Meet the New Relic Interns: Lynn Kitchner

This is the fourth in our series of profiles of some of the engineering interns here at New Relic. Our first two Meet the Interns subjects, Natalie Schlechter and Caitlin Hennessy grew up in Oregon, while Nicholas Hendryx grew up in Spokane, Washington, but Lynn Kitchner traveled clear across the country and transitioned from a teaching career to join our team.

Lynn Kitchner

What’s your background?

I’m from Dunedin, Florida, where I spent most of my life. I have also lived in Charleston, South Carolina, where I went to the College of Charleston.

I really loved algebra as a kid and have always been fascinated by patterns, so I got an Associate’s Degree, Math Education and taught preschool for a couple of years before returning to get my degree in Computer Science, which I completed this summer.

How did you get interested in technology?

Computers have always been an integral part of my life. It began with typing games and quickly moved on to Microsoft Excel, pushed on me by my dad’s dual passions for computers and learning. Whether it was for schoolwork or just for a personal project with friends, a computer was always at the center of everything I did.

I think that led me towards math. With a combination of my father’s encouragement and some very talented teachers, I fell in love with math even more than computers, without realizing how much the two overlapped. So I had no previous experience programming before I begin pursuing my CS degree.

Last summer, I interned at a hydroelectric company where I learned about SQL before ever taking a class in databases. In college, I was a teachers’ assistant for the introductory Python class. I also was involved with the Android app lab.

How did you connect with New Relic? 

I first learned about New Relic from a friend who had been using it on a side project. I researched the company on his suggestion and became really interested. I applied online, a recruiter contacted me and I interviewed via Skype.

What are you working on here?

I’ve been working on features for the Node.js Agent. I helped write tests and release a new feature that had been originally written by one of our users through our public GitHub: instrumentation for a Cassandra data store. I have also worked on improving existing features in the agent. I hope to release a new instrumentation for a popular SQL database before my internship ends.

Can you describe your New Relic experience?

I released a change within my first week! I’ve shipped five updates to the product. I took on the Support Hero role to reproduce customer issues. I’ve provided feedback in planning meetings and authored several weekly team reports to upper management.

The Node.js team releases weekly. This means each week we must have something completed that will provide value to our customers. With the weekly releases, everyone on the team is expected to contribute and to help each other in any way that we can.

It has been really valuable learning about Service Oriented Architecture and the software lifecycle. I had no formal experience with JavaScript and very little exposure to Node.js before starting here. I learned to program through synchronous languages like Python and Java, and I am still learning how to handle the asynchronous world of Node, so it took me a while to make meaningful contributions.

The best part of the experience has been how friendly and helpful everyone is here. I love that everyone eats lunch together every day. And I was really surprised at how diverse New Relic is—both in educational background and in gender. The culture at New Relic is amazing!

Who at New Relic has most influenced you?

I’ve been influenced by my entire team. Everyone on the team is passionate about what they do—they love coming to work every day. My teammates also motivate me to be a lifelong learner: They are very involved in the local tech community and are constantly attending conferences and bringing their knowledge back to everyone.

I’ve learned a lot from them through planning meetings, pair programming, and feedback on my work—and they are all very approachable and willing to help.

What are your plans for the future? 

My experience at New Relic has made me even more passionate about software development. I plan to continue to learn as much as I can about software and new technologies, and write as much code as I can.

Meet more New Relic interns:

Natalie Schlechter

Caitlin Hennessy

Nicholas Hendryx

fredric@newrelic.com'

Fredric Paul (aka The Freditor) is Editor in Chief for New Relic. He's an award-winning writer, editor, and content strategist who has held senior editorial positions at ReadWrite, AllBusiness.com, InformationWeek, CNET, Electronic Entertainment, PC World, and PC|Computing. His writing has appeared in MIT Technology Review, Omni, Conde Nast Traveler, and Newsweek, among other places. View posts by .

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