By Jason Yee
Published: January 17, 2017
Original publication can be found here.
We recently launched a new feature in the Datadog web application called Notebooks. Notebooks are an easy way to save graphs from a particular point in time along with text and other information. The feature is especially useful for capturing and sharing knowledge that will provide deeper context to organizations and allow them to respond more quickly.
What might surprise you about this feature is that it wasn’t written by one of our senior engineers. Most of the prototype was built by Marie-Laure Bardonnet, one of our amazingly talented interns from Lyon, France, over the course of her seven-month internship.
“When I arrived I began working on small fixes,” says Marie-Laure. “For example, the first one was just a yellow star when you favorite a dashboard. That was not working, so it was my first task.”
With each successful bug fix, the tasks became more challenging.
“You are working on more and more complex stuff to fix, so that you can get into the application and into the code very smoothly. It’s a good way to get started.” she explained.
But it’s common for tech companies to relegate interns to “grunt work,” code fixes and minor tweaks that have little consequence or impact on the product. And that had Marie-Laure worried.
She wondered, “Am I just going to fix bugs for seven months, or am I going to work on a bigger project? I’ve been told that after 3 months, generally they give you a project to work on.”
Her project came sooner than expected when Ivan DiLernia, team lead on the Datadog web application team, asked if she would take on the Notebooks feature.
“I was super lucky to be on this project. Because it’s a new feature, but also for the fact that we are using super new technology on the front-end.” She says the Notebooks feature allowed her to dive into React, Redux (to manage the state) and Redux Saga (to manage side effects). “I learned so much. I learned a lot at Datadog!”
More than just learning the technologies, she explained that Ivan’s mentorship was the biggest benefit, “For example, I had ideas for the notebook, [that required] refactoring some architecture. He wanted to talk about that with me, but for lots of things he let me do the stuff.”
“He had the perfect balance between like, ‘Keep looking at it’ and ‘Okay. Let’s talk about that together, because it’s tricky.’”
With her internship coming to an end, Marie-Laure is preparing to tackle her remaining course work with a new perspective. “I really have a different point of view of the courses. I think I will be able to make the difference between what will be really useful for me in my job, and what is maybe theory.”
But before she departs, she’s looking forward to her exit interview and hoping for one question, “‘So Marie, you want to come back?’ Yeah, I would definitely love to come back! Definitely.”
Update: After this post was originally written, Marie-Laure returned to France to resume her studies. But we’re happy to have extended our relationship and she continues to work part-time on the Notebooks feature along with other members of the Datadog web platform team.
Update 2: Marie-Laure has completed her studies and has accepted a full-time position at Datadog!