Meet Caileen Dolan, Verkada Software Engineer Intern
At a glance
Sub-team within Engineering: Backend
Date joined Verkada: Sept 2019
Previous companies: Software Development Co-op at Government of Canada; Junior Software Engineering Co-op at Solace
University: University of Waterloo
What’s different about working at Verkada?
We’re a reasonably small team, so you get a lot of responsibility as an intern. At some of the other places I’ve worked, I would only contribute to one small feature of a project. But here, I’m involved all the way from design to testing. There are always different projects starting and new features going out, so things move fast — you never get bored with the work you’re doing. And if I’ve got an idea for something new, I can propose it to my team and it might really take off. I feel like a full-time employee, I guess, is the best way to phrase it. And you don’t get that everywhere.
“I feel like a full-time employee”
What’s the hardest problem you recently solved? Who else was involved?
We’re working on a new feature that helps our users get smart about the people and vehicles that have been identified by our cameras. I was in charge of implementing some of the new endpoints, but because it’s a completely new feature, everyone from backend to web ended up working together. I haven’t really seen this degree of collaboration at my other internships. People here are always chatting, talking about different products and getting feedback from other departments — I think that’s pretty unique. And the endpoints I made are now being used in the next stage of the project, so that feels nice, to see my code actually being used.
“I haven’t really seen this degree of collaboration at my other internships”
Tell me about a big decision you made recently on your own.
Actually, I helped make a big decision during that same people and vehicles project. We had to choose which API to use for the backend, so I was given the task of comparing a few different ones, testing them for our use case, and ultimately deciding which would be best for the company. I made a recommendation to management — and that’s the one that we’re going forward with for testing and prototyping.
Who at Verkada has taken a special interest in your success or development?
Grace Wang; she’s my mentor. Right from my first day, she’s been super supportive and has made sure I have all the resources I need — but also that I have good challenges. She expects me to put in my best effort and positively contribute, but also to voice my opinion if I think something needs to be changed or improved. We have weekly meetings, which are usually just us talking at our desks about the things we’re working on, but she also gives me regular feedback, and I ask her a ton of questions. She sits right next to me, so it’s really convenient. Whenever I’m struggling with something I just turn around and say, “Grace? Do you know what next step I could take here?” And, she’s like, “Oh, yeah. I’ll help.”
“she’s been super supportive and has made sure I have all the resources I need — but also that I have good challenges”
Interested in joining the Verkada team?