HP Vertica Intern Program – No Coffee Runs Required

“No one asked me to fetch coffee for them.” —HP Vertica 2013 summer intern

Does anyone really ask an intern to go for coffee these days? Lucky for the intern I mentored this summer, I don’t drink coffee.

When I arrived at HP Vertica in July 2012, one of the first things I noticed was the great summer intern program. The interns were fully integrated into life at HP Vertica, developing features for the product, participating in design discussions, and giving presentations about their work. As a group, they had a great camaraderie, working hard while having fun.

When the opportunity presented itself, I volunteered to be a mentor for the summer of 2013. The documentation team has an intern every summer, and luckily for us, last year’s summer intern is now a permanent member of our team. I was helping out the team by volunteering….but really I wanted to join in the fun that the interns and mentors have.

Adam Seering did a great job organizing the intern program this summer, managing the recruitment of mentors and the development interns, and letting us know what was expected of us mentors: good communication, meaningful work assignments, and a positive attitude. We want HP Vertica interns to go back to their universities and tell people what a great workplace we have. Some of our best hires have been former interns and friends of former interns!

Of course, we want our interns to work hard, but with this summer’s interns hailing from Georgia, California, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New York, and, of course, Massachusetts, we really wanted them to experience Boston. Our first outing was a trip to see the movie Star Trek Into Darkness. As the summer progressed, we climbed the Great Blue Hill in Milton, visited the MIT Museum, hosted an ice cream party on one of the hottest summer days, went horseback riding, and celebrated the summer with a lakeside party at Shilpa’s house. Most of the interns rode on inflated tubes behind a power boat on Forge Pond, with CSE’s Alex Jackson steering the boat in an effort to knock them off!

Oh, and the interns did some real work as well. They worked on interesting projects that are important to the company, and they shared their work with the rest of the organization. The most common theme I heard was, “Everyone at HP Vertica is happy to take the time to answer my questions.” Near the end of the summer, Sumeet Keswani organized a coding competition to see who could design the coolest app for HP Vertica’s AMI. First prize was a toy light saber, which Tech Support director Amy Miller had to try out before passing it on to the winner, Wei, an RPI grad student who developed a cool app called “Tweetica,” which collected and analyzed tweets. (Did you know that the most trending topic in the Boston area is the Red Sox? If not, you should have guessed that!)

In August, Boston was the site of HP Vertica’s first annual Big Data Conference. The marketing interns focused on this event—planning, recruiting volunteers, registering attendees, handling communications, talking to customers at the event, and in general, making sure everything ran smoothly. Their contributions were a big reason why the conference was so successful.

Vicki, our documentation intern, arrived from southern California, to daily rain followed by two weeks of heat and humidity. What she learned about Boston weather: “I have to bring an umbrella every day.” In addition to writing traditional documentation, she produced a great video about the intern program itself, which you can see for yourself below. She had a great time filming and editing it, and the interns enjoyed participating.

We will start recruiting for the 2014 summer interns this fall. Keep an eye out at

InternVideo2013 from Vertica Systems on Vimeo.

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