1. Why do you believe the Ada program is good for your company?
Working with the Ada program has made Moz better in several ways:
1. As Moz engineers work with more Ada interns or graduates, our own engineering culture improves through empathy and recognizing that people come into software and tech from a lot of different backgrounds, and they can learn and contribute and make a difference. We as engineers get to learn how to encourage and grow other engineers, which is not a skill that most people learn outside of management-track programs.
2. For the long-term, I think that by actively participating with Ada, Moz gets to change the culture of engineering at large. By hiring, training and investing in Ada students Moz gets to help change the image of what an engineer looks like. This is really exciting for both of us because David’s 4 year old daughter and Kelsey’s 10 year old daughter will have opportunities to see women engineers and it might inspire her to think, “yeah, I can do this!”
2. Can you describe what your intern’s first day looks like?
On their first day at Moz, interns get a desk and laptop with their teams. They tour the office with HR and other new hires, and have a “new employee lunch” to meet other Mozzers. Interns have 2 mentors – a “Team Buddy” mentor within their team to help guide them through day-to-day challenges within the project they will work on, and a “Moz Buddy” mentor from another team who can help them understand our company culture and values, talk about career concerns, and share perspectives of what the work looks like on other teams or in other non-software parts of the company. Usually there is some time to get email and software tools set up and enough of an introduction to the team and the project to get started. Ada interns at Moz start out in Test Engineering for about 6-8 weeks, to learn better software testing and debugging skills and get a perspective about what the life of an SDET is like. Then the intern transitions to another engineering team to work on the developer side of things and see a different side of the company and a different project. We’ve found this sets up our interns to be extraordinarily successful.
3. What has surprised you the most when taking on an Ada intern?
I think there are preconceived notions that because an intern may not have a standard CS background that they may not be able to “hack it,” and successfully finish the internship or get hired full-time. So far, all of our Ada interns have been hired full-time so it’s awesome to tear down those erroneously placed preconceived notions.
4. What do you find unique about your Ada intern compared to other interns?
We’ve found Ada interns to be ready and able to drop into a team and project in their first week and really start to make a contribution. They have skills in modern tools, huge experience in self-learning and growing themselves, and a lot of enthusiasm. Often interns from other programs may not come with experience in current tools and languages or they don’t know how to learn as they go, so it’s a big ramp-up. The biggest difference is that Ada interns generally have great pair programming and pair debugging skills, and they often cause the more senior members of the team to scrutinize and level up their own pairing skills.