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Day In The Life: Meet Mozilla Data Engineering Intern Vanessa Gutierrez

Estimated reading time ~ 4 min
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Mozilla data engineering intern Vanessa Gutierrez works on coding for Firefox’s data pipeline and helps promote a healthy, open internet for all people.

Vanessa Gutierrez
Data Engineering Intern, Mozilla
San Francisco and Mountain View, CA

6:00am: My alarm goes off, and I resist the temptation to hit snooze. I’m out in San Francisco for the summer working as a data engineering intern at Mozilla, and today I’ll be working from Mozilla’s Mountain View office, which means I have a train to catch. After checking the weather – it’s another hot and sunny day – I put on a smart-casual dress (no disrespect to the t-shirt/jeans/Converse unofficial techie uniform you see around the office). Next, I eat a bowl of brown sugar peanut butter oatmeal (don’t judge until you try it!) while catching up on emails and reading through messages on Slack, the app my team at Mozilla uses to chat.

7:00am: I hop on my work-issued bike and ride two miles to San Francisco’s Caltrain station. I pass right by the San Francisco Mozilla office (where I work out of a few days a week) on my commute to our Mountain View office.

7:30am: I load my bike onto the train and, in true Silicon Valley style, watch techie after techie get on as well (you can tell by the company logo on everyone’s t-shirt or backpack). Since there’s no wifi onboard, I use the hour-and-a-half commute to call my grandparents in Paris, put on make-up, (re)read the Percy Jackson series, or catch an episode of NPR’s How I Built This podcast.

8:45am: I arrive in Mountain View and bike a mile from the station to the Mozilla office. Before heading to my desk, I make a quick stop at our kitchen for some tea and raspberries. I’m meeting my colleagues in a few minutes for our weekly data platforms meeting. As a data engineering intern, I write code for Firefox’s data pipeline and help promote a healthy, open internet for all people. Since Mozilla has many employees working in offices around the world and remotely, a bunch of teammates dial into the meeting via Vidyo video chat.

10:00am: This is usually a popular time slot for meetings, like the general Mozilla-wide meeting where offices and people around the world tune in and get important updates, or the Women Speaker Series for female full-timers to impart their wisdom on interns, or intern office hours for interns to approach HR about anything and everything. No meetings? Time for me to sift through a handful of unread Slack messages and then get started on some coding. I check my Bugzilla notifications – a testing tracker we use for software issues – and resolve any lingering questions and edits before my reviewers in Germany and Italy end their work day. I read over my notes from the day before and begin coding for Firefox in C++ and Javascript. Our code base is huge, but I’m determined to be productive until lunch.

11:30am: Lunch time. I go downstairs to get food before the rush. Mozilla caters some pretty amazing lunches, and I enjoy some sushi with a table of fellow interns and a few full-timers. When I’m in the San Francisco office, I tend to go “off campus” more and use lunch as an opportunity to connect with friends at other cool companies – so far I’ve had lunch at Twitter, LinkedIn, Khan Academy, Sequoia Capital, and Square. The network out here is really crazy – I’ve connected with people through fellow interns and coworkers, but also at post-work events and even through ride-sharing.

Vanessa Gutierrez

12:30pm: Back to coding. I settle into a hammock chair...or a massage chair...or a couch...or the rooftop patio… a perk of Mozilla life. It’s nice to have the freedom to change it up. I try to pick up again on my project, and figure out any walls I’m running into. I shoot a question to my mentor Sunah (who works remotely from Chicago) about how to change some existing code.

2:00pm: I meet with my manager Katie for our weekly 1:1 and discuss my applications for grad school. She gives me some great feedback on my progress during these last weeks of my internship. There’s always someone awesome to have a conversation with at Mozilla, and what I’ll miss most about my internship is the people. Both my mentor and manager are super approachable, knowledgeable, and helpful, and I’m really appreciative to have them.

3:00pm: I stop by the kitchen and grab a plain Greek yogurt with honey and bananas mixed in. Despite the availability of so many snacks, I’ve been good about staying healthy so far. I start chatting with a few teammates, and then another intern and I decide to go work from the beanbag chairs.

Vanessa Gutierrez

4:30pm: It’s almost time to clock out for the day. I write myself some to-do's in the code for tomorrow and set a few reminders on my laptop. The next train back to San Francisco leaves soon, so I pop down to visit our receptionist and check out one of the Firefox bikes again and ride back to the station.

5:30pm: I head to a women-in-tech networking event hosted by AirBnB. I’ve adopted a “say yes” attitude toward these events, and even though I’m tired, they’re always beneficial. Tonight, Twilio engineer Dom DeGuzman shares how she balances tech life and staying true to her roots. Each speaker has such an inspiring story and the panels are always diverse. After the event, I take advantage of some much needed me-time with an aerial silks class at a studio near my apartment.

8:00pm Back home, I bake salmon and broccolini with olive oil, salt, and garlic flakes for dinner. Delicious, healthy, and easy – my kind of dinner. I finish watching the last episode of Cable Girls on Netflix. This series has some high quality telenovela drama.

9:30pm: I take a shower and read a few chapters of Trials of Apollo: Book Two, The Dark Prophecy before bed. I like to give myself plenty of time to sleep so that I feel energized the next morning (or just so I don’t feel like an absolute zombie waging war on my alarm clock).

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