Nitronaut Intern Series: Jonathan Ballerano, Engineering Intern

Nitro interns are a rare breed of human. They’re hungry for working world experience, and for taking on work that makes an impact on an organization. Today, we’re focusing on Jonathan Ballerano, who detoured from IT briefly to attend law school, but was swayed by the ways of code to return to programming.

Okay Jonathan, first question: what made you select Nitro for your internship?

Well, my engineering skills were a bit rusty – I’d been putting my JD to use at the US Patent Office. I was looking for a team I could learn from, and a product I would love to build – Nitro Cloud fit the bill. Besides being talented and friendly I admired how approachable the company’s leaders were.

What was your interview process like?

Fun and challenging. I actually worked a full day, building a web app using Nitro’s frameworks. It was a valuable interview on both sides. The team got to know my personality, communication style, and abilities, and I got a very real feel of what a typical day at Nitro would be.

So, what is that typical day now that you’re here?

Coffee, meetings, coding, lunch, coding, ping-pong.

Sounds pretty Nitro to me. Did you have any expectations for your internship?

I entered this internship expecting to be challenged, taught, and nurtured, and those expectations have been exceeded. After a few weeks of learning the tools, my plate was filled with tasks from all corners of the product, from image processing to APIs and user experience.

How has the internship at Nitro differed from other internships you have had in the past?

I’m doing work that has an immediate impact (my features are already being used by customers!). My supervisors have invested a lot of time and energy in teaching me. I sit alongside the people directly responsible for all our code and all our hardware, which means that help is always available. I also got a bobblehead! That’s never happened to me before.

What have you learned at your internship at Nitro?

Where do I start?! I’ve learned to write scalable Java web apps using the Play! framework, built web application front ends in JavaScript based on numerous open source libraries, worked with others in a shared Git repository, debugged web applications using Chrome developer tools, and followed an Agile development cycle. Probably most importantly, I’ve learned that I love writing software.

I’m curious. How is working in engineering different than tinkering around when you were in college?

The biggest difference is the importance of pragmatism over perfectionism. Working within the constraints of our two-week release cycle has taught me to build something that works and then iterate on it, rather than holding off until I’ve found the “right” way to do it.


Would you take a full time job at Nitro?

I already have, actually. I’m now a Jr. Software Engineer.

That’s awesome! What do you do now?

Currently, I’m building a smartphone-compatible version of Nitro Cloud as the first step in our mobile plan, which will touch millions of people. I’ve also done my share of odd jobs, like fixing the wheels on the ping pong table, tightening the handles on the beer fridges.

What made you say yes to a full time job?

At Nitro, I am constantly challenged—but not overworked—and my responsibilities have steadily grown as my skills have developed. The senior engineers are always available to help, willing to share their current projects, and inviting of everyone’s input when they’re stuck on a tough problem.

Jonathan’s experience is just one of our intern stories, with more to come! We hope his story inspires you to find an internship that allows you to contribute your talents to and know-how, and helps you discover more about yourself too. If you’re past the interning stage of your career, consider taking on an intern – the next generation is unbelievably talented, intelligent and motivated.

You can find our current intern and full time openings here. Enjoying the intern stories? Read about other Nitro interns David Sheerin, Yue Shen Gu, Kylie Poppen and Victor Lu.