3 min read

My Outreachy Experience So Far

As I hit the halfway mark of my internship in Outreachy, I want to reflect on my performance in the last 1.5 months. In this post, I’ll share what worked well for me, where I faced challenges, and what I can do better going forward.

Tasks Beyond My Expertise

I see this internship as an excellent opportunity for me to push my limits and explore diverse areas, even those beyond my comfort zone in frontend development. Thus, one of the things that I’m proud of is making a conscious effort not to shy away from tasks outside my usual scope.

Due to this perspective, I have gained familiarity in areas that I had no experience in. I have experienced the world of email by designing templates, and integrating them into our mail system. This journey allowed me to grasp how SendGrid, celery, and task brokers work. Furthermore, I have worked with tasks that included backend implementation, which led me to be more comfortable writing and understanding Django.

Solving problems, or adding features while learning the necessary technology and tools from scratch has been challenging, but it helped me understand that it is important to think not only about ‘what to learn’ and ‘how to learn it’, but also about ‘how much of it to learn’. Because not all the information out there will serve me in completing a task, I need to be able to filter out that information to access what I actually need to know and progress efficiently.

As I look ahead to the second half of my internship, my goal remains to continue exploring uncharted territories and expanding my skill set.

Managing Multiple Tasks

I have been working on multiple tasks at the same time to maximize my productivity and ensure a fast delivery. However, I have encountered some challenges in achieving this goal due to several things.

The most important thing that made it difficult for me to manage multiple tasks is that I could not make effective decisions on when to stop working on a task, especially when I encounter a problem. Some tasks took longer than expected, mainly due to unexpected bugs, which kept me occupied with the same task until I solved all problems. That eventually left other tasks being unattended.

What I’ll try to do for this issue is to take breaks and move on to another task when I get stuck for a couple of hours. Getting distracted from a blockage and coming back to it later on helped me better solve problems and effectively progress in multiple tasks before, and I’ll try to incorporate this method into my working style more. One thing that I should also remind myself for this improvement is that if I find myself obsessing over a problem for hours, I can always seek help from my team instead of losing a considerable amount of time.

Documenting My progress

There was something that made managing multiple tasks easier for me, which is documenting my progress in each task in detail.

When working on multiple tasks, things easily got messy, but my commitment to staying organized has been a key asset in handling that mess. I have mostly made use of Notion to track my progress in anything that I’ve worked on. While working, I actively updated my Notion workspace, detailing any encountered errors and the solutions I implemented, identifying sub-tasks, and outlining any process. With this approach, I was able to seamlessly switch between tasks without the need to remember my progress on them so far. Thus, coming back to a task after taking a break haven’t caused me to lose momentum.

Setting Realistic Deadlines

My last goal is setting more realistic deadlines for my tasks. I’ve been listing all the tasks that need to be done and breaking them into smaller sub-tasks but fail at predicting the hours/days needed for each task. The reason for this, I believe, is my lack of familiarity with new tasks, and not knowing what kind of problems I may encounter. I also don’t think of adding an extra time for unexpected problems. I will try to avoid making estimates based on the best scenario and instead consider all possible problems that I may encounter.

I’m appreciate the challenges and achievements that have shaped this journey so far. I look forward to carrying these lessons not only into the remaining weeks of my internship but also throughout my future career.