What Our Engineering Interns Learned: Philip Weiss and Jon Merrill

Summer interns typically arrive bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and the 16 students New Relic hosted this summer were hardly exceptions. Of course, the real measure of an internship comes at the end of the program, when you can assess what has been learned and contributed over the summer.

That’s why we’re checking in with several of our interns to find out more about the experience: What projects did they work on? What did they learn? And what’s next?

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In this installment, we talk with engineering interns Philip Weiss and Jon Merrill. 

Philip Weiss

philip weiss: profile of engineering internsUnlike many of his colleagues, Philip didn’t have to move to become a New Relic intern. But he still experienced a significant voyage of discovery.

Working with the New Relic Insights Engineering team, Philip was exposed to the world of frontend development. Learning how to work in large codebases gave him a broader understanding of the problems and issues facing modern Web applications. But Philip said he’s most proud of his work writing a robust, easy-to-use script with a lot of neat features for Pivotal2Quip. This internal project is designed to save time by letting anyone using Pivotal Tracker, an agile project management solution, easily log their team’s activity and share it throughout New Relic.

In addition, Philip said, his work brought home “the sheer amount of planning that happens even before a repository is created.”

In addition to sharpening his technical skills with Ruby, JavaScript, CSS, HTML, Haml, Sass, Reach, and AngularJS, Philip also gained some essential soft skills. “Learning to work on a team is an important and infinitely useful skill to have,” he said. “I have also improved my communication skills,” he noted. “The ability to communicate ideas clearly is immensely important, and that’s something I think I have become better at after this summer.”

Philip cited getting up to speed as perhaps his biggest challenge. “When I first started, there were a million things that I didn’t know,” he said. But he asked a lot of questions and spent time outside of work studying programming and writing code on his own. “You would be amazed how much you can learn spending 50+ hours a week programming for an entire summer,” he said.

“I was really impressed with how much Philip learned this summer,” agreed Senior Software Engineering Manager Jade Rubick. “He built a tool that saves us a ton of time each week and he was great to have on the team!”

So where is Philip off to next? In a few weeks he will be starting his freshman year at Stanford University, where he will pursue a degree in computer science and a minor in Chinese, a significant change from his original plan to major in physics.

Jon Merrill

Jon Merrill: profile of engineering internsFor Jon, interning at New Relic gave him a much deeper understanding of the technical subjects he was learning at Oregon State. “School does a good job of introducing you to topics,” Jon said, “but doesn’t always go much deeper. By working on something like New Relic’s Node.js agent, which interacts with many deep and dark corners of JavaScript development—and because my teammates were so willing to help and teach—I’ve learned a ton about JavaScript and writing safe and efficient code in Node.js.”

As part of the New Relic Node Team, Jon gained insight into what software development is like in a real engineering cycle with real customers. He’s particularly proud of his work on implementing Custom Hostnames for the Node.js agent. “I got to see every part of the project through: I implemented the requirements, updated New Relic’s documentation, and pushed out the updated agent version to GitHub and NPM for customers to download.” Because Custom Hostnames is a new, customer-facing feature, and because all of the Node.js agent’s code is publicly available to view on GitHub, it is easy for Jon to point to his contributions.

New Relic Software Engineering Manager Jeff Olfert commended Jon’s energy, enthusiasm, and overall great attitude. “He snapped right in to our flow and was quickly delivering software with us,” Jeff said.

Finally, Jon appreciated New Relic’s efforts to encourage uniqueness and cultural diversity. “I didn’t feel like I needed to put on an image to fit in,” he said. He found it easy to talk to team members about anything from rock climbing and Smash Bros to the Node.js event loop.

Now that his internship is complete, Jon is finishing up his last year earning a bachelor’s degree in computer science at Oregon State.

Thinking about an internship or a job with New Relic? Check out our Careers page!

Bernice Lo is a senior at Santa Clara University, where she is studying marketing and communications. Prior to working at New Relic, she worked in Fremont Bank’s marketing department and at the Ice Box in London as a sales and business development intern. As a young professional, she has gained extensive experience with content marketing, managing marketing campaigns, and exercising creativity to further company goals. View posts by .

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