Interning with Riskalyze Engineering

While the past three months felt more like three weeks, my time at Riskalyze has been nothing short of extraordinary. With its well-balanced culture, modern tech stack, and necessity of constant learning, Riskalyze has the characteristics of a Silicon Valley company people dream of working for.

My internship at Riskalyze is two months away. One month. Two weeks. One week. Five days. Tomorrow. It's my first day. Just had my midpoint check-in lunch. I have one month left. I leave next Friday. Today is my last day.

As quickly as my internship came, it went.

While the past three months as an intern felt more like three weeks, I know that the connections and experiences that I gained will stay with me long into the future. My time here at Riskalyze has been nothing short of extraordinary. When taking into account the well-balanced company culture, modern tech stack, and necessity of constant learning, Riskalyze has the defining characteristics of a Silicon Valley company most people dream of working for.

People

The diversity and agility of the people who I've had the opportunity to work with has been a real eye-opener.

From my first day, I began seeing that each person here had something unique about them – technical, creative, or otherwise – that enabled them to play a distinct, integral role in the company.

I'd attribute this to the variety of backgrounds that the team has. Some have a college degree, others don't. Some have tons of prior industry experience, others don't. This mix proves advantageous when it comes to collaborating on the best way to solve a particular problem. Another aspect that I noticed right away is the fact that no one here has a superiority complex – everyone treats each other (and their ideas) with equal respect. This leads to a supportive environment with clear and direct channels of communication.

Work

Throughout my time here, I've had the opportunity to maintain some cool utilities, as well as create some new ones (like a particular combination of Node.js, GitHub’s API, and Heroku, in case you’re wondering). For my most interesting project, I used Node.js and the Google Calendar API to build a Slack app that displayed a list of available rooms for our three offices. Since Riskalyze uses Google Calendar, it was straightforward enough to use Google’s provided authentication functions and then get the calendar for each room. Once I had all the calendars it was just a matter of isolating the data I was interested in, calculating the time until the next event, formatting it correctly, and returning the results to Slack.

I had to learn a lot of specific JavaScript and ES6 concepts throughout the development process, like promises, template literals, and arrow functions. In addition to these domain-specific topics, I also gained some exposure to testing frameworks such as Sinon and Mocha, and ran into a perfect excuse to better learn the factory design pattern, when building context in one of our repositories.

Learning Opportunities

As a new intern, one of your top priorities should be to take with you as much knowledge as possible once the internship is over. This knowledge can take a lot of different forms, like specific programming languages and frameworks – or broader business concepts like the sales cycle, product maintenance, and the company’s structure. Riskalyze leans into collaborative resources like our knowledge base (Guru) and in-person code reviews to spread this domain knowledge.

From day one, I welcomed the deluge of information, taking in everything I could from both the technical and business sides.

Fortunately, the two people I worked for had knowledge of both domains so they were able to answer almost any question I had. Anything else was easily asked and answered on StackOverflow. 😉

Conclusion

Unlike any of my prior work experience, this internship allowed me to grow as an engineer, gain confidence in my skill set, and get real-world experience with the tools and technologies popular in the industry. While I already knew that it was important to be taken care of in terms of pay and benefits, my time here has made me recognize that company culture and pride in your work should matter just as much. The trifecta of interesting work, awesome people, and non-stop learning opportunities has had the biggest influence on my experience here and my desire to come back. While many students still in college (like myself) yearn to land a job at the Googles and Apples of the world, the feeling of being an integral piece of a smaller company is unmatched.

If you're in the Sacramento or Atlanta areas and are interested in a future internship, let us know!