Alex Wilson

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Intern Series: Making an Impact Across Two Summers - Meet Talía Ayala-Feliciangeli

Talía Ayala-Feliciangeli is a rising senior at Georgia Tech who has spent this summer working remotely as a Product Design Intern. As a returning intern with two summers of remote work on the same team under her belt, Talía is leaving her internship with a unique set of experiences and lessons about #LifeatMongoDB. From the transparency about future visa sponsorship to one-on-one professional development that she’s received, Talía has spent these two summers impressed with the supportiveness of MongoDB’s program and her peers. In this interview, you’ll hear more about what’s made MongoDB a lasting fit. Alex Wilson: Hey Talía! It’s so good to meet you! I want to start this final interview of the Intern Series with one of the questions that I’ve been asking everyone: what brought you to MongoDB? Talía Ayala-Feliciangeli: During my first round of interviews with MongoDB, my recruiter asked me how I would feel about living in New York long term. I remember being super shocked that a recruiter was being so open about what an internship could turn into, especially when she started describing how MongoDB approaches the sponsorship process with employees who are from outside of the U.S. As an international student, it can be challenging to navigate the process of applying to jobs or internships. Unfortunately, not all companies are open to hiring individuals who may require sponsorship at any point in the future. The call with my recruiter was the first time I experienced a company being so open and honest regarding the immigration logistics that international students have to constantly think about, and it made me realize how supportive of a company MongoDB is. Both MongoDB and the specific position I had applied for seemed super interesting, but ultimately what made me decide to intern at MongoDB was the professional support, encouragement, and excitement I felt from the recruiter, the researchers I spoke to, and everyone else I had the chance to meet throughout the interview process! AW: Awesome! It’s so meaningful to see these experiences of openness and encouragement echoed so strongly. What sort of work have you been doing? TA: I work in the UX research team, which is a part of the larger Product Design team at MongoDB. The research team is currently growing, and it's exciting to get to learn different approaches to research through conversations with the new team members! My favorite project so far has been the Atlas Billing Alerts project I'm currently working on. It’s my favorite because due to the nature of the project I’ve gotten the chance to understand how different teams across MongoDB collaborate to build the billing experience, and the participants I’ve spoken to have had very different needs than the user groups I’ve worked with in the past. The stakeholders for the project are closely involved and have provided me with valuable feedback at every step of the project,which has helped me hone my approach to research and have a better understanding of how to translate stakeholder needs into research goals! Plus, I got to meet people throughout different teams at MongoDB which I hadn’t spoken to previously,such as Technical Account Managers and Cloud Support Associates. AW: I think it’s so interesting that besides being a return intern, you’ve also been able to return to the same team. How was your professional experience different the second time around? TA: As a return intern, I had the unique experience of starting the summer already understanding how different teams and processes work at MongoDB. I felt that this knowledge translated into me feeling more confident about my work: onboarding was much quicker, I had context for the projects I was working on, and it was much easier for me to connect with stakeholders for my projects. At times, I felt like a full-time researcher rather than an intern! Plus, having the same mentor both summers meant I got to meet her for coffee and hang out before the internship started this summer,which meant a lot. AW: That’s so great. Having worked remotely both summers, I was wondering if you could speak to the extent that your team supported you virtually? TA: At the start of the summer, my mentor and I had conversations about what I find harder to accomplish when working remotely. After identifying what those things were, we brainstormed ideas of how I could address them and how my mentor could support me with them. For example, I have a harder time staying focused when I’m working remotely from my apartment. My mentor and I decided I would create a detailed timeline breaking down what I needed to do for each of my projects, and we scheduled regular check-ins twice a week so I could share my progress and get her feedback. In general, my team provided a lot of support within this remote work model by creating spaces for me to consistently ask for feedback on my projects or just chat about our approaches to research. In the past I was almost shy about asking for feedback, but my team setting aside time for us to chat about these things despite being remote really helped me grow! AW: That’s definitely an enormous upside of such a collaborative company culture! Have you found that culture to be a positive fit? TA: The culture at MongoDB is incredibly supportive, encouraging, and collaborative. My background is in psychology and research, and I was concerned with how a lack of a technical background could impact my work at MongoDB. Everyone I’ve reached out to has been super friendly and more than happy to share their knowledge (or just have a coffee)! I’ve also really appreciated how encouraging my team members are when it comes to me learning and exploring different interests, be it a side project with another intern, implementing new tools for research, or chatting about the research goals I have. AW: As someone with a political science background, I can definitely understand the fear of coming into the tech industry without a very technical background, so it’s great to hear that you’ve also had such a positive experience tackling that learning curve—thank you for your willingness to share. Finally, I’d love to hear what your favorite thing about MongoDB has been! TA: My favorite part is that I get to have ownership over my work: while my mentor has provided me with constant guidance and support, I’ve always felt that I am given the freedom and trust to decide how to go about my work, from structuring actionable research plans to conducting user studies. While it was intimidating at first, it has been an incredible learning opportunity to understand how to conduct UX research in an industry context! Interested in interning at MongoDB? Our 2021/2022 Software Engineering Summer Internship for the US is now live and accepting applications for students

August 30, 2021

Intern Series: Mentorship Opportunities Galore - Meet Elena Chen

Elena Chen is a rising senior at the University of California, Berkeley who is working as a Software Engineering Intern in our New York City office. After learning about MongoDB from her friends, she decided to spend her summer here so she could complete socially impactful work while benefiting from a renowned professional development program. Through the summer, she’s found incredible support from her mentor, enjoyed community in Underrepresented Genders in Tech (UGT), and unwound with an awesome group of peers. Keep reading to hear about what’s made Elena’s time at MongoDB so special. Alex Wilson: Hey Elena! Thanks for taking the time to tell us about your time here at MongoDB. First, can you tell me a little bit about how you got here? Elena Chen: Well, some of my friends interned at MongoDB before and they all told me that they had such a great time here! But one of the biggest reasons I decided to intern at MongoDB was that I had the best recruiting experience here. I felt supported, respected, and valued by the Campus team and the interviewers throughout the entire process. I thought that must be what it is like to work at MongoDB and I wasn't wrong! Moreover, I always wanted to work for a company that is contributing positively to society. Knowing that I will be making software that helps developers around the world build valuable applications and services, I decided to intern at MongoDB. Lastly, I chose MongoDB because it has one of the most well-organized internship programs in the industry. Besides providing mentorships and the resources for interns to succeed on their technical projects, the program also consists of intern social events, speaker series, and engineering roundtables. I wanted to immerse myself in all of these events so that I could make the most out of my internship and have a fun and memorable summer! AW: Amazing! Has your work ended up being this positive? And what’s the best project you’ve worked on? EC: My favorite project would be my main project for this summer! I am building Evergreen's new Waterfall page, also known as the Project Health page. It is the page where MongoDB engineers can view status summaries on the tasks run for their projects. The new design of the page is going to enhance MongoDB engineers' user experience on Evergreen. I love my project because it will be used by MongoDB engineers and have a meaningful impact even after my internship ends. Additionally, working on this project has been an enjoyable and rewarding experience. Every day I look forward to building the next part of the page, and seeing everything coming together has been one of the greatest feelings and senses of accomplishment I have ever experienced. I feel competent in tackling the next major component and yet challenged to think hard and learn new things. While polishing my React and Redux skills and writing industry-standard code, I have learned to write GraphQL queries, schemas, and resolver functions. I have also learned to create front-end testing using Cypress and Storybook, two technologies I would have never used in a classroom setting. AW: Of course, the 1:1 mentorship is such a huge part of MongoDB’s internship experience. How’s that been for you? EC: Besides answering my questions and helping me resolve technical issues, my mentor has been my biggest support and cheerleader since the beginning. Every day he blocks out an hour on his calendar as "office hour" to answer my questions and code along my side. Every week, he asks me how he can better support me and make my internship a great experience. He celebrates my accomplishment every time I complete a task, and he guides me through the challenge every time I am blocked. One thing my mentor has helped me with is boosting my confidence. Having never worked at a big company before, I was afraid at the beginning that I did not have the experience or skill to do well at my job. Nevertheless, my mentor reassured me and gave me a positive outlook on the project. He always tells me that he believes I will be able to finish my project by the end of my internship, and his faith in me has been one of the biggest drivers that motivates me to work hard every day. AW: I heard you’re also part of MongoDB’s affinity group Underrepresented Genders in Tech (UGT)—have you also found support there? EC: When I joined UGT I was paired with a UGT mentor. To me, my mentor has been a great source of support, help, and fun this summer. We met every two weeks where she checked in on me to make sure my internship was going great and I could ask her any questions. Sometimes we ate together over Zoom, others we talked passionately about Euro 2020 soccer games. From my mentor, I was able to learn a lot more about MongoDB and things outside my own team, and I received a lot of help with my final intern presentation. Just knowing that I have my UGT mentor to go to if I ever get stuck has been a great comfort to me. UGT has also allowed me to learn about career development through its career panels. I really valued these opportunities because it was about something I could not have learned in school. One thing I loved about the event was that I was able to hear from mentors not just from my own field, software engineering, but also from product design and managerial roles. Because everyone came from different backgrounds and had different experiences, I was able to relate to each mentor on different points and apply their advice to my own life and career. Some of the mentors were once interns, and some were in positions where the mentees would want to be in three years, so it was amazing to talk to them and learn about how we could get to our next goal. What I have learned from the two panels has been eye-opening to me and will set me up for a successful career. I am so happy that I joined UGT this summer because it has provided me with a community of mentors whom I could reach out to for help and advice. I actually just coffee-chatted a UGT mentor this morning. I was amazed by her experience and wisdom at the UGT career panel, so I reached out to her, and she was glad to set up a short talk with me. In my opinion, what I learned in my thirty minutes with Samy would have taken me at least a year to figure out on my own. She gave me a fresh perspective on going to graduate school and working in the industry, and I left the meeting with all my questions answered and a sense of clarity. AW: Before we go, can you tell some of our prospective interns about what you’ve learned about the company this summer? EC: One thing I have learned through my interviews and the internship is that everyone at MongoDB genuinely wants me to succeed! During the recruiting process, my recruiter sent me a lot of resources to help me prepare for the interviews and learn more about the company. I still remember I thought I did so poorly on my first interview that I emailed the recruiter afterward to apologize for my performance. But she quickly reassured me, and it turned out that I was just the worst critic of myself. During the interviews, I felt as if I was coding alongside the interviewers like coworkers. They pushed me to find the best solution to the problem and guided me when I was having trouble finding the bug. I really enjoyed meeting the recruiter and the interviewers during the process, and I could not wait to work with these people one day. After starting my internship at MongoDB this summer, I realized I made the right decision. My project mentor, my teammates, my campus program manager, and everyone else I have met here have been nothing but supportive and helpful. Since day one I feel I have been provided the resources and support to succeed in my role. My project mentor and campus program manager also meet with me often to make sure that I am on the right track with the project and discuss how they can better support me. My teammates also help answer my questions daily and make me feel welcome in all of the team events so that I could have a successful and fun internship. Whether you are just starting the recruiting process or about to embark on your journey at MongoDB, know that you will be supported by a group of people who want to see and help you succeed in your role and in life! Interested in interning at MongoDB? Our 2021/2022 Software Engineering Summer Internship for the US is now live and accepting applications for students

August 25, 2021

Intern Series: Self-taught Engineer Meets Atlas Core - Meet Ojima Abraham

Ojima Abraham is a rising junior at Franklin & Marshall College who is working as a Software Engineering Intern at our New York City office. A self-taught developer, Ojima brings a unique perspective to his work on the Atlas Core team, where he’s been grateful to find meaningful support, consequential work, and lasting friendships. In this interview, you’ll hear about the people and culture that have made this program a perfect fit. Alex Wilson: Hey Ojima! Nice to meet you. I heard that you’re a self-taught engineer, which sounds so impressive. Can you tell me more about that? Ojima Abraham: The process was both exciting and daunting; since I had no personal computer at that time, I had to use my phone to learn and practice coding, but it was exciting because I was fascinated by the idea of giving the computer some instructions and seeing the computer execute those instructions. Later on, I was able to ask my friends to use their computers for practice while I taught them how to write basic HTML and CSS code in return. AW: Wow—that’s fantastic! What ended up bringing you to MongoDB? OA: I was just looking up summer internships and found MongoDB as one of the options. But I decided to intern at MongoDB because of my interview experience. One of the things that was emphasized the most during the interviews was how interns get to do work that makes it to production which I thought was very exciting; I didn't want to spend my Summer working on some "intern project" that was going to be thrown away at the end of the summer. I also really liked how supportive and positive all my interviewers and recruiters were. AW: Absolutely. I’ve got to agree there, the Campus Recruiting team has some awesome people. What team have you been working with this summer? OA: I am currently interning on the Atlas Core (Atlas 1, 2, 3) team. MongoDB Atlas is a database-as-a-service that enables you to build applications and scale faster. Atlas Core 1 has really enabled me to work on very interesting, challenging, and useful projects and that has been one of the highlights of my internship experience. In the simplest way possible: I am currently working on a new feature that will allow users to add a new collection type that would automatically organize itself in buckets, making it easy to be queried. This project has really challenged me to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. I've been able to push myself to learn more about Online Archive and the components of our project. AW: What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned this summer? OA: Normally, I would want to list one thing that's related to developing my technical skills, but I feel like the most interesting thing I've learned this summer is how the different roles in a tech company work on a technical project from inception to production. I've been able to learn the roles that Product Managers, Engineers, Project Managers, Technical writers, and others play into making a product successful; I've been able to learn about the different areas of agreement and compromise and how strong communication is important among these different roles in a tech company. AW: Have you gotten support along the way? OA: My mentors have been the most supportive people I know! I've learned so much from them, gained so much support from them and feel like I have been able to make lifelong friends with my mentors. They are always available to answer any of my questions, have been very patient while helping me learn the things that I don't know, they have given me ownership of my work and have made sure I have never felt lost in this internship! The other interns on my team have been so supportive, providing me with great feedback and support. I genuinely feel like it was the perfect fit! AW: I’m so glad! More broadly speaking, would you say this supportiveness is a central part of MongoDB’s culture? OA: I would describe the culture here at MongoDB as supportive, positive, uplifting, inclusive, and caring. Everyone is willing to help you, answer your questions, push you to become your best self while making you appreciate your own individual strengths and celebrate the diversity of thought and experience that everyone brings to the company. AW: And have your self-taught roots influenced your experience here at all? OA: ​​I feel like because of the initial challenge I faced while learning to code, it removed the fear of stepping into unfamiliar territory at MongoDB. I'm not afraid to pick up challenging and unfamiliar tasks/tickets because my mindset is always "I'll figure it out somehow, just like I figured it out when I first started learning to code." AW: That’s a fantastic mindset. Thanks so much for taking the time to share your experience, Ojima. I just have one final question: what’s your favorite part about being part of the MongoDB community? OA: This might sound cliché, but hands-down the people. It's just a positive environment where I have found my own people and have never felt out-of-place at all. Everyone seems happy to be here and that infectious happiness is spread around everyday. Interested in interning at MongoDB? Our 2021/2022 Software Engineering Summer Internship for the US is now live and accepting applications for students

August 18, 2021

Intern Series: Making Remote Work Meaningful (and Fun!) - Meet Sophia Li

Sophia Li is a rising senior at the University of Waterloo who is currently working remotely as a Software Engineering Intern. This summer, she has been a part of the DevHub Platform Team, where she’s working to build out MongoDB’s growing Developer Hub. Despite working remotely from Canada, she’s been excited to get involved in hands-on work and find meaningful support from her professional community. In this interview, you’ll get to hear more about how Sophia has made her remote internship experience one to remember. Alex Wilson: Hey Sophia, it’s so good to see you again, since we last spoke at the intern learning and development event—I’m excited to hear about how your summer’s been! First though, can you tell me a little bit about what brought you to MongoDB in the first place? Sophia Li: I decided to intern at MongoDB for many reasons. First, I loved that there was a wide range of teams for me to choose from. From Core Server to Education, I think there is truly something for everyone. I also loved the flexibility of the type of work I was able to do. I was able to choose between frontend, backend, and full-stack. Many engineering teams work with tools and technologies that I’ve never used before, so I was initially concerned that this would make me a weaker candidate, but that was not the case. During my interviews, I learned that teams are very open to giving interns the chance to work with new tech and are willing to teach it to them. Overall, speaking with my interviewers gave me a great sense of the company culture. MongoDB felt like a company where I could learn, grow, and thrive. AW: That’s so great to hear! I definitely agree with your take on the company culture. What team did you end up choosing? SL: I am interning on the DevHub Platform team! We work on building the Developer Hub which houses code, content, tutorials, and more to support developers that use MongoDB. It’s a relatively new team that consists of me, two full-time engineers, a product manager, and a product designer. AW: And what work have you been doing with them? SL: I am spending this summer working on a new portion of the DevHub site. Specifically, I am working on a new page that features information about MongoDB’s Community Champions program and features our current Community Champions. MongoDB Community Champions is a program initiative led by the Community Team. This program aims to strengthen our relationship with external MongoDB advocates in the developer community. The landing page is used to educate developers about this program and its eligibility. Aside from building the landing page, I am working on an application form that will allow people to apply to the program. I will also be creating a bio page for each Community Champion! Much of this work involves creating the UI and managing data. I recently created a new Community Champions API with Strapi (our CMS), and used GraphQL to query the API from the frontend. I’ve been able to work with Strapi and MongoDB on the backend, and Gatsby and React on the frontend. A cool challenge I found was implementing responsive design. This was important in order to provide a great user experience on all types of devices. This is a very fun project for me, and I love being able to touch both the backend and frontend. I have learned tons since I’ve started this! AW: Nice! That’s such meaningful work. I’m sure that finding a supportive team is especially important during your time working remotely—how has that been? SL: I think my team and mentor have done a fantastic job of setting me up for success. They have been a great help and provided me with lots of support from day one. They are so resourceful and knowledgeable, and I have been able to learn so much from them! Being pretty new to web development, the project I was given felt daunting at first. I felt like I had to learn from scratch, but my mentor made it really easy for me to do this through his guidance (shoutout to Jordan!). My mentor took the time to help me ramp up by scheduling multiple sessions to teach me certain topics, give me walkthroughs, or pair program. We have weekly 1:1s where I get to express what’s on my mind and communicate my goals. Despite working remotely, I was always able to get the help I needed. My mentor always made time to answer my questions and explain things thoroughly to help me develop a better understanding of what I was learning. I have also received valuable feedback from my mentor through code reviews which has helped me become a better engineer. AW: I’m so impressed that you’ve found this much value in your remote experience. Is there anything that you’ve learned about yourself in the process? SL: I’ve learned that remote working can make it more difficult to set boundaries because there is no physical separation between work and your personal life. As a result, I make a conscious effort to take regular breaks. Luckily, I’m always encouraged by my peers to take breaks at work. The 1:1 check-ins I have with my mentor and campus program manager are a great time for us to discuss how I’m doing and how they can support me better, and they make sure I'm never overwhelmed with work. I use my breaks to get away from my desk to eat, recharge, and spend some time in my backyard. I’ve also learned that remote working requires you to put more effort into communicating with others in order to avoid feeling isolated. But my mentor is very responsive and has made remote communication between us easy. Whenever I need help, I will hop on a call or send a Slack message to them. My team also has weekly “work periods” where we all hop on a call and do our work together which kind of mimics an office environment where we’re all at our desks. In terms of growth opportunities, I feel like working remotely has given me a higher level of independence and autonomy. I’ve been able to enhance my time management skills as I have to hold myself more accountable to complete tasks, and of course, having a fun project to do that genuinely excites me also helps. I was assigned a really interesting project which motivates me to come to work everyday! AW: Clearly, you’ve had some great professional experiences, but to close, I would love to know: have you been having fun? SL: The campus recruiting team has put on some awesome virtual intern events this summer including a Spain trivia game, escape room, and chocolate-making class! These events were super fun to attend, and I have been able to meet other interns through them as well! I am also a part of the Underrepresented Genders in Tech affinity group, and we recently had a game night which offered a really great opportunity to connect with other members of the group. In addition, I occasionally do virtual game nights and catch-ups with a group of remote interns. These social events have definitely helped make working remotely a lot less isolating and lonely. I have also been doing coffee chats with other interns and full-timers which has been a great way to make connections and get to know people on a deeper level! Interested in interning at MongoDB? Our 2021/2022 Software Engineering Summer Internship for the US is now live and accepting applications for students

August 12, 2021

Intern Series: Finding Community While Owning Production - Meet Carolina Obregon

Carolina Obregon is a rising senior at Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico who is interning in our New York City office. She’s spent the summer with the DevRel Platform/Education team building a quiz widget for the guides found on Carolina has been excited to gain exposure to start-to-finish software development cycles, and in this interview, you’ll get to hear how she has found meaningful support both in her professional circle and from her membership in MongoDB’s Underrepresented Genders in Tech (UGT) Affinity Group. Alex Wilson: Hey Caro, it’s so good to see you! Can you tell me more about how you found out about MongoDB’s internship program? Carolina Obregon: I first applied to MongoDB's Women in Computer Science Summit all the way back in 2019 and while I wasn't accepted to attend that year, I kept receiving emails from MongoDB about blogs and future openings! When the next recruiting season came, I remembered MongoDB's openings and decided to take the chance and apply to the internship program! I was really happy to even get the first interview and even happier when I received the offer. AW: Why did you choose MongoDB for your internship? CO: As a software engineer, it's very important to me to be in a company that has an engineering centric culture so that I'm working with exciting technological challenges, a modern stack, and teammates that I can learn a lot from. Additionally, I really wanted to be part of a company that really cares about their employees, diversity, and company culture, and throughout the recruiting process and talking with past interns and current employees, I found that MongoDB really checked all the boxes I was looking for. AW: That’s great! What has your day-to-day looked like since you’ve been here? CO: The team I work on is part of the greater Developer Relation Platform/Education organization, which is key for all our developers to learn MongoDB from basics to advanced topics required to run MongoDB in production systems. My team specifically is responsible for developing the systems which run MongoDB documentation's website ( Documentation is crucial for MongoDB since the core of the product is essentially targeted at developers. My intern project is creating a quiz widget that is going to be displayed throughout the guides and will ask our users key multiple choice questions about the content that they’re currently reading on. It's exciting that I've gotten to work on this project from start to finish and really experience how the software development cycle works in the industry, from working with the product manager to the product designer and receiving support from the other engineers on my team to make this all happen. AW: Awesome! Anything particularly interesting that you’ve learned? CO: I've gotten to work on a lot with Javascript's React. I had done previous personal projects using this framework, but it has been very interesting getting to work on it in a real life production environment and receiving guidance and feedback from my teammates on how to keep improving my skills. AW: It must be so gratifying to do work with such tangible results and have clear growth opportunities—and that sounds fascinating. Has your team given you much support in this work? CO: They were really good at ramping me up and making me feel comfortable with the work and tech stack from the beginning. Giving me small tasks to start off and after I was comfortable enough, assigning me my own project to develop on my own. The whole team has been super attentive and helpful throughout the whole summer, and making sure that I'm constantly challenged, learning, and getting help in my work! AW: Fantastic! Is there anywhere else you’ve been finding support? CO: Getting the chance to be part of UGT (Underrepresented Genders in Tech) was a very fulfilling and meaningful experience. The Campus Team assigned a UGT mentor for each of us and prepared many events throughout the summer that ranged from talking about our personal experiences to fun game nights. I really enjoyed getting to know other interns and full timers who are also part of the affinity group. In the short time that I spent here, I’ve found MongoDB to be very supportive of underrepresented genders. Taking in the fact that women make up 46% of the intern class, I always felt that I was in a very comfortable and open work environment everytime I came to the office. AW: It’s been so nice to hear that you’ve had such a meaningful summer. There’s one last thing I’d love to hear: you talked about the company culture as part of the reason why you came to MongoDB—what have you found out about the culture since you’ve been here? CO: One of MongoDB's core values is Build Together, and I think that the company culture really stems from that. It is a very collaborative, friendly work environment where your teammates and co-workers legitimately care about your wellbeing both personally and professionally. Interested in interning at MongoDB? Our 2021/2022 Software Engineering Summer Internship for the US is now live and accepting applications for students

August 6, 2021