It’s Box internship season, and we’re so excited to be joined by university students from all over the globe! Interns at Box are encouraged and empowered to drive their own projects, ask questions, come up with solutions and own the results.To give you a closer look, we’re featuring a Q&A with one of our current Box interns, Bing Tian Chia!
First things first, tell us about yourself!
My name is Bing Tian Chia, and I’m a junior at the University of Chicago studying math and computer science. I started coding during college, and I realized that I really liked it! I started developing my own projects with my friends, and we ended up selling pieces of our code. That led me to pursue the opportunity to work with the Software Engineering team at Box.
How did you hear about Box, and why did you decide to intern here?
The first time I came across Box was actually for one of my school assignments. I participated in this class which was about inclusive design, and we basically had to create videos on ways through which we could design things more inclusively. For instance, we made videos on things that would support marginalized groups or people with disabilities. We used Box as the platform to upload the videos. That was how I first came across Box, and the user interface was very intuitive! That made me realize that maybe this was an interesting company with good infrastructure. I was also looking for an internship at the same time, so I went onto Box and applied. It’s been a blast so far! It’s really fun, and I’ve learned so much.
What has been your favorite experience during your internship so far?
As far as social events go, it was definitely the boba-making workshop! I still continue making boba even now, because I really like it. Other than that, one thing that’s nice about Box is that Boxers care a lot about interns. We even received intern swag! And whenever we want to speak to someone, Boxers are always willing to help out and speak with us. I’ve connected with past interns, my own team, and also colleagues from different teams outside of engineering. People put in double the effort to make sure we get the information we need, be it advice or more technical things.
Can you tell us more about your position, and what the your team is responsible for?
I’m a Software Engineer Intern with the Productivity Engineering team. The idea of Productivity Engineering is that we have a team that maintains certain infrastructures in different companies, which help other coders to be more efficient, and productive. The team manages all these things, and writes different scripts for the other coders. We focus on making other engineers more productive by helping them focus on writing their own specific code, and by helping them build code in an automated fashion.
What types of summer projects are you working on, and what have you learned so far?
My main project is working on an internal-facing chat bot. When coders from other teams have questions regarding any of the infrastructure, they come to the productivity Slack channel, and they talk to the Productive Engineering team. Our team stays on call and answers questions for the rest of the engineers at Box. My project aims to help the team on-call by answering frequently asked questions. I’m trying to build features within the channel that reduce the load of these on-call engineers, so they have more time to do their own work. My bot is trying to automate a way of answering as many questions as possible.
How have you stayed engaged with your Productivity Engineering team, even as a remote intern?
There are definitely challenges as a remote intern. In person, you always see your teammates, friends, and colleagues and it’s very easy to hop into a chat. Whereas offline, you have to find free time for everyone, which is pretty tough. What I have done is schedule one-on-ones with teammates I work closer with every two days. And then for other teammates I may work less with, I try to meet them once a month. As I said, people are always really friendly and willing to help us interns out, so whenever I ask people for time, they’re very willing to talk! I also join in on activities with other interns and my own team if they have separate meetings.
What advice would you give to future interns?
More specific to Software Engineering interns, I would say try to have more fun! The “work” part of the internship falls into place quite smoothly, and in general there’s no need to be too worried. Still make sure to allocate time to finish your work, but then also try to participate in events, and try to talk to other interns. Try to make it as fun as possible for yourself, because Box is a really fun company!