My Experience At Hevo - Pavan Kalyan

Pavan Kalyan
Dec 24, 2020 · 6 min read

When I think about the different internships I have had in my short career, none come close to the enjoyment I’ve had during my internship at Hevo Data.

I did not know much about Hevo Data when I applied for an internship here. The very first intuition I had that Hevo seemed to be a good place for technical growth was actually before I even joined. I had multiple rounds of technical interviews where I got to solve and discuss multiple Data Structures and Algorithm questions, some of which were quite rare. The interviewers were more than glad to get into the details and discuss if my solution would work in all cases and what can be done to improve it. I wouldn’t say it’s particularly very hard, but it definitely was thorough. This was the first time I got an idea about the effort and care taken to vet candidates. It gave me a rough idea of the kind of talent working at the company.

Onboarding, Mentorship, and Growth

Me on my first day with the smile of someone who just got to unbox a brand new MacBook pro

At Hevo, any newcomer (intern or FTE) gets paired with a mentor/buddy who will help him/her get set up and will guide him/her through the initial tasks. I had a great time with my mentor, Vivek Sinha, who genuinely cared about my growth. When I had a doubt, he would tell me how to find out the solution rather than what the solution was and this was a far better way of learning and something that will ensure I can figure my way out of most technical issues independently in the future. We also had great discussions on Design patterns and code quality and I learned the motto:

Leave the code cleaner than you found it.

I also always appreciated his explanations of the underlying engineering decisions of different modules of the codebase.

I also had regular one-on-one sessions with my manager and there was only one question that was constant among all these sessions. It was whether I enjoyed the work and whether I felt challenged by it. Other questions were about what could be done better.

Although getting paired with a mentor/buddy may be common in most companies, but here at Hevo, the mentorship extends beyond that because you can get your ideas or designs validated by anyone (usually by people a lot smarter and with a lot more experience). Most of the conversations I have had with different employees have ended up with me walking away with a new piece of actionable knowledge. For example, one time, I was working on a feature to automatically map varchar fields in the source to columns in the warehouse with bigger size limitations like text or mediumtext. My manager, Gaurav Bahrani, asked how I would handle different collations. I did not even know what collation was at that time (This was not a part of my college curriculum!). He took time out of his work to explain how different encodings work with a historical perspective that added the necessary context for the reason it exists the way it does. This added-context is not too easy to acquire. ( This is an accurately titled article explaining all this).

Another example would be when we were launching our revamped docs site and I randomly got the chance to talk to Suraj Poddar, the engineer working on it. I got a good intro on what Jekyll is and we discussed the benefits of using a static site generator. The very same night, I started experimenting with different static site generators as I wanted to play around with them and ended up launching and deploying my own blog site.

My mentor, Vivek Sinha, explaining something to me
My mentor, Talha Khan, taking a look at my work so far and giving feedback

Culture

At Hevo, a curious and learning mindset is probably the most immediately recognizable part of the culture here. Employees and interns are encouraged to reach out and ask about the different technologies in use or the different features people are working on. We maintain an ever-growing knowledge base on the different parts of the architecture available for anyone who wants to learn more. We also had a completely remote Hackathon (dubbed Hevo’thon) where we got to identify an issue and do anything to contribute to the solution; this ranged from coding a small tool to using no-code tools to provide actionable insights into a problem. We also have a high-trust culture that avoids blame and focuses on figuring out solutions. On the lighter side of things, we also have a culture where we enjoy having fun; we regularly used to go out as a team for beers and now have regular zoom meetings (during lockdown) to relax and have fun.

Me and the team, out for drinks

Product Quality & Ownership

Everyone at Hevo puts a lot of care into the quality of the product we make, from the design of a feature and code reviews to the documentation for the feature. When it comes to code reviews, apart from any mistakes, better abstractions and best practices are discussed to maintain code quality and ensure high maintainability. At the same time, care is taken to avoid bikeshedding. When designing a feature, many things are considered but the biggest priority is the UX of the feature i.e. how it’s used and what value it provides to the user. We experiment on this part, and if it doesn’t work out we keep at it till it does.

Another part of the culture that is highly visible here is ownership. Team members often fix bugs in the platform even if that is not part of their current task or make suggestions on the UX of the product or take time to help out members working on other features. This ends up improving the product quality a lot and inculcates a habit of caring about the product in team members.

Me in the zone, unaware that someone was taking a photo of me

Work

I have interned in places before where although my work was fun, it never ended up seeing the light of day as it was usually a POC. This was in stark contrast to my work at Hevo, where the feature I work on now would be deployed in as soon as a day (or few weeks, at the latest) and will be in the hands of a user.

Within the first month of my internship, I started work on crucial features that would directly be used by customers and add significant value to the product. I remember when I worked on Google Search Console as a connector, I would regularly refresh a query to find out if any user has started using it and would monitor it for any issues. Watching my connector work almost flawlessly was a big boost to my confidence and motivated me to do better.

After I joined Hevo full-time after my internship, I was also included in the On-Call roster. This is where I would spend a week fixing bugs and taking care of any issues that happen in production. This was an interesting and challenging experience as it required solving the problem quickly so that customers don’t get impacted heavily. Although it can get very hectic at times, other team members are always there to help out when it’s needed.

Altogether, it’s been a year since I have started working at Hevo, and thanks to Hevo, the first year of my career was a fulfilling experience and I have greater expectations for myself and Hevo in the coming year.

The world of data is changing and is never going to be the same, if you think it is worth being a part of our mission and you want to work in a driven environment, give us a buzz at 100guns@hevodata.com.