My Adventure as an Intern at Alation

By Jessica Lopez

Published on September 20, 2022

Alation's headquarters in San Francisco, CA.

When I discovered Alation’s internship program, I only knew two things: I love storytelling, and I’m passionate about building for the long term. Little did I know how closely Alation’s values matched my own.

I applied to Alation’s growth marketing internship because I was interested in marketing as a potential career path. Plus, tech is competitive and exactly where I wanted to be. When you’re a student, the world is yours for the taking. There’s so much to learn and even more to accomplish. Every step you take might be the one to make you fly. As my summer as a growth marketing intern at Alation winds to a close, I can confidently say that Alation is committed to supporting its interns in whatever path they choose, and the company has invested in my success.

My Path to “You’re Hired!”

I discovered Alation’s internship program through a Chrome browser extension that automatically fills in your job applications and finds exciting positions. Alation’s growth marketing internship offered a rotational internship with exposure across multiple marketing teams — it also listed some pretty cool potential projects. It was evident how much Alation was willing to teach their interns.

I applied knowing remote tech internships often get thousands of applicants. I’d probably never get in. I was elated when I got an email saying I’d made it to round two! I was to record a two-minute video answering two questions: Why me and why marketing?

This point might be a good time to mention that I was born without hands and feet — a disability known as Hanhart syndrome. I wanted to record a video that would center on my words instead of focusing on my disability, so I recorded the video intending to crop it to show my shoulders and up.

It turned out that I accidentally sent the uncropped version that made my disability visible and made it to round 3 — they wanted to talk to me! I had four people interviewing me and only a vague understanding of Alation. To prepare, I spent hours poring over the website to learn as much as possible about data, Alation’s offerings, and its people.

When I learned I got the internship, I felt like I was flying.

A Summer of Learning

When I started my internship, I had no idea what data governance was. One of the biggest things I’ve discovered is that Alation values learning. We spent the first week discovering how data catalog supports enterprises and how we fit into — and lead — the world of data. We explored our key offering and learned with hands-on experience.

Throughout the summer, I worked with over 10 different teams within the marketing department and added 15 projects to my portfolio. The projects I’m most proud of are the ones where I learned the most. I learned the process of writing and designing our Tableau Partner page, and this project will live on even when my internship ends. It’s amazing to think that there’s a page on our website that has a part of me in it.

One of the biggest highlights for me was when Alation’s podcast Data Radicals was listed among one of the 15 best big data podcasts of 2022 after I developed and executed an outreach strategy. Even Satyen, our CEO, took note of this win! I learned how to lead projects, conduct market research, and write summary reports. I was also given the opportunity to collaborate with the design team on social media and web projects. Ultimately, I learned how to have fun on the job, enjoy work, and bring my personality and personal passions to the table.

All learning aside, the best experience of all was the people. I met friendly, dedicated people across the world with diverse backgrounds that are not only valued at Alation but included with intentionality. We got to know other interns and engaged in social events, like a virtual escape room, a goodbye lunch party, and a home scavenger hunt. Alation best demonstrated its commitment to inclusion when the team adapted their scavenger hunt so I could participate even with my disability.

We also had learning sessions, with chances to meet previous interns and learn from their experiences. One of the best tips we got was to take the time to reach out to fellow employees and get to know them and learn from them. With this advice in mind, I took the opportunity to network with others in the company. After networking with one particular director, he offered me an assignment to write a customer email to announce our new 22.3 product launch to all Alation users. I would never have had an incredible opportunity to write an email going out to thousands of people if I hadn’t taken the chance to reach out to others.

What Makes an Alation Internship Special?

Companies often treat their internship programs as a way of having interns “pay their dues” before being trusted. Alation throws this mindset out the window and invests in their interns’ success. They give interns the trust and freedom to work on projects that are highly impactful for the company and valuable for their own professional development too. Interns are empowered to work on what they enjoy and learn from the best.

When you are at Alation, you are surrounded by brilliant people who demonstrate excellence and compassion in all areas of their work. It was an honor to have my first venture into the corporate world through such a forward-thinking company. I learned that you can bring your passions into your work no matter how “unrelated” they seem.

Alation gave me one of my best summers and valuable experiences I will carry with me for the rest of my life. When you first venture into tech — or any corporate setting — it’s scary. But if you put yourself out there, you will find yourself in the right places with like-minded people who will become your role models. You will not only be welcomed but supported.

Having spent my summer here at Alation, I’ve discovered that venturing into a new world doesn’t have to be scary when you’re surrounded by human brilliance.

  • My Path to “You’re Hired!”
  • A Summer of Learning
  • What Makes an Alation Internship Special?
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