Advice / Career Paths / Career Stories

At Atlassian, Interns Get to Do Real Work—and Land a Full-Time Job

Angela Liu, a site reliability engineer at Atlassian
Angela Liu, a site reliability engineer at Atlassian.
| Courtesy of Atlassian

After participating in her first hackathon during her freshman year of college, Angela Liu changed the course of her career from electrical engineering to computer science.

“The excitement of figuring out how to make a website and use databases quickly brewed into an interest and a yearning to learn more,” Liu says. “I started taking some computer science classes and found that I really liked them and I was much better at them than my electrical engineering courses.”

This shift to computer science would pay dividends when Liu discovered Atlassian, a software development company, during a career fair later that same year. When she was a junior, Liu applied to Atlassian's internship program.

“I knew it was the opportunity for me because everyone I met throughout the interview process was really personable and seemed to genuinely love working at the company,” she says. "I also spoke to a friend of a friend who had previously interned at Atlassian. She had great things to say about her experience, so I felt confident in my choice.”

Liu enjoyed her internship at Atlassian so much that she jumped at the chance to join the company full time after graduation. Today, she’s a site reliability engineer (SRE) responsible for working on development projects that improve the reliability of Atlassian products as well as observability practices like monitoring and incident response.

Here, Liu shares why she wanted to join Atlassian after her internship, how she’s overcoming the transition from student to full-time employee, and the importance of staying curious.

What was the internship program at Atlassian like? Describe any exciting or inspiring projects you worked on.

My internship program was a unique experience as it was my first time working as an SRE. I worked with the team on projects with a feature lead and was fully integrated into the team’s agile rituals. Throughout the internship, I worked on two notable projects: one involving ingesting vendor audit logs to increase setting change visibility and another frontend project to improve tracking of subscriber notifications. These gave me insight into the balance between development and observability work necessary for SREs.

How does Atlassian set up interns to succeed in the workforce? What skills did you learn during your internship that you still use today to fulfill your responsibilities?

Atlassian sets up interns to succeed in the workforce by ensuring that they get to work on projects that provide impact to the company and teaches them how to think with a customer-centered mindset. When I was an intern, I walked away feeling like I'd worked on an important project that would better the product for customers. Putting our customers first is a skill I learned during my internship that I still use today to help respond to incidents efficiently and quickly.

What about your internship experience made you want to pursue a full-time role as a new graduate hire at Atlassian afterwards?

I wanted to pursue a full-time role because of all the amazing people I met at the company. Even though my internship was remote, I really felt supported by my team members and incorporated into the work they were doing. I also met a lot of other interns during Atlassian’s 24-hour hackathon called ShipIt, which helped us grow closer during a remote internship. I still keep in touch with many of the former interns to this day!

What is the company's new graduate hiring program?

The company's new graduate hiring program allows candidates to interview with a variety of different engineers or managers and are asked to provide a preference for products and tools they'd like to work on. Then, with each candidate's preference in mind, the recruiting team matches new graduates with a team within the company.

What has been the biggest challenge transitioning from being a student to having a full-time career? How have you overcome it?

The biggest challenge has probably been losing the sense of spontaneity and community that comes with being a student. I miss moments like going on late-night food runs with friends and complaining about hard classes with peers. It was definitely hard to stick to a routine in the beginning, but nowadays I really like that I can separate work from life and not have to worry about doing work on the weekends or after 5:00 p.m. As for the community aspect, even though my team works remotely, I live close to the San Francisco office and have been able to meet a lot of my colleagues who’ve become friends.

What do you like best about the company culture and its core values?

I like how Atlassian is a people-first company. The work culture is built on transparency where information is open by default and the people are all extremely genuine. This combination really makes me feel like a valued person at the company, even as a new graduate without much experience. I feel comfortable sharing my opinions on both work and life and know that any conflicts that may arise will be met with kindness first.

If you had to give new interns advice about what it takes to succeed or make the most of their internship, what would you say?

When I was interning, my manager gave me the advice to always be curious. This really stuck with me because being curious is not only about staying engaged and passionate in what you do, but also understanding the motivation behind why you’re doing it. Also, as a new graduate or intern, staying curious helps provide a fresh perspective to the team you’re working on and helps them rethink the processes they are used to following.

What are some of your hobbies outside of work?

Outside of work, I like to doodle on my iPad, read books, binge watch shows, go for a run, try new foods, and explore the city with my friends.