One our favorite times of the year at Box is intern season! We love welcoming interns from all over the world to join us for the summer, and providing them an opportunity to focus on projects and challenges that directly impact our product, our customers, and our business initiatives. To give you a peek into our internship program, we’re featuring a Q&A with one of our most recent Box Interns, Hongji Liu.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Hongji Liu, a fourth-year student at the University of Chicago studying Computer Science and Economics. I’m originally from Shenzhen, China. This past summer, I worked on the Enterprise Governance team at Box as an Intern.
What is your favorite Box value and why?
My favorite Box value is “Be an owner, it's your company”. I chose this particular value because it aligns with one of the reasons why I want to be a software engineer. It means that I can be an owner of things I build. The sense of ownership is important to me because it affirms that whatever product I create, it will be my best work and something I can be proud of. By ensuring that I know every part of my project well, I can easily answer questions about my code with confidence.
What was your summer project and what was your biggest take away?
My summer project was to create a dashboard consisting of data and charts for the data retention feature that the Enterprise Governance team manages. It is a full-stack project, so I was able to learn more about the react framework here at Box, as well as PHP since I’ve never had any experience with it before. Additionally, there were a lot of skills that I learned through this internship that were nontechnical as well. This internship taught me how to reach out to others at Box and seek advice or guidance when I need it. I also learned about the agile process and working in a large team.
Can you tell me a little bit about your engineering team? What is the product/service your team provides?
My team is a back-end heavy team (meaning we do all the behind the scenes work!). The work involves retaining files and data to make sure it is compliant with certain legislation. We mostly use Scala and Java for the backend scripts. I did have a standalone project from the core content of this part of Box’s product, but still had visibility into the day to day of the team I supported.
What was your relationship like with your mentor?
My Box mentor is like a big brother to me and we have a really good relationship. He helped me a lot in adjusting to the work environment, especially during the start of the internship where everything was unfamiliar to me. He also gave me useful feedback and suggestions during our weekly meetings that helped with my professional and career development. We also discussed our shared interests in other areas such as PC hardware too.
Being that this was the first time we had to do a virtual internship, what made this internship stand out?
The intern events were definitely helpful during this special time. My favorite intern events were the game nights because we had the chance to interact with each other and catch up to see what all the interns were doing on a weekly basis. The actual events were fun and engaging so I really loved attending them.
What advice would you give to future interns?
My advice would be try to be proactive and be inquisitive. People here at Box are really nice, and there wasn’t a single time where my connection request was turned down. Meetings were extremely helpful to learning more about the teams and the company. I also received valuable advice from experienced engineers to grow as a new software engineer. For example, my mentors and managers consistently encouraged me to ask questions because there was always opportunity to learn more from other team members. I learned how to be effective in problem solving. Therefore, I encourage future interns to not be afraid to ask questions and enjoy the time you have!