⬅️ Back to posts
Filter By Categories

Lessons from my summer internship with Tingono

Tommy Zhuo
August 09, 2022
  AI / ML

I’ve always been fascinated by computers and electronics.


When I was a kid, I was preoccupied by things like tape recorders, CD players, and TVs. I remember I once took apart a desktop computer in my dad’s home office. Of course, I didn’t know how to put everything back in place…That caused a bit of trouble.Getting into trouble

Lesson #1: Find a way to contribute

Fast forward to now, and it’s clear to me that I’ve always been curious about how things work below the surface. I’ve applied that curiosity over the years in places like high school summer camps and college classes.


This is how I took action to learn and to explore. And I learned a bunch of new skills with this approach, growing my understanding of concepts and theories.Get it

However, one thing I’ve learned in my internship this summer is there is a BIG difference between understanding concepts and effectively applying them. There’s actually a bit more that is needed to contribute to a great product.

Lesson #2: Stay humble, learn from others

One realization struck me in the very beginning of my internship at Tingono: I have many tools to learn and skills to hone before I can consistently contribute to the product.


This was the beginning of a humbling, yet exciting, experience.


My first order of business was to figure out what front end development is all about. I’d only heard of React and JavaScript but hadn’t yet had the chance to get my hands on them.


Yet, our amazing frontend developer, Zhikun, has been incredibly helpful. He suggested a bunch of super useful tutorials that got me up-to-speed quickly. And when I inevitably got stuck writing code, both Zhikun and our full stack engineer, Sumit, were indispensable.


Both Zhikun and Sumit were super patient with my questions, making sure I understood not only what to do but why and how it all worked together. I’m so grateful for all their guidance along the way.Grateful

What I’ve realized is that it’s okay to make mistakes. It’s how we learn. Trying things and discovering what doesn’t work is a great experience. This is what leads to learning, especially early in a career.


My UI isn’t yet perfect. But it is incrementally improving through each iteration. And…my skillset is growing.

Lesson #3: Stay hungry

I can’t (or maybe shouldn’t) neglect discussing backend development as well. Backend dev work is where I’ve spent most of my time. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do.


I find myself naturally gravitating toward building good systems. From the moment I saw it in our repo, the entire architecture of our databases and the different layers in Django compelled me to understand what was going on.Cant stop

I found myself going through the codebase on my own just for fun. Once I got the understanding, development followed naturally. I naturally enjoyed building APIs and connecting them to databases.


Occasionally I got too excited about and caught up in a new idea I had. Then I was reminded how important it is to take a step back and look at the big picture. I was reminded why it’s great to seek advice and suggestions from others.

Lesson #4: The “real world” offers endless challenges

As I approach the end of this internship, I’m realizing just how much I’ve learned from my Summer at Tingono. In fact, what I liked the most about this internship experience is that every day I learned something new. I find that exciting!Exciting

Whenever I think I’ve mastered something and can apply a solution to fit all problems, the next problem shows me something that my solution can’t solve. This forces me to reflect, explore, and find a better solution for the task at hand. I love this challenge.


No deadlines, no grades, no attendance roll calls. Yet, I am more motivated than ever to learn and to grow. I didn’t expect it to happen this way. But it is a pleasant surprise. And I am super grateful for it.