My Qubole Internship Experience

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October 6, 2016 by Updated April 24th, 2024

When I walked into Qubole’s office on June 10th—the first day of my Product Analyst Internship there—I had nothing with me except for a notebook and a pen. Within an hour I had been given a laptop, a desk, and a roadmap. It was the fastest ramp-up I have ever experienced and I loved it. Since then, my perception of Qubole has only gotten brighter. The product, the culture, and the people especially have left me with nothing but good things to say about this company.

One of my big worries, before I joined, was that I would struggle with getting help from more senior people at the company. Instead, I was blown away by how willing my teammates were to go out of their way to help me. I felt respected and integrated almost immediately into the environment. Right off the bat people learned my name and made me feel comfortable at Qubole.

I started working right away, and managed to complete quite a few projects in my time at Qubole:

Benchmarking Qubole’s Auto-scaling Spark Clusters

As one of my first projects at the company, I designed, implemented, and evangelized the results of Qubole’s first-ever benchmarking of auto-scaling Spark clusters. In addition to relaying and analyzing the raw results of this benchmarking in my original blog post, I also quantified the dollar value provided to some of our customers in my follow-up post. My analysis even got featured in Qubole’s ad placement in DZone (page 19 of this PDF; link requires registration at DZone).

Quantifying the Benefits of an Exciting Potential Feature

More recently, I evaluated the potential benefits of a feature that the engineering team has been considering for cost reduction to our customers. Together with the engineering team (including our CTO, Joydeep Sen Sarma), I developed a metric to quantify how much this feature might be worth for our customers, and iteratively refined it as I learned more about the technical limitations and possibilities.

Expanding the Metrics Pipeline

Early on, to understand the product and get a better grasp of the data infrastructure already in place at Qubole, I increased the number of sources from which we were collecting our product usage data. This expansion has helped to make the billing process more simple and has helped to make our usage analysis more complete.

Analyzing How Customers Configure Clusters

I also compiled and aggregated data on how customers choose to configure their clusters. The results of this analysis will help us in developing better default cluster configuration recommendations. It also helped provide some data points for Qubole’s solutions architects to help advise our customers on how to configure their clusters.

Making a Geographic Map of Qubole’s API Activity

As a fun side project, I also developed a map of where Qubole API calls were coming from. This involved digging into the API logs and extracting IP addresses, converting those IP addresses into coordinates, aggregating them by city, and mapping the result in a Zeppelin Notebook. This side project can help the sales and customer success teams make decisions about where to place future staff. It also allowed me to work alongside another member of the product management team.

I came in with no idea what my day-to-day would be like. It turned out that the type of work I was going to do was completely different than anything that I had learned in my statistics courses at UCLA (and way more interesting). Along the way I learned many valuable lessons and improved many skills:

  • Improved my SQL, Python, R, and Excel skills. I even picked up a bit of shell scripting!
  • Learned about the big data industry
  • Developed an appreciation for the importance of making data-informed decisions
  • Got a deep look into product management

I found the work to be both challenging and fulfilling. I woke up every day knowing that Xing (my boss and mentor) would assign me tasks that would both help me grow and contribute to the company. The type of work I did was perfect for me: it was fluid, creative, and constantly changing. Most importantly, the work felt impactful. I knew that the project work I did would help Qubole’s leaders make decisions about everything from which feature might be worth building to where they should station more sales staff and solutions architects.


But it wasn’t just the work that made me feel fulfilled at Qubole; the events made me feel like I had joined the Qubole family. From rafting on the American River to the summer picnic at Shoreline Park, Qubole made me feel like I belonged. The engineering staff regularly went out for group lunches and I always felt welcome to tag along.

I loved my time at Qubole and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for an exciting and challenging internship.

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