The Qumulo engineering internship is unique for a lot of reasons. You get to help build a highly scalable, distributed file system. You get to ship code to actual customers every two weeks. There’s a ton that can be said about the groundbreaking technology we’re building.

But there’s also a lot to be said about the people who are building that technology. They’re the people I worked with this summer, and they’re the reason I loved my Qumulo internship.

Culture of Collaboration

There’s an incredible amount of collaboration at Qumulo. Within my first week, I got to pair up with most of my four teammates and dive right into what the team was working on — making network optimizations in data replication.

It’s definitely intimidating to look into an entire codebase for the first time — especially if you’re building a distributed file system — but my partner spent the extra time to fill any gaps in my understanding. I always felt comfortable asking to walk through the code more thoroughly. I paired regularly with everyone on my team, and I even got to work with engineers on different teams who sat just a few pods away.

Internship Opportunity to Develop New Engineering Skills

One of the coolest things about coding side-by-side with so many different people is that you pick up a lot of skills. From people with years and decades of experience in the industry, I gained a lot of good engineering practices, testing wisdom, and knowledge about the product.

I also learned volumes from helping onboard teammates who joined the team after me. After all, teaching can be one of the best ways to learn. By working closely with my team day after day, I learned a lot faster — and a lot more — than I ever could have on my own.

Qumulo Value: We Share by Default

The transparency I encountered during my Qumulo internship was also extraordinary. We had all-hands meetings every other week where Bill Richter, the CEO, gave updates to the entire company. These updates included the awesome successes we had achieved as well as the challenges we were facing. Anyone could submit questions anonymously for Bill to answer during the meeting. I had a chance to see how startups are built, not just the technology they sell.

On the team level, we had retrospectives every week, where we assessed how the previous sprint had gone — what went well and what could be improved. Often, we decided on experimental adjustments to our workflow to increase our productivity in the following sprint. This could include pairing more often, focusing on one particular task before moving on to the next, and so on.

Nothing was done just because we had always done it that way. Our goal was to work better as a team, week after week. Looking back, my team had truly become more productive and close-knit over the course of my internship.

An Intern, But Treated Like a Full-Time Employee

Even though I was on an internship, I was treated exactly as if I were a full-time employee. I worked on the same project as everyone else on my team — enhancing data replication between clusters by copying over the changes to a file rather than the entire file.

I always felt free to express my opinions, whether it was in design discussions or code reviews. It was extremely satisfying to see a project through, from design to implementation to delivery, knowing I had made many significant contributions along the way. I presented the work we did to the entire engineering org, which made me even more proud of my team. At Qumulo, I had a voice.

A Fun Place to Work

Besides things like developing engineering skills and building high-quality software, I gained a lot of little experiences along the way that I will remember fondly. Kayaking with the other interns. A Seattle-wide scavenger hunt. Working from Vancouver for a week. Crosswords on Fridays. Learning to make latte art. At Qumulo, I got more out of an internship experience than I could have imagined. Having spent three months there, I completely understand why everyone I met loves their work.

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Dean Deng is a senior at Columbia University. He is majoring in Computer Science and expects to graduate in May 2019.

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