In this installment of our Meet the Interns series, we get to know Nicholas Hendryx, who made an unusual transition from studying botany to focusing on computer science. Here’s his explanation of how the change played out.
What’s your background?
I grew up in Spokane, Washington, and am currently studying computer science at the University of Washington in Seattle.
How did you get interested in technology?
I actually started college as a botany major, but became interested in technology through working with multiple professors who were using interesting technology in their research.
My first technology-related project was as a research assistant in a lab that was using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to map thermal photography data of rivers and streams for use in watershed conservation decision-making. My next job was working in a greenhouse, helping test an electronic soil sensor for monitoring plant health. Most recently, I worked as an undergraduate researcher on a project collecting and parsing Twitter data for use in developing language-independent speech-recognition systems.
How did you find out about New Relic?
I had a connection! I knew New Relic senior vice president of engineering Bjorn Freeman-Benson through a friend, so I emailed him directly.
What are you working on here?
I am working on a supportability tool that gathers customer system information, logs, and config files and directly uploads these large files to the Support team.
In particular, I am adding functionality to the .NET agent’s system tray application that does this information collection and upload with the click of a button. This involved writing a C# application to gather, package, and upload relevant data, and a Java service that authenticates users and retrieves a URL to which the data will be uploaded. Being able to quickly collect customer data will allow the Support team to help solve problems with much less hassle to both Support and the customer.
How has the experience been for you?
It’s been a great couple months so far, and I’ve learned a lot!
Technologically, I’ve been working with a programming language, operating system, and related tools with which I had no prior experience. I’ve also learned a lot about the lifecycle of an industry software project, all the way from idea to released code.
I’m especially proud that the application I wrote will be part of the product released to customers, who can use and benefit from it.
Overall, I have been most surprised and impressed by New Relic’s company culture–it’s a very casual work environment, and everyone I’ve interacted with has been friendly and approachable. Even as an intern, I feel like I could have a conversation with anyone regardless of their position within the company.
Who at New Relic has most influenced you? How and why?
I have been most influenced by my cube-mates, senior software engineer Micah Zoltu and software engineer Allie Crevier. Micah has been a great mentor and taught me a lot about writing modular, testable, and maintainable code. Allie has taught me a lot about keeping a healthy work-life balance.
What are your plans for the future?
I go back to University of Washington in the fall and will be graduating next spring. Before this internship, I wasn’t sure I would be able to hack working in the software industry after graduation, but my experience at New Relic has showed me that it can actually be pretty fun.
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