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
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
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
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
Intern Series: Finding Community While Owning Production - Meet Carolina Obregon
Intern Series: From MongoDB User to Return Intern - Meet Andy Mina
Meet MongoDB's 2021 Sydney Storage Engines Interns
Last December, in the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the MongoDB Campus Team successfully completed a virtual recruitment season for the first time in the program’s history. An important part of those new recruits were the Sydney Storage Engines Team interns. Our Storage Engines team was created by way of acquisition and contributes to the performance, scalability, and hardware efficiency of MongoDB. We asked a few interns from this cohort about what their summer experience was like: from being onboarded in a virtual environment, to working with their mentors and peers in a hybrid capacity - they even had fun perks like a free subscription to the meditation app, Headspace! Read on to hear more about what they gained from their time with MongoDB. Natalie Chwalk: I'm very excited to learn about your experiences as interns! To begin, can you tell me a bit more about what you are studying, where you attend university, and a fun fact about yourself? My name is Clarisse, I am currently studying Software Engineering at Monash University. I'm a huge foodie who loves singing, playing guitar, reading books, and creative writing. My name is Siddhartha Mahajan (Sid), and my interest in computer programming began at a very early age of 15, which eventually led me to pursue a degree in Computer Science at Western Sydney University. Besides my interest in science, I also enjoy cooking and yoga. Hi, I'm Monica. I’m currently studying Computer Science and Finance at the University of New South Wales. I'm passionate about all things data and technology-related. I also enjoy reading, photography and learning new things! Hello my name is Sean and I'm a Computer Engineering student at the University of New South Wales. I have a passion for technology and enjoy tinkering with electronics in my spare time. I enjoy spending weekends doing various outdoor activities like sailing, hiking and spending time with my dog. Natalie Chwalk: Why did you decide to intern with MongoDB? Clarisse Cheah: Through the interview process, I felt drawn to MongoDB and the people who worked there. Everyone was so passionate, kind, and amazing to talk to. I learnt a lot and it felt like they were teaching me so much even through an interview. I also used MongoDB before in one of my projects at university, and was interested to work for the company behind its great product. Monica Ng: I have always been intrigued by the fields of data and software engineering, and the internship position with the team at MongoDB seemed like it would be a good fit. Whilst interviewing for the role, I also got a sense that the engineers had genuine interest in the product and enjoyed working through the technical challenges they were faced with. I felt that MongoDB would be a great place to gain practical software development experience, collaborate with an awesome team and learn more about highly technical areas such as databases and storage engines. Natalie Chwalk: What was the experience like working semi-remote? Clarisse Cheah: I did almost the entire internship remotely from Melbourne and only went for a visit to the office for the final two weeks. It was amazing how the culture could be felt even through Zoom calls, and how friendly and willing to help everyone on the team was. Sean Watt: Working at MongoDB semi-remotely has been a really great experience. I was initially hoping to be able to go into the office full-time but was prepared to work at home for the required days. Living far away from the office, I realized a mix of working in the office and working from home was a healthy balance. It saved on long commute times throughout the week but still provided important collaboration and face-to-face time. The team was also well set up for remote work using Slack, Zoom, JIRA and other tools which made working from home just as efficient. Natalie Chwalk: What is your favorite project you have worked on? Sean Watt: My favorite project I’ve worked on has been the column store project. We were first tasked with creating an example program to understand how a developer would use the column store API provided by WiredTiger. This eased us into the project and we were then able to work on adding support for column store, to new features that WiredTiger had recently implemented. Natalie Chwalk: How have your team and mentors helped you as an intern this summer? Clarisse Cheah: I had an amazing mentor - someone who's extremely kind, patient, and intelligent. He was constantly willing and ready to help me out, and never belittled me when I didn't know something, but rather, helped encourage me to better myself through honest feedback. He really cared for me and my personal wellbeing as a person, and we got along really well. I fully enjoyed the summer with him as my mentor. Sean Watt: My team and all the mentors have helped me and the other interns a great deal this summer. In the first few weeks, we had many demonstrations by various team members about the development process and tools used by the team. Our mentors then guided us through our first individual tasks and PRs. We then started work on our project and sought help from many of the team members. Everyone was eager to help and would often jump on a quick zoom call or meeting room with us to explain a concept or help us debug. Natalie Chwalk: What is the most interesting takeaway that you learned during your time at MongoDB? Sid Mahajan: The WiredTiger sessions gave me a theoretical understanding of various components of WiredTiger. All the sessions were extremely interesting, informative and useful. Additionally, I have gained a better understanding of utilizing the code collaboration tools, for example, GitHub and JIRA. Sean Watt: The most interesting thing I’ve learned in the internship has been the architecture of a storage engine. I went into the internship without clear definitions of what a storage engine was and how it differed to other parts of the database stack like the execution layer. At the beginning of the internship one of the engineers took a session each day to introduce us to the architecture of WiredTiger. These were immensely informative and gave us a thorough overview of how the storage engine works. Monica Ng: Learning about how databases and storage engines are built, as well as the underlying architecture of WiredTiger was very interesting for me. This internship was also my first exposure to software engineering in an industry setting, and I learned that the software engineering workflow involves a lot more than just coding. It also entails meetings to discuss various projects and initiatives with engineers, leads, and program and product managers, designing and scoping out new projects, sprint planning, as well as sprint retrospectives to reflect on how we have been progressing. Natalie Chwalk: How would you sum up the culture here at MongoDB? Sid Mahajan: MongoDB has an incredible work culture. The people are highly qualified and are always willing to help, and the work is quite exciting. Clarisse Cheah: The culture here is without a doubt amazing. It's so rare to find a company where everyone is passionate about the product they work on, willing and eager to impart their knowledge, and so genuinely caring towards the people around them. Everyone here makes you feel empowered and appreciated as a part of the team, and it really urges you to learn more and strive for greater heights. Natalie Chwalk: What was your favorite part about interning with MongoDB? Clarisse Cheah: The people I've met here and the things I've learned throughout make tough competition for the top spot. I've learned so much through the people I've met, and both have been nothing short of amazing. I've worked on things that were meaningful and actually added value to the company, so that was very cool. So many great conversations, and so much imparted wisdom and knowledge. I'll never forget it. Monica Ng: My favorite parts about interning at MongoDB are the people, the strong engineering culture and the size/stage that the company is in. The people here are very open and supportive, and genuinely want to help you grow and learn. MongoDB has established strong engineering practices and whilst it is still experiencing high growth, it is still at a size where your contributions can have a meaningful impact. Interested in interning at MongoDB? Our 2021/2022 Software Engineering Summer Internship for Sydney is now live and accepting applications for students with Australian/New Zealand citizenship or Australian Permanent Residency. We have several other open roles on our team and would love for you to transform your career with us!
Intern Series: MongoDB’s Women in Computer Science Summit to MongoDB’s Swift
Nellie Spektor is a rising senior Computer Science major at New York University. She spent this summer at MongoDB interning with our Swift Driver team. Nellie will be returning to MongoDB full time in 2021 to join our New Grad cohort. Kate Wright: Thanks for chatting with me Nellie! Let’s start with how you first got exposed to Computer Science and what made you decide to pursue the CS major at NYU. Nellie Spektor: I was lucky enough to go to a high school where everyone had to take Intro to Computer Science their sophomore year and had the option to continue taking Computer Science classes all the way through to graduation. I loved that very first intro class. I had so much fun writing little functions and coding up little games, and I knew that I had found my calling. I kept taking CS classes and being amazed at how powerful coding could be, becoming a CS major was a no-brainer. KW: You’re a part of many groups that aim to create opportunities for women in the field Computer Science. Tell me about those and a little bit about your experience of pursuing Computer Science as a woman. NS: Being a woman in Computer Science has been something I have been thinking about ever since that first CS class I took in high school. I think if it weren't for the fact that the class was mandatory (and therefore had a fairly even gender split), I may have gotten discouraged and quit coding. I came fairly close to this when I got to AP Computer Science which only had 7 girls out of 34 students. The only things that kept me from quitting was that I had the memories of having so much fun in my previous CS classes, and my one female friend in the class. That friend and early exposure were key for me, and many other women never get that, which is why we see such terrible gender ratios in Software Engineering. To try and fix this immense problem and help my fellow women getting into CS, I have been a member and later a leader in two incredible women in tech organizations: Rewriting the Code and NYU Women in Computing. Being in these organizations has given me access to incredible opportunities. If I recall correctly, it was actually through a post in the Women of Rewriting the Code Facebook group that I learned about the MongoDB Women in Computer Science Summit and started on the journey that led me to my amazing internship this summer. KW: Speaking of MongoDB’s Women in Computer Science Summit, I’d love to hear about that experience and how you decided to spend your summer at MongoDB NS: I was selected to attend the very first iteration of the MongoDB Women in Computer Science Summit! The Summit gave me the opportunity to participate in technical development, mock interviews, and a panel discussion with women in engineering at MongoDB all while networking with my peers at colleges across the country. It was such an amazing event that I am so lucky to have been a part of. After going through the recruiting process, the summit was one of the reasons I decided to join MongoDB. Through that event, the interview process, and my connections with former interns, I got to interact with a lot of MongoDBers and could truly see myself working happily with all of them. Even through interning here, I have never had a negative interaction with or even a negative thought about someone at MongoDB, and that is pretty awesome. KW: Glad to hear that! Let’s hear about some of those MongoDBers you worked with. What is your team like? NS: I am interning on the Swift Driver team, which has been awesome! The Drivers team provides libraries and tools that developers all over the world use to interface with MongoDB. The Swift driver is a relatively new team and its very small (only 2 full-time engineers). My team is part of the larger team that encompasses all the Drivers. I have been taking some classes about Programming Languages at school, and while this isn't a major aspect of my work, it is really cool to bring those interests into conversations with my team. It is really interesting to see all of these different drivers achieving the same goals, each in a way that takes advantage of their specific language features. KW: What did you work on with the driver and what was your intern experience like working remotely? NS: My main project this summer was adding Extended JSON support to the pure-Swift BSON Library. All of the drivers need to use a BSON library to interact with MongoDB. Currently, the Swift Driver is using libbson, which is the C BSON Library, and as part of an effort to make the Swift driver be written only in Swift, the team is working on a pure-Swift BSON library. The last piece necessary to actually switch from libbson to the swift BSON library is Extended JSON Support, and that's what I worked on! I added the ability to convert between BSON and Extended JSON. It was a perfect intern project; well scoped, but left room for me to make my own design decisions. I have learned a lot about what it means to work on an open source project and be involved in the ecosystem of a language. That has been really cool and I am excited to dive deeper into this world. Even despite the fact that my internship was entirely remote, I was really able to get a sense of the culture at MongoDB and I love how open, fun, and feedback focused it is! Interested in pursuing a career at MongoDB? We have several open roles on our teams across the globe , and would love for you to build your career with us!
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