My Boulder Summer at Viget

Starting at Viget

When Viget notified me that I would be a summer 2013 intern at its Boulder, Colorado office, I was incredibly excited. I was also plenty nervous since I had never lived more than two hours from home before. It didn't even seem real to me until I was cramming 10 weeks worth of items into two suitcases and getting ready to go to the airport. In retrospect, I had nothing to be nervous about. When I arrived at Viget the staff was friendly, welcoming, and just as professional as you'd expect from a Boulder Digital Agency that's so well-respected within the industry. I came into my internship with a solid foundation in front end development and I'm leaving with a wealth of new knowledge in the area.

The success of my learning experience is due in no small part to both Doug Avery and Jeremy Fields—my two advisors for the internship. When I couldn't get a div positioned where I needed it, they were there to help. Couldn't figure out how to work with paths in an SVG image? There to help. Couldn't figure out what I was doing because I had written hundreds of lines of code with no comments? There to help—and more importantly, to teach. They weren't the kind of advisors who would sit down, fix my code, and then walk away. They were the kind of advisors who would sit down, explain why my code wasn't working and how I could make it better, and then walk away. Even when the 'how to make it better' was just 'leave some comments once in a while.'

The Group Project

I'm coming out of this internship a much better web developer than I was when I came into it and you can't ask for much more than that when it comes to summer internships. While at Viget, I worked on three different projects. The biggest was a team project with the three Boulder Viget interns. Will, Alex, and I made a Ruby on Rails-based “rock, paper, scissors, shoot” game called Battle of the Hands. This is the project that took up the bulk of my time at Viget. I marked up the designs I was given, experimented with animations, and even got to make a power bar for the two fighters (A.K.A hands) using Javascript.

The Personal Projects

My two personal projects were very different. The first one involved marking up a responsive landing page for a fictional website. This was a great learning experience. I enjoyed getting to call some of the design shots when faced with the challenge of where to place elements when a user is on a mobile device. I also got to make a carousel from scratch using CSS3 animations and even use HammerJS to make its interactions touch-accessible on mobile devices.

My second personal project was more flexible in terms of what I could do, so I chose to incorporate a topic that had fascinated me from the day I arrived in Colorado: the wildfires. My first day in Boulder, my mom and I took a drive up Flagstaff Mountain on the outskirts of town. About 20 minutes into our drive, we saw the charred remains of an area of the mountain that looked like it had been burnt down a year or two ago. A few weeks into my internship, I read an article that listed the most destructive wildfires in Colorado history and how much damage they had done. I wondered where these fires were all located and decided that I wanted to take this information and give it a visual representation. Thus began my second personal project.

I purchased an SVG map of the state with each county outlined and did research about the causes of each individual fire. Although the article didn't list the causes, I thought that they were an important—if not the most important—piece of information in relation to the fires. As amazing as the fires are, they're also terrifying and horribly destructive. If somebody playing with my map sees that a huge, destructive fire was caused by somebody throwing away a lit cigarette, maybe it could cause them to think twice before doing that. My interactive map can be found here.

Wrapping Things Up

Much like my coming to Colorado didn't seem like it was actually happening, my departure feels equally surreal. I'm incredibly grateful to Viget for giving me this opportunity to learn, explore a new region, and grow as a person. I'm excited to see my family and friends, but I'm also sad to see my time here end. I know I'll always look back on this summer as one of my favorites. Thank you to Viget for playing such a large role in that.

Samii Ruddy

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