Boxer Spotlight: Meet our Box Intern, Naoki Okaka

Box Intern

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, Naoki Okada. 

Tell us about yourself 

My name is Naoki Okada and I was a part of the Skynet team here at Box as an intern this past summer. I currently attend Tufts University, but i’m originally from Tokyo, Japan. 

What is your favorite Box value and why?

My favorite Box value is definitely, "Be Candid and Assume Good Intent". Throughout my time at Box, this value was embodied in my day-to-day interactions with other Boxers. Everyone whom I worked with was always open to setting up a Zoom call whenever I had questions or needed advice.

What was your summer project and what was your biggest take away?

My project was about developing a tool for automated service validation in Box’s Kubernetes infrastructure that service owners can take advantage of. Since I knew nothing about Kubernetes or Docker going in, the initial learning curve was extremely steep. To get up to speed on my project, I first learned about Kubernetes and Docker more generally and then how Box uses them as part of its infrastructure platform. My biggest takeaway was learning the different components you need to have a successful project end-to-end. Some crucial steps you need to take include evaluating potential approaches, proposing a design with ample justifications, and doing rigorous problem-solving when you get stuck along the way. The Box engineering team is amazing at ensuring you have the information you need in order to accomplish your project. 

Can you tell me a little bit about your engineering team? What is the product/service your team provides?

The Skynet team is a platform team that maintains Box's Kubernetes platform, on which all of Box's services are run. On this team, I felt very supported and learned a lot of new things. All the engineers on the team are very experienced and provided a lot of insight into their day to day.

What was your relationship like with your mentor?

My mentor was really supportive and resourceful. On top of receiving day-to-day guidance on my project, I was also able to set up one-on-ones to get insights into what working in industry is like. Overall, being able to work with an experienced engineer was extremely valuable. 

Being that this was the first time we had to do a virtual internship, what made this internship stand out? 

The highlight of my internship was the Q&A session with the CEO of Box, Aaron Levie. It was a great experience to be able to ask any questions to Aaron and get his honest and sincere responses. 

What advice would you give to future interns?

I have two pieces of advice: be intentional, and take it step by step. 12 weeks may seem long, but it goes by a lot faster than you think. To make the best of your 12 weeks at Box, you should plan and always be intentional. Be intentional with what tasks you want to get done, what skills you want to build/work on, who you want to connect with, and anything else you want to do during your time at Box. Since doing all of this can feel intimidating at times, it is important to take it step by step!

Interested in applying for the Box Intern Program? Check out Box’s career site and apply now!