Intern Spotlight: Dataflow Monitoring at AppDynamics’ Bangalore Office

My journey with AppD started when I interned at AppD’s Bangalore office this year and it was one of the best experiences I’ve had. Not only was it a great learning experience in terms of the exposure to the work culture, but it also helped in shaping my approach towards handling various situations in life. The tasks – while challenging – helped me understand how things function at AppD. At the same time, AppD also provided me with a platform to prove to myself that I definitely belong here.

The first thing I noticed was how well structured and planned the whole internship program was, both in terms of the project I was working on and the guidance of my mentors and managers. From day one, there was clarity on the deliverables and what was expected from me. This was great for someone like me, who always prefers things to be well defined. I also had the freedom to explore and come up with my own ideas and suggestions to tackle the problem at hand.

I worked on a POC that was related to monitoring applications built using Big Data technologies. The best part about this was the opportunity to work on the latest technologies like Kafka and Kafka Streams. I was assigned the task to extend the POC that was in progress to support the drill down for Kafka Streams. This will provide deep visibility into the performance of the stream components.  I had about 10 weeks to complete this task. One of the things I appreciated most was there was always something new for me to learn to improve my knowledge base.

This project had many prerequisites for me to understand, starting with the concepts of Java Agent, Controller, Business Transactions, Java Instrumentation and then subsequently, Apache Kafka, and Kafka Streams Transformations. It definitely wasn’t easy, but the support and mentorship I received from AppD ensured things went as smoothly as they could.

I was quite lucky to work under the guidance of my mentor, Sumit Maheshwari, during the period of my internship. More than just being a mentor, Sumit was an excellent teacher. It was a pleasure for me to be able to contribute to the project he’s been working on for a few months now, even though my work is just the tip of the iceberg in the entire concept of the POC.

Furthermore, it was such an amazing opportunity to work under Ashish, and get his insights into the work I was doing, and his motivation throughout the internship tenure. I would also like to thank the entire APM team for helping me whenever I needed them and for all the support the team gave me.

Some fun facts that made the office such a great place to work: Free food and snacks throughout the entire day. I would sip tea and have biscuits or chips whenever I felt like it, which was lovely. I can definitely go on writing about the cricket pitch, the foosball tables, the table tennis and pool table, where I always found myself after a good day’s work. Not to mention, a complete gymnasium within the office, which I definitely plan on joining when I come back next year.

The entire experience was just amazing for me. I never thought it would go this well and I would like to thank the entire management team for making it worthwhile right from the day of on-boarding to the last day of my internship.

Though I am excited to return to my M. Tech in CSE program at IIIT Hyderabad, I am also  eagerly waiting for next year to come back to AppD and carry forward with the same energy and enthusiasm.

Intern Spotlight: Exploring Flash-Based Cache for the Data Platform Team

I interned with the Data Platform team at AppD’s Bangalore office in 2018. The team is responsible for ingesting and storing the metrics sent by agents running on client servers. They process millions of metrics per minute on their staging server.

When I first arrived, the tech stack that the team was using, and even Java, was new to me. The code base was pretty large and I was lost in figuring out non-essential details for quite some time. There were several smaller pain points as well. The indentation used by YAML is particularly unforgiving. As an intern, it’s not possible to have the relevant context of all the libraries you are making changes to or using. There was a certain amount of delay that I had to go through to get access to staging machines, help from different teams, etc. which I wasn’t expecting. My mentor was effective at quickly debugging errors, which helped me realize the value that he brings to his work and that he did for me during my internship.

My Project

The figure above shows the architecture maintained by the Data Platform team. Metric data packets are sent by various agents on client machines to an API gateway, which publishes the packets to a Kafka queue. A metadata annotator reads packets from this queue, does validation and enriches the data with metadata and then caches the relevant metadata in memory. These caches are warmed up gradually by querying metadata from remote services and databases. After processing a packet, it is published to another queue. If packets aren’t processed within specified SLA, they are dropped.

Since all the metadata caches in the annotator are memory based, they have to warm up again during partition rebalancing or service restarts. The throughput dips during this warmup and we miss SLA for a brief period. While there can be different approaches to fix the SLA drop, we took inspiration from state management solutions used in stream processing. We decided to use RocksDB as a persistent cache for keeping the metadata. We would replace an in-memory cache with RocksDB and achieve existing steady-state performance. A secondary goal was to reduce the memory footprint of the annotator.

Implementation: Making Changes Locally

We first wrote a wrapper over RocksJava, a JNI driver of RocksDB. Based on the metadata we used different serialization primitives. RocksDB contains over 120 tunable parameters hence we initialized the parameters based on the implementation given here. An inbuilt TTL feature was used to ensure the eviction of entries. We prioritized making the least possible modification to existing code for ease of testing. On doing a code flow analysis of how caching was done, we realized that all the existing caches implemented a Guavas interface. Hence, we decided to implement the same interface and added a boolean flag to decide whether a particular cache would be flash-based or not. We added unit tests as needed and did local testing. We then published a docker image for our changes. Now we created a new helm chart to test our changes in staging.

The existing metadata annotator was stateless. We created a new service (λ) which would have the same functionality as the metadata annotator while being stateful. We enforced a rule for scheduling in Kubernetes that a single node is scheduled only a single podof λ using node affinity and anti-affinity rules. A separate Kafka consumer group was created for the pods of λ so that λ would read the same data read by the metadata annotator. We changed the topic name that λ produced to so that relays weren’t affected. We now deployed λ in the staging cluster.

Up to this point, I had only encountered minor errors. However, after deploying λ on staging, several issues came up. First, there was an increasing lag. Second, we saw higher than expected CPU usage. A single pod of λ had up to six times the CPU usage versus the existing metadata annotator. We decided to dig deeper into the RocksDB parameters to optimize it further. All of this took up half of my internship. The other half, I spent improving the performance of λ.

Performance Tuning

We started out by analyzing what type of workload we required from RocksDB: read or write-focused or a mix. We realized we have a read heavy workload with infrequent writes. Also, the size of data to be written was in the order of KB’s. After reading up on RocksDB internals, we made changes to optimize for our workload. Bloom filters were enabled in RocksDB and always stored in memory. Additionally, instead of using Binary search to find the exact location within a file, we started using a Hashtable. We also disabled compression, checksum checks, write-ahead logging, and statistics gathering. We increased the RocksDB in-memory cache size for frequently accessed data from SSD by two orders of magnitudes. All these changes reduced CPU usage and reduced read amplification. However, we were still getting approximately 70% performance compared to the existing metadata annotator. To improve our performance further, we analyzed λ using various profiling tools.

We used various profiling tools such as Perf, Oa (internal to AppD) and thread dumps to find out where most of the CPU time was being spent, which code flows were taking the most amount of time, and what exceptions were being generated.

From the profiling and code flow analysis, we realized that there was a mistake in our serialization/deserialization procedure. Through looking at code flow for the calls that were taking the most time, we were able to observe that λ was using the Java (de)serializer all the time, which should not have been the case since the data types we were trying to cache were either Protobuf objects or Java primitives. Through analyzing the thread dumps and Perf reports, we saw that a significant amount of CPU was being used on (de)serialization. After correcting this error, we were able to achieve the following performance metrics:

λ Performance Increases

λ was able to get comparable performance to the existing metadata annotator. The above figure shows the single packet processing time for both the annotator (mentioned above as DIS-Metric-Processor) and λ (mentioned as DIS-Metric-Processor-RocksDB). Each pod of either service was serving requests of 10 million metrics per minute. For a single pod, the CPU usage of λ still averaged 3.5 times of the annotator (down from 6), but we were able to reduce the memory usage to half. Similar to Kafka, RocksDB was able to make good use of the Page cache of the OS in improving its performance.

Changes That Didn’t Work Out

The staging cluster only contained network attached SSD’s. We wanted to get an idea of how the service λ fares in a scenario where the pod would have access to a local NVMe based SSD. Although there was an existing cluster in AWS, barely any packets were flowing through it. I would have to synthetically generate the required amount of packets and set up other related components. Getting access, setting up and making these components work in cohesion proved to be quite a challenge, especially since I didn’t know how they interacted with each other.

I faced an endless stream of errors in the various components. This experience made me appreciate the work that the operations team does to ensure that every component is working. After analyzing the hardware configuration of the staging cluster, I felt that reducing the RAM usage should not have been a priority at all and we should have tried out memory based RocksDB, where only a log is stored on disk. However, I was unable to try this out.

I had come into the internship expecting a hackathon type of environment. On the contrary, It was a far more structured environment, with thorough testing to avoid issues during production. I was pleasantly surprised to find that people weren’t stressed about the work but rather focused on doing things the right way. I got a real feel for work-related challenges in the software industry, which was a huge plus for me. Finally, a good deal of time was spent on discussions and ironing out the pros and cons of any proposed solution, before moving out to the implementation.

Despite being new to the technology stack, I was never left to the wolves. After doing my own debugging on any issue that cropped up, I was able to approach the other team members. All the team members had the technical knowledge to bail me out when needed.

I also got a chance to participate in a lot of fun activities at the office. This picture was taken from a parody of Powerpuff Girls, where I played Professor Utonium. I also got a chance to socialize with my colleagues at work and through team outings and social events where I got a glimpse into my colleagues’ non-technical lives.

Interning at AppD was a great learning experience, both in regards to how the industry functions and learning technologies. The stress was very manageable and the team members were considerate in helping out when needed. There were a lot of recreational activities that happened during my time as an intern. As my internship came to a close, I was offered a job at AppD and have now joined AppD in Bangalore as a full-time employee.

2018 Summer Internship Recap

The intern season has been in full force this summer, and the time has flown by before our eyes. Most of our interns are now heading back to their universities, taking with them weeks full of learning, mentorship, friendships, and new experiences.

This year, we had an intern class of 24, including 18 in San Francisco, 5 in Dallas, and 1 in New York. We continue to bring on interns on the technical side, such as software engineering, security, customer success, SRE, and on the nontechnical side, like sales and legal. In addition, we brought on interns for new roles, including partnership marketing, product marketing, HR, and sales engineering. They all went through a rigorous interview process and have spent a full summer as AppDynamos, fully immersed in their respective teams.

If you’ve never heard of AppDynamics, we’re an enterprise software company based in San Francisco. Our company has almost 2,000 employees, but we’ve maintained a startup culture with great perks. Our internship program is small but mighty, and our interns are able to take ownership of their mission-critical projects. With a smaller internship class, we’re able to allow our interns to make an impact, whether that’s working on our core projects or helping to build new programs. Here’s a detailed look into this past summer.

Our SF Intern & Mentor Kickoff event at ramen making class

Becoming part of the team and the AppDynamics family

Our interns are paired with a mentor from the first day who is there to guide them through the summer. Not only do they get visibility to managers and senior leaders, they’re able to join high-impact meetings and lead presentations. We take training very seriously. Our product interns went through our Power Up Engineering training program where they learned about our codebase and our core product. Our nontechnical interns also had access to multiple resources during their first few weeks to really gain an understanding of what we do before they took on their projects.

Throughout the summer, there are both intern events and team-specific events to make sure each intern feels like part of our AppDynamics family. Our product interns had a chance to attend our 2-day Product Kickoff with the rest of our product team. They went off-site to learn about our product strategy for the upcoming year and even went on a cruise tour of San Francisco after.

Some of our product interns at PKO

The intern-specific events are planned for each week. This year we went on outings including the Exploratorium, an intern-mentor ramen making class, a pottery class, and a food tour of the Mission District. We create these intern events for them to get to know each other outside of the work environment and explore San Francisco while doing so.

Here are some photos of this summer’s intern events…

SF Food Tour of the Mission District where our interns got to try 6 different local restaurants

Our interns at a local ceramics class in downtown San Francisco

We value career development

Every week, we have our Intern Speaker Series with members of our executive team, a tradition we’ve kept every year. During these lunch sessions, our exec members meet the summer interns and share their career journeys. This year, our interns get a chance to ask 10 of our execs anything on their minds and learned some unique facts about our leaders. They’ve met everyone from our CEO to CMO to our CTO/Co-founder. To wrap up each session, our execs strike a crazy pose. Here are some of the best photos…

Intern Speaker Series with our CEO, David Wadhwani

Intern Speaker Series with our VP of Innovation Labs & Product Experience, Linda Tong

We like to have fun, and also give back

This year, our interns went to St. Anthony’s Farmers’ Market. Based in the heart of San Francisco, St. Anthony’s works in collaboration with the SF Food Bank, providing vital food security for low-income senior citizens in the neighborhood. Every Thursday afternoon, the dining room becomes a mini farmers’ market, where folks receive healthy, fresh groceries for the week. Each of our interns had a booth where they were given the opportunity to pass out fresh fruits and vegetables to the residents of San Francisco.

We celebrate our interns’ accomplishments

This year, we did something a little bit different to celebrate our interns’ summer projects and the impact they’ve made over the past 12 weeks. We hosted our first-ever interactive Intern Project Fair, where our interns presented their projects in the SF office. We even flew out our sales interns from Dallas to join us for 2 full days of events.

Our CEO, David Wadhwani, kicked off the Intern Project Fair with introductions and thanking the interns for their work. AppDynamics employees filled up our Town Hall to learn about what each intern worked on by stopping by their booths and checking out poster boards, printouts, and prototypes. Then, we celebrated their success at our Intern Goodbye Party at Urban Putt, where all of our interns went to play mini golf against their mentors and each other.

Our interns with our CPO, Danny Winokur, and CEO, David Wadhwani, at the Intern Project Fair

Austin Emch, our Sales Engineering Intern, meeting our AppDynamos at the Intern Project Fair

Our Legal Intern, Melissa Vallecillo, sharing her summer project with our CPO, Danny Winokur

Dylan Huang, our Software Engineering Intern on our End User Monitoring team, showing fellow AppDynamos what he’s been working on

Our SF interns at the Intern Goodbye Party

Our Dallas sales interns at the Intern Goodbye Party in SF

We only have a few weeks left with our interns here at AppDynamics, and in our next blog post, you’ll get a chance to read about how they enjoyed their time here, as well as about the projects they’ve worked on.

Interested in an internship with AppDynamics?

At AppDynamics, you’ll quickly make an impact with great mentors by your side. We make sure you’re gaining real-life skills and working on projects that matter. We move quickly in our interview process and will connect you to employees who’ll tell the story of our product and the growth you’ll experience during your internship. We asked a few interns about why they chose to start their career here…

“I chose AppDynamics because of the positive culture and career growth opportunity.”
— Cat Ruedi, Sales Intern

Inside Look: AppDynamics Dallas Office

“From day one I could tell they were interested in me as a person and not just what I could or couldn’t do for them. They were honest with me, which encouraged me to be honest with them in the hiring process.”
— Austin Emch, Sales Engineering Intern

“The engineers at AppD showed me that the company’s product is something I want to be working on.”
— Dylan Huang, Software Engineering Intern

For more information and to apply, click here.

Recap: Summer Internship Program

Our summer internship has come to an end. Our interns put in hard work this summer across their different departments and have made quite an impact here at AppDynamics. While we’re sad they’re making their way back to school, we know they are taking many important lessons with them. In this post, we’ll take a look at the final highlights of their internship.

Intern Speaker Series – Meeting our Executive Team

Interns with Thomas Wyatt, our Chief Strategy officer.

Every Wednesday, the interns met with members of our executive team during our Lunch & Learn Speaker Series. Our interns led conversations with our executive team members –  including our CEO, CTO, COO, and CMO – and had the chance to ask anything on their mind. Execs shared their professional background while giving extremely valuable advice for success. David, our CEO, even asked for their input and feedback on a few things!

Mentorship, Networking & Forming Lasting Relationships

Our interns were paired with mentors this summer who supported them with feedback, guidance, and advice. Our interns built lasting relationships with their mentors who have helped them grow professionally and personally over the past 12 weeks.

In addition to the 1-on-1 guidance from their mentors this summer, interns had a chance to network with our fresh grad hires over the years! Each intern was assigned a fresh grad buddy to show them the ropes when they first started. We had a fresh grad & intern lunch mixer where our recent grads gave valuable advice and shared why they chose AppD for their first role after college. The fresh grads and interns even attended a Cisco & Meraki Early-in-Career happy hour to meet other early-in-career folks within the Cisco Family.


Ultimately, our interns had the chance over the summer to bond and build friendships over the summer. We had countless events outside of the office including a graffiti class, cooking class, escape room, a food tour of San Francisco’s Mission district, and a final goodbye bowling party. They’ll be able to look back at the summer together and share these memories!

Final Projects

The work our interns did this summer has made a lasting impact at AppDynamics and in their departments.

All of our SF interns grabbed a mic and took the stage to present the projects they’ve been working hard on all summer  They were able to demonstrate the ownership of their projects, the quality of their findings, and even gave next steps and recommendations for their projects as well!

Our sales interns had the chance to present their final project to the entire sales organization as well in Dallas. At AppDynamics, our interns don’t work on side projects or things to just keep busy. They’re projects that truly make a difference here even after the summer’s over.


We’re already looking to bring on the brightest talent as interns & new grads for 2018. Be on the lookout for our open positions on our careers page.

In the meantime, meet some of our 2017 summer interns and learn about the awesome work they’ve done.

Stefan Hermanek – Product Management Intern

Where do you go to school, and what are you studying?

Carnegie Mellon University, Masters of Information Systems Management

Why did you pick your major/area of expertise?

I’m super interested in tech, tinkering with new ideas, and building products that delight!

Why did you want to intern at AppDynamics?

AppDynamics is in a really unique position to own both IT Ops and Analytics, while also being really driven and focused by customer focus. I love contributing along the way!

Which classes have helped you prepare best for this internship?

Managing Disruptive Technologies, Distributed Systems, and Client Side Web Technologies – some tech, some business, just like it should be 🙂

What skills/knowledge did you gain from your internship and why?

I learned a ton about product management in enterprise software. More importantly, I learned how to articulate needs, blockers, and requirements. Personally, I’ve learned a lot about what I’d like to do in my future career, where my strengths are, and what my areas for improvement look like!

What projects did you work on, and what was the most challenging part?

I worked on integrating adoption metrics for Business iQ, from top of funnel to feature-level adoption. The project creates end-to-end visibility, sliceable to the account level. The challenge was identifying owners of data, and then integrating data from various sources, units, time measurements, etc.

What’s one thing about your team that you enjoyed?

Everyone’s always up for a smile and a joke, and I really loved the energy around the office.

Carmen Martinez – Legal Intern

Where do you go to school, and what are you studying?

University of San Francisco, School of Law

Why did you pick your major/area of expertise?

My undergraduate degree was in Business Administration. I have always loved the concept of a business: transforming nothing into something, transforming an idea into a product. However, I easily realized that I didn’t want to get an MBA but instead want to go into the legal side of a business. I went into law school with the idea of going into corporate law or IP. Through various experiences throughout my first and second year at USF, I grew interested in the transactions side especially within the tech field.

Why did you want to intern at AppDynamics?

I became aware of AppD through previous legal interns. They all had really enjoyed their experience here and said they have learned so much while enjoying their experience. I will say though, that the interview process, was what really sold me on AppD. It was an interesting experience that allowed me to see the culture that was present at AppD. First, I was interviewed by the Senior Corporate Counsel (who ended up becoming my current manager), Evan LeBon. His approach to really get to know what I was looking for in an internship and what my career goals made the process unique. Typically in interviews there is only a “what can you do for the firm/company.” However, this interview felt different because it was also about whether AppD could benefit me as well. Whether I could get meaningful exposure to the legal field that would help me personally.

Which classes have helped you prepare best for this internship?

I wouldn’t necessarily say a class has helped. All classes have taught me to be analytical when it comes to what I read which has helped in paying close attention to detail, especially in reviewing contracts. However, I was a part of a StartUp Clinic at USF that provided some preparation for this position. Our StarUp Clinic was set up as a Legal Team format essentially, where a corporate, employment, IP and business student worked for a client. Similar to how AppD has different team members within their team, so did our clinic. The dynamic and importance among different team members has translated. However, the type and level of work has been a learning process.

What projects did you work on, and what was the most challenging part ?

I was part of the contracts team, therefore I got to work on a variety of agreements. However, the most challenging part came within the first couple weeks of my internship. There is definitely a steep learning curve to understand the AppD product and services offered. Understanding what our product does and does not do is key, because it lets you understand what risks need to be considered and what language in contracts is more important than others.

What’s one thing about your team that you enjoyed?

Their mentoring approach. What I mean by this is that this isn’t a team that just gives their interns work for the sake of doing work. It isn’t busy work either. But instead these really are learning opportunities that are meant to be challenging. Everyone I have gotten the chance to work with has helped me to not only learn how to review/draft/execute an agreement but understand why it should be done a certain way. They have really committed to teaching me how to be a transactional lawyer and not simply how to do the work that needs to be done. Every team member has their style and their way of teaching but they all have one thing in common: they really want their intern to succeed. Evan, for example, was always willing to explain any type of concept or agreement, provide options, but also make me think thoroughly about any proposal I had. Amy Hansen, our Deputy General Counsel, taught me how to be thoughtful and purposeful in the language I use. I knew very early on that suggestions and edits I gave had to have a justification for them. Her style, made me very analytical in the way I redlined a contract or drafted an agreement. Hwa Lee, the Director of Intellectual Property, instilled the idea that I have to know my audience. That no matter how much we know, if we can’t communicate it to people outside our Legal Team, it makes our job impossible. He also taught me about Open Source so that was pretty amazing.

Overall, AppD’s legal team is extraordinary. The reason being because personal success looks like team success (or at least that’s how I saw it).

Paul Loftness – Security Intern

Where do you go to school, and what are you studying?

I attend Baylor University in Waco, TX.  I am studying Computer Science and Philosophy.

Why did you pick your major/area of expertise?

I wanted to work in information security.

Why did you want to intern at AppDynamics?

The AppDynamics employee I met was extremely sharp.  I wanted to work with people of his caliber.

Which classes have helped you prepare best for this internship?

Systems Programming

What skills/knowledge did you gain from your internship and why?

I honed my skills in system integration work.  I learned more about regulatory and industry framework compliance.

What projects did you work on, and what was the most challenging part?

I worked on the unified compliance metrics development project and the security questionnaires and enablement email list. It has been both challenging and rewarding to to learn how to communicate security information to salespersons with maximum efficiency.

What’s one thing about your team that you enjoyed?

I appreciated that people were willing to spend time together when not on the clock. This made for a very cohesive team.

Bradley Baniewicz- Sales Intern

Where do you go to school, and what are you studying?

I attend Baylor University, where I am a Senior pursuing a degree in Professional Selling.

Why did you pick your major/area of expertise?

I chose to focus my studies in the area of sales because I view the ability to sell as a fundamental skill required for success in business. It became clear to me that gaining someone’s confidence and trust is fundamental to succeed in business. I believe the ability to interact with another person is the greatest skill one can possess. Therefore, I wanted to develop that skill and learn to apply it in my career and in my life. Through the opportunity and curriculum in the ProSales program at Baylor, I have been able learn and develop these skills.

Why did you want to intern at AppDynamics?

I wanted to intern with AppDynamics because I saw it as the place to gain valuable sales experience in the technology industry. I wanted to gain this type of experience with a company that has both innovative and advanced solutions. In addition, I saw it as a place with strong character and leadership – a place that would provide the most professional growth.

Which classes have helped you prepare best for this internship?

The classes I would say that have prepared me for my internship are ProSales & Communications I and Principles of Marketing & Business Communications.

What skills/knowledge did you gain from your internship and why?

One of the biggest skills that my internship helped me develop was time management. Having to meet deadlines for projects/assignments, while also having time commitments for meetings has helped me prioritize and manage my time. This was absolutely essential in my internship in order to be efficient. In addition, the internship helped me continue to develop my presentation and public speaking skills. Throughout my internship, I was given the opportunity to present in front of the sales team, senior leadership and fellow interns. These opportunities to speak provided me with real experience to present the findings and research that I worked on throughout my internship.

Not only did this internship help me improve my skills, it provided me with insight into the Application Intelligence industry. It also provided me with knowledge about the sales process/structure and strategies.

What projects did you work on, and what was the most challenging part?

I assisted in the creation of a Black Friday Vito sequence in order to target retail companies that are preparing for Black Friday & Cyber Monday. I worked on an analysis of 2017 Fiscal year data. That analysis took an in-depth look at the accounts sold into during the 2017 fiscal year, and provided insight into areas for expansion. In addition, I helped with the consolidation of named accounts for Q3 and helped create contact lists for reps with named accounts.

The project I found the most challenging was the analysis of our 2017 fiscal year data. It was the biggest project I worked on and the most comprehensive to the company as a whole.

What’s one thing about your team that you enjoyed?

What I enjoyed the most about the team is their helpfulness and willingness to teach. There is an amazing culture at AppD that promotes learning, growth and creativity. This culture is set from leadership and spans through every sales rep in this office.  Everyone I have worked with has left a profound impact on me. Working alongside the Reps in the Dallas office for Ten weeks has been one of my greatest learning experiences.

Joan Hong- Software Intern

Where do you go to school, and what are you studying?

University of Southern California, B.S. Computer Science and minoring in Cinematic Arts

Why did you pick your major/area of expertise?

I’ve always enjoyed problem solving and logic. When I took my first computer science course in high school and found that both of these are fundamental to coding, I knew that I wanted to learn more. As I discovered how much impact and innovation can be created through tech, I became even more interested in computer science and software development.

Why did you want to intern at AppDynamics?

I wanted to intern at AppDynamics to learn about how to create, manage, and monitor large scale applications, as well as understand how AppD achieved its high growth and success. The people that I spoke with throughout the interview process were welcoming and excited about their work.

Which classes have helped you prepare best for this internship?

All of my coding-related courses, including Operating Systems, Principles of Software Development, and Data Structures and Object Oriented Design, helped prepare me for the technical challenges of the internship.

What skills/knowledge did you gain from your internship and why?

I developed my technical skills by building the foundations of a micro-service. I quickly learned about the codebase and other open source frameworks and technologies, such as DropWizard. I also learned to take more initiative to receive as much feedback as possible and to reach out to fellow team members.

What projects did you work on, and what was the most challenging part?

I worked on the new initiative, Dev IQ. This project aims to break into the developer market by creating a tool that integrates runtime monitoring data from production deployments into developer tools. I built an end-to-end MVP for the Java version of the product, which consisted of the service itself and the IntelliJ plugin. The most challenging part was learning about and using the codebase, but by the end of the summer, I was much more comfortable with it.

What’s one thing about your team that you enjoyed the most?

Everyone on our team was friendly. My mentor, Suraj, was very knowledgeable and thoroughly answered all the questions that I asked about the project. One of the team members, Vivek, especially impacted my summer by taking the time to reach out, introduce me to more people at AppD, and share his experiences with me.

The Four Things I Learned in Ten Weeks at AppDynamics

It’s Friday, July 28th, 2017, 7 PM, and I’m sitting down to start writing this blog post. It’s the last day of the quarter and I’ve just finished week six of my eleven-week summer internship at AppDynamics. Realizing that I’ve passed the halfway point, I figured now was as good a time as any to reflect on my experience here thus far and set new goals for my remaining five weeks.

I moved to Texas in June with a start date, one suitcase, one duffel bag, and zero friends or family. Since then I’ve had two car breakdowns and countless moments of uncertainty, but I’m still here, and proud that I’ve made it this far! Coming to Dallas and AppD was the first big risk I’ve taken in years and my first time without a built-in safety net to catch me.

Because I’ve been pushed so far outside of my comfort zone, this entire experience (a sales job, life in Texas, and staring senior year/graduation in my face) has taught me more than I ever expected. I can pretty much place all of my life and career lessons of the summer into four buckets…

1: Set Your Own Goals, Then Exceed Expectations.

When I introduced myself to my manager on day one, neither of us knew what I could handle or how I would perform. I’m pretty sure he thought it was funny when I told him, “If you want me to get three New Business Meetings, I want to get six! My goal for the summer is to double any performance metric you give me.” Looking back I probably would’ve had to suppress a laugh if I were him.

But while doubling metrics is probably too lofty to be consistent, that meeting helped set the tone with my manager from the get-go and, more importantly, helped me set a high bar for my own expectations. Once I had said it out loud to a member of leadership, I had to produce or run the risk of looking like an idiot. It also gave me a confidence boost. By setting high goals for myself, other people began to expect more from me.

2: Always Say “Yes” to (and Ask for) New Challenges.

Numbers and analytics have not traditionally been my strong suit. I’ve never had a passion for math and before this summer my excel proficiency was limited. But when your manager asks you to do regressions and data analysis, you figure it out!

In just six weeks I’ve been asked to do all sorts of projects that don’t align with what I believed to be my primary skill sets. It took a lot of Googling and flashbacks to high school statistics, but I was able to produce the content I was asked for. Now I’m actually proficient in excel and understand what goes into doing a business-centric data analysis on KPI’s. I was even able to present my findings to 90+ people at the quarterly sales review! I would never have cultivated these new skills if I had said no simply because I hadn’t done it before or because I wasn’t a “math person.”

Candidly, at first, I said yes to every project simply because I was too afraid to say no. But that evolved into another huge life lesson; you might have to ask for help, but you can figure it out. Additionally, the best projects I’ve worked on this summer are ones I’ve asked for. If you have extra bandwidth, you may as well use it to challenge yourself. Always say yes to projects that present new challenges because they give you the chance to grow and (shout out to lesson #1) exceed your own expectations.

3: Say “Hi” and Ask Questions

According to some reps, they thought I was shy my first week at AppD. I quickly realized I needed to put myself out there with people if I was going to become part of the team and get the most out of the potential mentors sitting a few desks down.

After week one I got advice from my dad who said, “Just say hi to everyone and ask lots of questions.” Really simple, but something that I can take with me in all aspects of life. The information and insight I’ve gained just by asking questions in passing and interacting with AppD employees have been overwhelming in the best way.

The people I’ve met here have helped me make the transition to Dallas easier than I could have ever hoped. They’ve also equipped me with insights into the tech industry and business world that no classroom could ever provide. This is what happens when good people make up a great team and all strive for a common goal.

4: There is No Silver Bullet

One of my favorite things about being an intern is getting to shadow and learn from so many different people. And while there are consistencies and patterns of how the best reps achieve success, there definitely isn’t a silver bullet.

I’ve watched the high-energy, extroverted “sales shark” excel, but have also worked with equally successful people who are quiet in nature and take a remarkably different approach with their customers. Despite personality differences, there are three things I’ve seen every successful rep display: persistence, adaptability, and an unending desire to learn and improve.

At AppD I’ve observed a culture fostering this positive individual growth. There might not be a silver bullet for prospecting or closing deals, but the sales organization and leadership has found a way to enable success for reps of all personalities and tenure. This is the kind of culture that breeds achievement and builds high-performance teams.

Higher Expectations Going Forward

I’ve experienced unprecedented personal and professional growth in the past six weeks at AppDynamics, and it has inspired me to expect more from myself and made me even more hungry to learn. Upon reflection, all four of my life lesson “buckets” from this summer seems a bit simplistic. My experience here, however, has been anything but. Only after reflection did I really notice that this summer has clearly come down to working hard and asking for opportunities.

If my internship at AppD has taught me anything so far, it’s given me a new perspective on my career as I enter my senior year of college. I’m no longer looking for a first job. I don’t want to just take whatever position comes with the highest salary. Instead, I want my first position to act as the launching point for my entire career. I will pursue an AppD culture; somewhere I can learn, expand my responsibilities and thrive. I want to live by the mantra, “If you’re the smartest person in the room then you’re in the wrong room.”

Finding a place where I can learn and grow as a young professional is now my #1 priority. Going forward I won’t look or ask for jobs, but opportunities to prove my potential and show the value I can add. Thank you to the AppDynamics team for providing me with a launching pad for my sales career.

I’ll end with the infamous words from GlennGary Glenn Ross and the ultimate sales lesson: Always Be Closing.

Abby Stratton is a rising senior at Northwestern University. She is originally from Excelsior, MN and is excited to apply the learnings from her summer internship as she pursues a career in technology sales.

Summer Internship Program at AppDynamics

The best learning experiences are hands-on experiences. That’s why at AppDynamics we invest so heavily in our summer internship program. We feel it’s important that college students and postgraduate students have opportunities to grow and expand.

This year we are fortunate to have 14 interns spending their summer with us. Their backgrounds include product management, software engineering, legal, sales, and customer success. So far their projects have had a positive impact on both our company as well as our community.

In this post we’ll look at some of the community activities our interns have participated in and some of the team building activities we kicked our summer off with to bring teams together! We’re sure some of these ideas will be useful to any other teams out there considering internship programs or brainstorming ideas for team activities.

Team building: Bay Voyager

As the interns started to arrive for their summer program, we wanted to break the ice to foster an environment of fun and trust. We enjoyed a beautiful cruise in the San Francisco bay on the Bay Voyager. We were incredibly lucky to have a sunny day on the water, lots of sea animal sightings, and great conversations about what was to come. What a great way to start the summer.

Volunteering: Glide Memorial Church

As a San Francisco-based company, we wanted our interns to give back to the community we call home. We made our way to Glide Memorial Church and served over 560 dinners to needy  individuals and families. Glide Memorial serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner 364 days a year with an average of 2,000 meals per day. The team had a great experience meeting members of the community and better understanding their needs.

Volunteering: Year Up

Year Up is a nonprofit that seeks to close the opportunity divide by providing low-income young adults with the skills, experience, and support to empower them to reach their potential through professional careers and higher education. Our interns spent the afternoon helping Year Up students come up with and pitch a product idea (think Shark Tank). A panel of AppDynamics employees watched Year Up students and their intern mentors pitch products, give feedback, and decide on winners.

Leadership: Lean In

Our interns joined forces with other local interns to create and moderate a Lean In Circle, hosted at the AppDynamics office. Joan Hong and Shivani Mall partnered to create an environment where meaningful discussion and personal thoughts on leadership, empowerment, and insecurities could be shared. These Circles enable interns to meet each other, develop a network, and discuss issues surrounding women and diversity in the tech industry.

In our next post, we’ll share more details on the structure of our program, our goals for success, and some of the most significant outcomes we’ve seen from our interns this summer.

If you’re interested in technical and nontechnical internships, please check out our careers page in September for 2017-2018 openings —

Don’t forget to check back in a couple weeks for more details on our summer internship program!