June 4, 2017 ~ 8 min read

I survived my first week! (Interning in San Francisco Week 1)


Obligatory first day of work selfie

It's crazy to think that my first week here has already come and gone.

Quick Update: I'm loving it.

I won't lie, I was a little skeptical of San Francisco before coming here. It's dominated by the tech industry, doesn't get warm in the summer, and rent is crazy expensive.

I'd heard people love it here...but why?

After my first week here, I think I'm starting to get it. The food is amazing, it's easy to get around, and there are beautiful parks everywhere.

Biking home from Fort Mason

Biking home from Fort Mason


I can't talk much about the specific project that I'll be working on this summer due to an NDA, but I can tell you what my first week has been like, and a few takeaways I've had thus far.

So far, work has been a mix of working through a trello board of on-boarding tasks, team meetings, and pair-programming with a full-time Braintree employee.

This week, we didn't do much actual coding, but we did start digging into the codebase we'll be working in to better understand the current architecture and potential solutions for the problem we're trying to solve.

My pairing partner works in the Chicago office, which has led me to my first key takeaway for this week.

The tools for seamless remote work are here.

To most people already working in this industry (and likely many people outside of it as well), this probably seems obvious, but it is something I'd never experienced for myself until now.

Braintree has a strong culture of pair-programming, and with the combination of slack calls, and a tool that let's you seamlessly share a vimux window, everything is smooth regardless of where in the world your pairing partner is.

That's pretty cool.

People take their keyboard shortcuts seriously here.

"Will I be getting an external mouse for my Macbook?" I asked on my first day.

They laughed.

People don't really...use a mouse around here.


The Office. Source: The Muse

My notebook is already cluttered with various keyboard commands for vim, tmux, as well as Mac OSX as a whole.

All development here is done within tmux/vim using a setup we call vimux. You have to get up to speed fast.

I still have a long way to go, but here's what I've been doing to get proficient at navigating vim as quickly as possible.

  1. Go through vimtutor every day. The first time through might take you awhile but after each iteration you get a little faster. I've been doing this and it's probably the thing that's helped me the most.

  2. Whenever you have a few minutes to kill, pop open a window in vim. Practice navigating around to drill shortcuts into your head.

  3. Ask. During pairing sessions, anytime my partner did something super useful that I didn't know how to do, I would ask what shortcut he used, and then jot it down in a notebook. Practice using these whenever you get the chance.

  4. Transition to using only vim, even for projects outside of work. After a few days of vimtutor, you'll probably reach the level where you can do all of your development with vim. You might be a little slow at first, but that's okay. I recently made this switch myself, and I can already tell it will pay dividends. Plus, there's something so satisfying about correctly using a cool keyboard shortcut.

You are enough.

I won't lie, the first few days of the internship were stressful.

I was jumping into a new work environment, working with technologies I've never touched, on a scale that none of my projects have come remotely close to.

By the end of my first two days, I was finding it tough to not get down on myself.

What can I possibly offer to Braintree when I am surrounded by people that know so much more than me? What if I'm not good enough? How will I ever reach the level of everyone around me?

If you've ever felt this way in any facet of your life, I think it's helpful to take a step back.

Regardless of who you are or what you're doing, you have something unique to offer.


Sightglass Coffee

Rather than focusing on how far I have to go, I try to focus on what I can do every day to get a little bit better.

So what can I contribute to Braintree?

I'm still not sure, but I do know that I can bring energy, excitement, and a hunger to learn every day.

Exercise and meditation have also been extremely helpful for helping me get over the feeling of being overwhelmed. I recently started using headspace, which I'm really enjoying so far.

Outside of work

Despite being busy with work this week, I did manage to do a little exploration of the city.

First things first, I bought a bike! The bike was $70 dollars off of craigslist, and already it's been 100% worth it.

If you know anyone in the area who wants a bike at the beginning of August let me know, because I'll be selling it at the end of the summer.

On Monday I met up with Alix (shoutout) at Fort Mason (about a 2.5 mile bike from my apartment). She showed me around the area and took me out to my first meal in SF.


Pacific Catch

I got a poke bowl. It was amazing. Enough said.

I seriously need to figure out how to recreate it if I ever get my hands on some fresh tuna.

Shoutout to Vicki as well for taking me to bi-rite creamery. ice cream

Bi-Rite Creamery

The people working there were great, giving us a constant stream of free samples and putting up with our indecision.

I now have a google doc full of things do while I'm here. There's no way I'll get through everything but feel free to add to it if you have strong opinions.

Yesterday morning I walked down to the Ferry Building to check out the Saturday morning farmer's market. I didn't buy anything (we already have too much food) but I'll definitely be back next week.

Interview Prep.

Now for some honesty.

I didn't touch interview prep this week. At least for the first few weeks, I've realized that I want to spend the majority of this time to learn some of the tools/technologies I'll be using at work.

Here's what I've been working on:

Ruby On Rails (RoR)

With my project this summer I'll be doing a lot of Ruby on Rails work.

Not only have I never touched Rails as a framework, I've never touched Ruby either. This week I got my personal computer setup for RoR development and started working through this book.

So far I'm really enjoying the change of pace from the full-stack javascript world.

Rails gets you up and running super quickly, and it's interesting to look at the differences from the node/express approach I'm used to.


Sometimes I cook things

Here's a few miscellaneous resources that I've found helpful to learn about some of the other technologies I'll be using this summer:

Open Dev Day

Every other Friday at Braintree is Open Dev Day. Essentially that means that you get to spend the day exploring whatever you want and building something cool. The first one of my internship is this Friday.

I'm still thinking out ideas. If you have any thoughts about something you think would be cool/fun to build, let me know.


I'm still working towards making this happen. I reached out to another potential guest this weekend and I'm continuing to work on questions for my outline.

The more I learn about voice and Alexa as a technology, the more I see it as a huge opportunity. Gary Vaynerchuck recently published an article about [The Rise of Audio & Voice](The Rise of Audio & Voice). If you have some extra time, it's worth the read.

Amazon is doing a huge promotion for the month of June to give an echo dot to anyone who publishes an Alexa skill. Whether you are a developer or not, I highly reccommend taking an hour to work through one of the tutorials, both for a free dot, and to get a better understand of the voice ecosystem.

That's all for this week folks. Check back next week for more updates and fun stories. Thanks for being here.

Maxi Ferreira

Hi, I'm Taylor . I'm a software engineer/maker/amateur chef currently living in San Francisco. You can follow me on Twitter , see some of my work on GitHub , or read about my life on Substack .