical skills, including working with ReactJS, TypeScript, TypeORM, Formik for form validations and also setting up relational entities on MySQL database. These have been indispensable, allowing me to understand the nitty-gritty of how applications interact within themselves. I have also taken great strides in improving my ability to debug code and was even entrusted with handling dry runs before demos. Finally, employing agile principles/methodologies in getting into projects has given me a perspective on the best direction to take while embarking on seemingly complex and technical ideas.

Daniel: You only know you can do something after you try it!

Daniel: I guess my most enduring lesson would be one I learned from Timothy Kasasa. He was a constant source of motivation for me and consistently pushed me to be curious about new ideas and bold about trying them out. He once said to me, Daniel, you must dip your toes in the water and get your feet wet. When you begin to drown, only then will you know how good or bad of a swimmer you are, and that is when you seek help.  

Maria: Just like Ahmed, I have become more proficient in the technical aspects of a job like this. This experience has made me more confident in my skillset. 

Gorretti: I now not only better understand, how to go about doing my job, but also at what point I should consult from more experienced colleagues; too soon and I will not know the right questions to ask, too late and I will have wasted valuable time.

What advice would you give a person your age seeking to be an intern in the tech industry?

Ahmed: Success for them might come down to two things: Confidence about the things they know and open-mindedness about everything they have no idea about. They should always be ready to take on a challenge and be adaptable while they work alongside other people to solve problems. Also, being honest and consistent will serve them very well.

Daniel: I cannot overstate how important it is to be proactive, or how many opportunities will open up for them if they practice this. Even when it is never expressed., you can be sure that the team you work with appreciates you for it. The results of working this way are easy to track, it is evident in one’s performance as well as in their relationships with their colleagues.  I would rather you took my word for it, but if you don’t believe me and are willing to stake your job on this, just try to fall back for the next couple of months, and then pay attention to all the challenge and stress that will quickly follow.

Maria: My two cents would be that diligence in managing time and a commitment to excellence, are the things that are guaranteed to distinguish them from their peers.

Goretti: They should always remember that a career is a marathon, not a sprint. Keeping this perspective will be helpful especially when obstacles appear in their path. The senior developers they admire were once also just beginning, they succeeded thus far because they kept their end goals in mind. 

Goretti : Your career is a marathon, not a sprint. Pace yourself!

Hearing Ahmed, Daniel, Maria and Goretti speak about these ideas of teamwork, and work ethic, one cannot help but feel proud about the growth they have managed in such a short time or expect that they are on the cusp, about to launch into rewarding careers. Kanzu Code has always been keen to work with young and bright new minds in the tech space, hoping to be able to offer them a good foundation that propels them onto bigger and better things.