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Why We Returned To Work At Sentry Full-Time

After wrapping up their fall and winter internships at Sentry, David Wang and Leander Rodrigues knew that this was where they wanted to kick off their careers, here’s what they had to say about why they joined the team.

David Wang, UIUC Class of 2020

My first exposure to Sentry was when I was interning at Uber in the Summer of 2018. It was introduced to me as a tool I should use after deploying code to production in order to make sure I hadn’t introduced new errors or caused regressions. I immediately saw how useful it was, so when I ran into Sentry intern recruiting at my college the next Fall, I was more than happy to talk with the engineers and explore the opportunity of working there for a Fall co-op.

Fast forward to Fall 2019, I was onsite at the Sentry San Francisco office meeting the team and being introduced to my project. At all my previous internships, the projects I’d been handed were definitely interesting, but also left me wanting a little more.

I would describe my previous work as merely completing “fill in the blank” projects, something that was already specced out fully. I was expecting Sentry to be more of the same, but I couldn’t have been more off the mark here.

Twinning or trolling for halloween? You decide. (Me, David Wang, pictured on the left.)

I remember chatting with my intern manager, Zac, on my first day. He presented the problem of my project as one that some of Sentry’s largest customers were experiencing: extremely slow web performance when using the application.

He gave me a couple helpful hints for possible solutions, but besides that, I was basically left to my own devices. And thus began a long journey for me which involved many hours and many days of investigation into some of the oldest bits of Sentry’s frontend codebase, as well as many chats with other engineers who would guide me in finding an appropriate solution to the problem.

All along the way, I felt as though this was the first time I had been given so much freedom, autonomy, and straight-up respect for my abilities to do my own investigations and planning for this project.

The most rewarding feeling, however, came at the end: I was able to execute on my proposed solution and see my code changes result in amazing cold start load time performance gains for our biggest customers. The answer definitely did not come easy, but the numerous challenges thrown at me only helped me develop my skills as an engineer and left me hungrier to learn and do more.

With that experience fresh in my mind going into my final semester at UIUC, it wasn’t hard to make the decision to go back to Sentry full time. I regarded the choice as the best way for me to receive mentorship from more experienced engineers and continue expanding my own skills as a developer. It was also incredibly rewarding to see the work I had done over my internship continued by other engineers—and even myself to this day, as I work on web performance from time to time.

Team outing to catch that West Coast sunset.

These days, I’m one of four team members on the Core-UI team. The official team mandate is to build shared components to make Sentry’s experience consistent. But, I like to think of our team as the one that handles filling in all the little cracks that exist in-between the frontend product teams here at Sentry.

I get to work with extremely talented and driven engineers, some I knew as an intern, but a lot of new faces too.

Leander Rodrigues, University of Waterloo Class of 2021

I first heard of Sentry through their advertisements on the Syntax podcast. As a student with some minor side projects, I honestly didn’t think that tracking bugs would be useful for my projects, primarily because I was too busy with school (i.e. lazy) to fix them.

That said, the name stuck with me. And later, when I encountered their posting on the University of Waterloo’s internship portal, I figured I’d send another application into the void. Luckily I was wrong, and a few months later I was down in the Bay Area, meeting the team and working on what turned out to be a really cool project.

During my internship, Sentry was celebrating only 100 employees. It was my first time at a start-up of that size, so it was wildly impressive to see just how sophisticated the product was, considering the small team.

The amount of data being captured, processed, and organized at every moment of the day was astonishing.

Customers could identify who encountered an error, how it happened, and then prioritize when to fix it—entirely in Sentry. And my internship project was to allow those customers to download all that data asynchronously.

Yikes. I’d never received that amount of responsibility for an internship. It was an entire project, end-to-end, so I was tasked with of the following:

  • Writing a Product Spec (what should the product be able to do, how would it be used, etc.)
  • Writing a Tech Spec (where do we store the data, how do we accumulate it, how do we notify and store temporary files, etc.)
  • Deciding and Producing Deliverables (what individual tasks need to be done, how should pull requests be divided, etc.)

Plus, a whole bunch more, like giving deadlines, getting support, and notifying teams and stakeholders. And though it was definitely daunting at first, I was surprised with how confident I was becoming over those short four months.

Both my direct team and other engineers were quick to lend a hand, or meet with me on short notice to help out. It really felt like they cared about my learning and success with the project, regardless of where they were—and I was— on the org chart. I was a team member first, and an intern second.

Now, I’m a full-time Software Engineer at Sentry, going on three months. My intern project is in the app today, as a paid feature that I can proudly say I helped bring into existence. And while the work is great and the product has challenging problems that need solving, the biggest pull-to-return was the team.

Both of us can’t wait for me to go to our brand new San Francisco office.

From all my previous internships, I’d genuinely never felt more trust and support than at Sentry. I was (and still am) making meaningful changes with people who value my work, education and identity.

The company is growing by the week, and every day I’m seeing new faces who are just as friendly and accommodating as I remember. So, TL;DR: #noregrets. I’m looking forward to meeting you 👋

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