Why I’m not ready to leave MediaMath yet

// 08.13.2014 // Culture

At a career fair in January, I wandered up to Eddie Fagin, a Director of Engineering at MediaMath, and asked him if MediaMath builds education technology. It turns out MediaMath does not do education technology – they, in fact, build advertising technology. But regardless, five months later, I started my summer internship at the Cambridge office on the user interface team. Now it’s three months in, and I’m not ready to leave.

My reluctance is due in part to the incredible experience I’ve gained as a developer. Working with the team in Cambridge has taught me more than any class at MIT could.

Instead of being given a project for the summer and holed away in a cubicle, I was working on production code with a team of experienced developers as soon as I arrived. My team is building the user interface for MediaMath’s Data Management Platform (DMP), a data warehouse designed to help our customers understand their users and define actionable audiences across the web. They taught me about the product and trusted me – an intern – not to break it (and I didn’t, except for that one time where I accidentally deleted that important file). I was contributing to a real product that would be used by a lot of real people.

Kayaking with David, the other intern (the matching MediaMath shirts, hidden under our life jackets, were a coincidence).

I learned a ton working with my team, but the most valuable skill I learned was not a new JavaScript framework or how to make calls to an asynchronous API. It was how to solve problems within and between teams.

The MediaMath Engineering team is unique in many ways, one of them being how well the people work together. The respect all of the engineers have for each other allows them to gracefully challenge and be challenged, and find the best solutions to the issues that arise. From daily scrum meetings to impromptu invites to the nearest conference room, the attitude towards team and inter-team problem solving is one of positivity, thoughtfulness, and efficiency. These past few months, I have learned what an effective team looks like.

The team also manages to prove that amazing productivity and enjoying your summer are not mutually exclusive. I have lived right next to Fenway Park for a year and a half, but my first two Red Sox games were this summer with my coworkers.

During my internship, I’ve also been kayaking on the Charles River, watched World Cup games in the office kitchen (rooting for the teams I picked in the office bracket pool), gotten to work early for pancakes, learned to belay and gone rock climbing, and become really good at a videogame called TowerFall. I come home in the evenings and tell my roommates, both working in biology labs, the newest cool thing I did at work that day. Needless to say, they get a little jealous.

I’ve gained valuable technical and industry skills and had an awesome summer; that’s enough to make me not ready to leave MediaMath. But really, it’s the people here that make me not ready to leave. I’m not ready to leave the people who have mentored me, laughed with me, and played TowerFall with me. They made me feel, even as an intern, that my contribution to the team, both culturally and technically, was valued.

Thankfully, they’re not ready for me to leave either.

As of August, I have accepted an offer to continue working for MediaMath part-time this year, walking the 15 minutes from campus to the office a few times a week. I’ll get to see the release of the ”Version 2” DMP and continue working to make it even better. I got so much more out of this summer internship than I ever expected, and I can’t wait to see what the school year will bring.

A Picture of Jessica Andersen

JESSICA ANDERSEN

Data Services Intern Jessica Andersen is a Data Services Intern at MediaMath in Cambridge. Though it’s too soon to tell what she’ll end up doing with her life, she knows that front-end development is better than back-end. Jessica is studying Computer Science at MIT, and when she’s not glued to the computer or doing problem sets, you can find her eating or exploring Boston with friends.
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