Intern Spotlight: Judah Schvimer

Francesca Krihely


This year, MongoDB welcomed 33 university students to our intern program in Engineering, Marketing and Education. In this series, we'll introduce you to the talented students who are helping us transform development and operations for how we run applications today.

I sat down with Judah Schvimer, a student at Brown University interning at MongoDB.

What is your role at MongoDB?

I am a software engineering intern working on a tool that automatically translates documentation into different languages.

How did you find out about the internship program at MongoDB? Why did you choose to come to MongoDB?

MongoDB came to the career fair at Brown University and had a table. I gave them my resume, they called me up, and the rest is history! I came to MongoDB because the company is on the forefront of technological progress in a field that has been stagnant for a while. Everyone I talked to at MongoDB was smart, nice, and loved working there, so I figured I would to.

What’s your hometown?

I lived in Evanston, IL up until college at Brown University.

Did you have previous experience using MongoDB before you arrived? If so, how are things different now that you work at MongoDB? If not, how did you learn MongoDB and how was the education process?

I had never used MongoDB before interning here. The first three days of the internship were training, which primarily involved learning the ins and outs of how MongoDB works and how to use it. The teacher was fantastic both at teaching and at entertaining us. It was really easy to setup and use MongoDB with very little training.

Bike or public transportation to work?

Public. I don’t want to get hit by a car.

What’s a typical day (or week) for you?

I wake up at 7:55am, shower and check facebook/email/nytimes. I then take the subway to the office where I have breakfast and get to work. Days mostly involve reading and coding as well as meeting with my mentors to discuss where I am, how they can help, and what the next steps are. Around noon I have lunch with my mentors or the other interns. I leave work around 6pm and either hang out with friends, watch a movie, or read my book until I go to sleep and repeat.

What do you love most about MongoDB?

I love that I feel like I can learn more from everyone. Everyone is so smart and also wants to help you. The working atmosphere is so driven but also so relaxed. Everyone works really hard and believes in what they’re doing, but at the end they want to enjoy their job and want to make sure everyone else does as well.

What’s the most challenging aspect of your job?

Every day I work on things that are brand new. When you have projects at school they’re meant to reflect the material you’ve been learning in class and you can always turn to your teacher or TAs to fill in the gaps. In my job I regularly have to work on things I’ve never learned before in an organized context and have to learn it all from my coworkers, books, and the internet. It’s especially hard when much of the material is at the sophistication of someone’s Ph.D. thesis. Learning so much is both the most challenging and most rewarding part.

What do you hope to accomplish while you’re here?

I hope to learn a lot about statistical machine translation (my project) and also to create something that MongoDB can use to enhance its product and its users’ experiences. I also hope to just learn the way software engineers do their jobs in real life. As a student so much of the software engineering experience is abstracted out to help students spend the most amount of time actually programming. In real life it’s more than that and I hope to learn those parts.

What’s your favorite Seamless lunch order?

I keep Kosher so I don’t have the opportunity to eat meat very often. When I can order a hamburger from a Kosher deli it’s a good day.

Name one secret skill you have, unrelated to work.

I’m in Brown’s (and the world’s) first and only exclusively dubstep a cappella group, Wubappella. As a result I’m pretty good at beat boxing and making weird dubstep noises.

Make up your own question. (Anything you feel like answering, this one’s a wildcard.)

What’s one piece of advice you could give to a large group of people?

Never stop exploring. Apparently it’s the slogan of The North Face, but I think it’s a pretty good one. I recently went abroad to Scotland and I had an amazing time doing new things and seeing new things. I think trying and learning new things is incredibly important to really living life and discovering who you are.

Kindle or book? What’s your favorite book?

Book. Ender’s Game is certainly the book that has stuck most with me. I was definitely one of those kids who always dreamed of being Ender Wiggin.

Describe your perfect weekend.

My favorite place in the world is the Jewish summer camp I went to for the past 10 years in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. My perfect weekend would definitely be there. Friday night I would go to Shabbat services and dinner followed by just hanging out with friends. Saturday I would spend the day talking to my favorite people in the world, tossing a Frisbee, and having no other cares in the world. That night I would definitely watch the sunset over the lake and play some sort of sport. Sunday I would go sailing on the lake and continue enjoying the magic that is summer camp.

Want to help build the next revolution in database technology? MongoDB offers summer internships and new graduate opportunities to foster computer science talent across the country.