By Joy Chao, Novice Graphista | September 9, 2016
Last semester, my professor told us to “pick an internship based on its quality and what you’ll learn, not on your assumed career path.”
That seemed like great advice for me, especially since I hadn’t yet decided on which field I would like to enter. Having had a wide variety of jobs and bosses since starting college, I had a grasp on the type of company culture and management style I worked best with and was determined to have my final internship be a great fit.
Learners Welcome: My First Impressions of the Neo4j Team
I was looking for a job where I could be comfortable with my bosses, something where I could learn about how companies conduct their marketing campaigns, as well as how companies run in general. After interviewing for the Social Media & Web Marketing position at Neo4j, it seemed like I had already achieved my goal.
My bosses were friendly and from my observations and interview with HR, Neo4j seemed like it had an open learning culture as well. My first impressions were proved correct over and over again.
I entered the job as the least technical intern in my cohort, which meant I was lost as soon as the orientation turned to more product-specific talk. I had never heard of NoSQL databases, let alone the individual features of Neo4j, like having an ACID consistency model.
But my confusion did not last long. My bosses brought me to every meeting and went above and beyond, preemptively answering any questions about things I may not have understood. Combined with some informative projects, I learned about the company, its product and features, our competitors, the category and much more, all within a few weeks.
The Authentic Culture
The first day of orientation, several different employees came in and explained different aspects of the company. Each of them finished by emphasizing the open and learning-oriented culture Neo4j had.
“As a Swedish company, there is a low hierarchy and everyone is willing to help answer questions. Don’t think less of yourselves because you are an intern – we value everyone and their ideas,” was the gist of what everyone repeated.
While that sounded great and exactly like what I was looking for, I remained skeptical. I wanted actions to prove what I was being told. Within the first week however, the Neo4j team proved again and again that their collaborative and open culture was authentic.
From hearing my ideas about public relations and allowing me to carry them out to having various coworkers answer questions for projects, it was easy to see that the Neo4j team really had something special. In one case, a vice president heard the amount of work an employee was dealing with and immediately worked to lighten the load.
It was very evident that the reason Neo4j could maintain such an authentic culture was because of the caliber of its employees and their genuine willingness to work hard and help out coworkers in a company that cared about them.
Conclusion: A Quality Internship
Overall, it was an amazing summer. My time on the Neo4j team was an excellent example of the “quality internship” my professor had told me about, and I ended the job with a great deal more knowledge than I started with. While some of my experience was more Neo4j-specific, such as information about graph databases, the majority of it was transferable to my upcoming classes and future jobs.
Neo4j quickly proved its authentic culture of learning and camaraderie and made me feel welcome. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for such a company to work for.
Check out our Graph Databases for Beginners blog series written specifically for those without a technical or database background.
Read the Series
About the Author
Joy Chao, Novice Graphista
Joy Chao spent the past year simultaneously maintaining a staff wellness program with Pepperdine Human Resources and interning with the Microenterprise Program, an entrepreneurial program for the formerly homeless. Joy loves learning and new experiences. Her personal summer projects include achieving a handstand and beginning the art of quilling. She is excited for the opportunity to learn more as Neo Technology’s Community Associate.
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