Selecting an Engineering Internship at Qualtrics: Braden’s Story
An internship should be a great opportunity to explore a career path, an industry, and a company. As a company, it’s the chance to invest in the future of business by equipping people who are new to the field with the skills to succeed.
The process of selecting a company for an internship varies for each person. Different priorities and expectations for experience influence that decision - from potential skills, the team you meet during interviews, and the products, to human logistics. We asked Braden, a Software Engineering Intern at the Provo HQ, to tell us his about becoming an intern at Qualtrics. This is his story.
Summer 2019 I had a great opportunity to intern at Qualtrics. I want to walk through my decision to interview at Qualtrics, the other companies I interviewed with, why I chose Qualtrics, and what my overall experience has been.
Why I applied to Qualtrics
When I began my journey through the Computer Science program at Brigham Young University (BYU) I began to hear about a local company named Qualtrics that was growing. Over the course of the next two years, I continued to hear more and more about Qualtrics in the news, see them at STEM Career Fairs, and at Computer Science club events. I even had an opportunity to go on an office tour to see what the company was all about. In each of my interactions, Qualtrics impressed me as a driven, growing, local where I could see myself interning and eventually working full time.
I applied to Qualtrics for the first time in Fall during my Sophomore year and never heard back. Later on, I learned more about the specific skills that they look for in moving someone forward in the process. So I took a few additional courses before applying in the fall of my Junior year and got called back for an interview.
Summer 2019 internship options
Besides interviewing with Qualtrics, I had an impromptu interview with Instructure at the STEM Fair and an on-site interview with Pluralsight. I ended up receiving offers from all three companies. Overall, I was much more interested in interning with Pluralsight or Qualtrics than I was with Instructure. Deciding between Pluralsight and Qualtrics was difficult though!
Pluralsight has a very unique development culture that focuses on collaboration and test-driven development. I was interested in working there because I knew I could learn a lot by pairing or mobbing with one or more engineers every day. But I was also drawn to the high-growth, scrappy Qualtrics culture. I knew that Qualtrics had a high bar for their engineers and that an internship would be an opportunity to learn from a lot of really smart people.
Because I felt like I could have an amazing internship experience at both companies, it was difficult to make a decision. I loved the culture, mission and values of both companies. I believed that they were equal opportunities on most levels. At the end of the day, what made the decision for me was the hygiene factor that Qualtrics paid significantly more and its location in Provo meant I could continue working there after the school year started. Even though my final decision seems a little arbitrary, looking back I'm grateful that I made the choice to go to Qualtrics because I had an absolutely incredible experience. Better, I think, than my experience at Pluralsight would have been.
My overall internship experience
The team I was placed on was partially based on my preference and partially based on internal need. I didn't know the project that I was going to be working on until the day I arrived. That being said, my summer project was COOL and the team that I got to work with was a lot of fun!
In a nutshell, my project was to take the two large translation repositories that held 30,000+ language strings for 75+ languages and standardize them by migrating to a new repository and format that would solve some technical debt and allow the localization process to scale as Qualtrics grows. The change impacted every engineer working on the Qualtrics product as well as a localization team working in Dublin. The tech stack that I worked with included Golang, React.js, and Docker.
I was surprised by the amount of autonomy that I had while working on my project. Besides a bi-weekly check-in with my mentor which I created, I was completely free to implement my project in whatever way I deemed best. In one sense, the autonomy was liberating, but it also placed significant responsibility on me to finish the project on-time and with minimal negative impact to the engineering organization.
There was a trade-off to autonomy though. I was not completely integrated with my team like a part-time employee might be. I was free to set my own tasks and work at my own pace on my project which afforded a lot of freedom. But I wasn’t assigned every day tasks that would give an intern the feel of working closely as part of a team. And in some team discussions, I didn’t have the context to be able to contribute since I was “sandboxed” inside of my own project. So that's something to consider when debating between an autonomous project-based internship and a position where you would just be another team-member.
Qualtrics was an incredible experience for me, and my technical skills and knowledge grew significantly because of my experience here. I would highly recommend sending in an application if you're considering interning there. Also, don't hesitate to reach out to me with a message on LinkedIn at https://linkedin.com/in/bradenwatkins with any questions about getting a job at Qualtrics or the interview process. I'm more than happy to chat!
Qualtrics is growing, and if you're ready to find your "why" at a place like this, you can explore our open opportunities at any time by visiting our career page. Looking to discover more reasons "Why Qualtrics"? You can find the whole series here.
|Braden is a future alumnus of BYU and started his internship with us in May of 2019. Aside from his burgeoning career as a Software Engineer, Braden is an amateur 35mm film photographer.|