August 19, 2021

My Quar-intern 2021 Experience at Balbix

Every now and then I’m asked what it’s like to work at Balbix. The question typically arises in casual settings that warrant a surface level response, but on occasion I’m asked to share more detailed thoughts about the company. In the latter circumstance, certain queries come up time and again: “What kind of work do you do?“, “What do you like about the job?“, and “What are the people like?”

In my mind, working at Balbix allows me to answer these questions without enlisting cliched platitudes; I can offer meaningful responses based on the real and rewarding experiences I’ve had here.

The work I do at Balbix

I’m an intern on the UI team, which is a small but mighty group responsible for the “face” of our platform that customers interact with on a daily basis. The team covers significant ground. Aside from the core UI, we also maintain several services. Members of the team are adept at various technologies and contribute across the stack. But make no mistake, the work is difficult and demanding.

This summer, I was tasked with revamping a Node.js server from scratch and ran into countless hurdles. I had to quickly get up to speed on new tools/libraries, dig deep into protocols, write a CI/CD pipeline, and implement every necessary feature. This wasn’t an “add one feature” type of internship. When I was seeking out internships, I wanted to land at a company where I could optimize for learning. I’ve found no shortage of learning opportunities at Balbix.

Moving at the speed of light

It is an indescribable feeling when you actually see your code pushed to production. So far, I have had several of my contributions make it to production and the features I worked on are being used by customers on a daily basis. Velocity, and for the right reasons, is amazing. When I interacted with several of my friends at other companies small and large, I realized that I had pushed my code to production before they had even figured out their way to the bathroom!

What I like about the job

One of my favorite aspects of working at Balbix is that there’s ample opportunity to take ownership of impactful work. You’re allowed to delve into different parts of the platform and to drive change where it makes sense. In the past few weeks alone, I’ve been exposed to the UI, multiple services, deployment infrastructure, and more. There aren’t any frivolous projects to work on, and as a result there’s rarely a dull moment. It’s true that the pace and scope of the work at this startup on the cutting edge of innovation is challenging – it’s not for everyone. But I enjoy solving difficult problems and learning constantly, and Balbix offers a suitable environment for that.

The people at Balbix

Even though I have not worked closely with most people at Balbix outside of the engineering and product teams, I have had the opportunity to interact with a lot of folks at the weekly All-Hands meetings, lunch and learns, and other all company gatherings. I can definitely say that the people whom I’ve interacted with directly have been incredible.

For starters, folks on the engineering team are all technically super skilled. This characteristic provides a good baseline, but skill alone doesn’t make great teams. My colleagues also possess important intangibles. They’re able to communicate effectively, take flexible approaches to problem solving, and share ideas openly. Most importantly, there’s a culture here that de-emphasizes ego. Everyone is a Slack message away and is willing to offer help and guidance. It’s pretty crazy how fast people respond back to questions and comments here! The people here are direct and to the point, but they spare no effort in helping others make progress. At Balbix, I got the sense that product ideas and innovation are worth more than titles.

Final thoughts

Before I embarked on my internship, I had envisioned myself doing some great work that was meaningful and learning a lot of new technologies and skills. I am happy to report that my Balbix internship was all that and more. I not only learned and contributed, but I am also walking away with long term connections with caring and smart mentors. Thank you Balbix!