An interview with Teresa and Matthew about our intern program

Author: Matthew Nyhus

At Alloy, we’re really excited about our intern program. Our interns work on the same tasks as our full-time engineers and get to contribute on code that is shipped directly into production. Our interns have worked on projects as varied as graph-traversal algorithms, forecasting and machine learning, and new UIs to show users insights from transactional data.

We asked three of our past interns to share some of their experiences from interning at Alloy. In the last post, you heard from Gautam and Justin. In this post, we’ll hear from another intern, Teresa. We’ll also hear from Matthew, our intern recruiting lead, about what excites him about the intern program.

Teresa

Teresa joined us for 4 months in 2020. She has also interned at a number of other companies, including Uber and Google.

What made you choose Alloy over other internship opportunities?

Unlike most companies that ask generic algorithm or data structure questions during their interviews, Alloy tailored the interviewing questions towards their product, which made it stand out among all the companies that I was interviewing with at the same time.

I was given a more concrete picture of what Alloy was building so I was able to make a more conscious decision on whether I want to work on this product. I value the work and thoughts that are put into the recruiting process as it shows how much Alloy values talents.

What kind of work did you do as an intern at Alloy?

Instead of having intern projects, I worked on tasks alongside other full-time engineers, including performance improvements on graph traversal algorithms in a supply chain network, and driving the design for a scalable database solution. My manager constantly checked in with me to see if my interests aligned with what I was working on.

What were the main takeaways of your internship?

The main takeaway for me was to see the breadth of knowledge one can learn in a startup environment with great engineers as mentors and colleagues. I was also involved in sprint planning/review meetings, which helped me learn about big picture thinking.

Matthew

Matthew joined us as an intern in 2018, and then full time in 2020. He previously interned at a number of other companies, including Microsoft and Facebook. Matthew leads intern recruiting.

Why did you decide to join Alloy as an intern, and then full time?

I had interned at a couple big tech companies, a mid sized company, and a 5 person startup, and so wanted to try out something in the middle – a startup with a few more people, but still early stage. I interviewed with a couple companies, but Alloy stood out as having really smart engineers who I could learn a lot from. After joining, I was delighted to find that the folks here are nice, too!

When deciding where to work full time, I wanted a company with a good mix of impact and ownership. Large tech companies offer lots of impact (your code affects the lives of thousands or millions of people), but very little ownership. At the 5 person startup, I had a lot of ownership, but we had almost no customers, and so very little impact. At Alloy, I felt like there was a great mix – our team is small enough where every engineer gets to own important sections of our codebase, but we also have customers from mid-size firms to Fortune 500 enterprises, many who rely on our application every day.

What do you look for in an intern?

We’ve hired interns with very diverse backgrounds, from lots of experience at big tech companies, to Alloy being their first internship. So I don’t just look for someone with a certain background – instead, I look for someone who is passionate about becoming a better developer, is a fast learner, and is excited to work with interesting data structures.

What excites you about the intern program?

I’m excited to work with really talented students, to get fresh ideas, and to see them grow as developers. We also have quite a few full time engineers who started at Alloy, so it’s exciting to shape the future of the company.

About the Author:

Matthew Nyhus

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