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As we gear up to hire our 2023 intern and new grad class, we checked in with some former interns who have now joined as full-time software engineers. Melanie and Zach both interned in 2020 and started as New Grads in 2021. We asked them a few questions about their journey from intern to full-time. They had a lot to say about impact, mentorship, and learning at Databricks:


What projects did you work on? What was their impact?

Zach: During my internship, my main project was extending the functionality of Delta's 'MERGE' command to allow users to specify any number of 'WHEN MATCHED' and 'WHEN NOT MATCHED' clauses. In short, Delta has a Merge command that allows users to combine two tables (or a dataframe and a Delta table) based on the application of predicates and rules. My changes allowed an unlimited number of WHEN MATCHED and WHEN NOT MATCHED clauses, meaning users can leverage this API to more easily specify their workloads and remove complicated and error-prone workarounds.

Melanie: My internship project was to add infrastructure to support in-product messages and tours within Databricks, with the primary goals of improving the customer onboarding experience and feature discovery process. This work involved integrating third party services with our product and passing along data from our business systems to present helpful, but most importantly, relevant messages to our customers. As a result, this also involved close work with our Legal, Product, and Customer Success teams. As part of the internship I also got to release my feature for private preview, so I added admin-level toggles to enable the feature, created usage graphs, and added extensive monitoring, alerting, and testing.


Where do you feel you had the most impact as an intern?

Melanie: Since my project was a user-facing feature, I was able to directly see how my work impacted the product. I would say the impact of my work really dawned on me when I talked about my project to others. I specifically recall talking about my project during lunch one day and someone jumped into the conversation and said something like, "Wow, I can't believe that project is finally being done!" As an intern, it felt really impactful to know that I was working on something that other people, even those outside of my team, cared and knew about. After presenting my work at the end of the internship, various people also messaged me about when they could expect to use it. It was exciting to know that other teams were invested in my project, and it was rewarding to see it still being used when I joined full time.

Zach: Despite having a ton of fun on my main intern project, which extended the capabilities of Delta Lake's MERGE command, I was happy to see another, smaller project of mine heavily used throughout the company: MERGE command performance benchmarks. After returning as a New Grad, I witnessed engineers leveraging the benchmarks I wrote during my internship to make critical decisions within the company, including performance sign-offs for large feature deployments.


What skill sets were totally new to you?

Zach: I didn't come into Databricks with tons of storage/database expertise, so learning all about Delta Lake's internals felt like breaking new ground. But when you're surrounded by experts in the field and immersed in such a collaborative culture, it comes down to one's willingness to learn. We have such an interactive culture and one that prioritizes learning; everyone was incredibly eager to ramp me up to contribute to Delta quickly.

Melanie: The whole process of working across teams. In past internships, my work was really siloed, but at Databricks I was working across a production code base and had to make sure my work integrated well across multiple teams – both within engineering and outside of engineering. I learned everything from design to testing and rolling out my code into production, and it was really awesome to experience the full end-to-end development process.


What was it like coming back full time?

Melanie: The internship exposed me to what it would be like as a full-time engineer, so the transition was very smooth when I came back. I felt it was helpful to come in knowing the development loop and what the various teams were, especially when I was onboarding, and it was a cool experience to see all the improvements that were made since my internship. In addition, the Databricks culture principles that I learned during my internship, such as "being an owner" and being "customer obsessed," helped me understand what was expected of me in my role full time and helped prepare me to eventually lead my own projects.

Zach: After building relationships throughout my internship and gaining understanding of the company and the systems we work on, I felt extra-accelerated to having an impact upon rejoining. My internship already felt like a full-time position; I integrated with the team, worked on features, aided in debugging, even helped with interviewing. When I came back full time, I was able to revisit all the friendships I had and leverage my prior experience to deliver on features that built on my old project and new ones alike.


Can you talk about mentorship at Databricks?

Melanie: My manager has been extremely invested in my career growth and accounts for my interests in the projects I work on. For instance, when I was curious about exploring UI/UX design and frontend work, my manager put me on a project to explore that area and since then, I have become one of the main points of contact on my team for this type of work.

Zach: It's important to surround yourself with people you want to be like. I felt fortunate to be surrounded by brilliant, highly-motivated people during my internship. I feel like I may be repeating myself, but the common theme here is that those you work with can have a huge impact on your experience and career. The hard challenges I encountered during my internship were equally met with careful reviews of my pull requests, numerous whiteboarding sessions, and plenty of design reviews and discussions. Not to mention the investment in and attention to my own career by managers, mentors, and teammates.


What advice would you give to candidates who are thinking about joining Databricks?

Zach: Do what you love, but challenge yourself while you're at it! The software industry has so many interesting problems to solve and such a varying landscape of things to work on. Spend some time thinking about which areas you want to invest in and seek those areas out. I've been thrilled with the problems I've worked on at Databricks, and while I've gotten exposure to many parts of the control plane, data plane, and bits in between, I've been able to dive deep into highly-technical problems and learn from experts to solve them.

Melanie: The best piece of advice I've been given is to go where you think you will learn the most and be challenged the most – surround yourself with people you admire or look up to; learn from them, and growth will naturally follow. It's been really eye-opening to hear what more experienced people on my team have to say when tackling a certain problem, and I've learned a lot from seeing how they think and communicate.

Become a Brickster!

We hope this inside take on the lifecycle of an early career software engineer was helpful and that you'll consider Databricks for your next career step. Make sure to check out our open roles on the University Recruiting page of our website!

For full-time opportunities, visit for more information and to see our open roles.

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