It seems like only yesterday that our latest cohort of hard-working and dedicated interns made their premiere at Discord, but the cohort known ‘round these parts as the Cord Club has reached their season one finale. Spread across the whole of Discord, every one of them has taken on formidable challenges—and every one of them has risen to the occasion.
We sat down with just a few members of the Cord Club to ask about their journeys, their favorite memories, their proudest accomplishments, and advice they have for future Discord interns. Below is their wisdom:
“I belong to the first-generation of citizens and college-students in my family,” says Jovita Martinez. “As always, when you are the first of something great, you must ensure you are not the last.”
The moment Jovita got the box with her Discord equipment in it, she knew a new chapter was about to begin in her story. The challenges ahead of her were daunting: armed with SQL and analytics tools, she was to take on invaluable work for the Data Science & Analytics department of the Revenue team. Her achievements helped to inform the product decisions we make on a regular basis. Combined with her family’s needs and expectations, it added up to a lot of pressure...and the fact that she had to present her work live in front of the entire company as part of the intern portion of an all-hands meeting didn’t help.
It helped that Jovita wasn’t in it alone. In addition to the company’s Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), she thanks her mentors and manager for giving her the encouragement she needed to shine throughout the process. It’s a support she hopes to pay forward.
“Passing on knowledge is only natural, and I hope to give guidance to future students belonging to historically disadvantaged groups. Optimistically, that will be my next accomplishment.”
Any last advice, Jovita?
“This is easier said than done, but do not let your fear stop you from asking questions. Advocating for yourself is one of the most valuable things you can do as an intern, and employee.”
“This summer I’ve worked on the Growth Team as part of the Notifications Squad,” says Marcus Mitchell. “My main tasks were to update the missed messages and friend request email templates and run experiments to figure out which revised template performed the best according to metrics like app session start and whether users opened the email.” Like most technical challenges, it required a host of tools, languages, and proficiencies to unravel...which is especially difficult to do when you’re going through one of the worst depressive episodes of your life.
“To be honest I probably should have taken more breaks and communicated more about how I was feeling,” Marcus reflects. But it’s understandable: when you’re taking on a brand new challenge, one that represents an opportunity you’ve worked hard and struggled for, it’s hard to fight the voice telling you to keep your head down and push through it. And he certainly did: not only did he make his goals, he found the time to organize the BLK @ Discord book club, one of many support systems that got him through. “Regardless, I’m proud that I showed up with whatever energy I had each day and left a mark.”
Still, Marcus advises future generations of interns to be forthcoming when they need support, a break, or anything else. You’re there to support your team, but your team is there for you too: “set whatever boundaries you need to take care of yourself.”
“Before Discord I had this idea in my head that being a software engineer was something that I couldn’t handle or didn’t have the drive for,” says Miguel Lazares. By the end of the summer, that idea would be long gone.
Miguel’s work was in moderation, working with the vast Sentropy API to create bots that could filter abusive speech. This was not a small project: it required not just building a bot from nothing, but managing asynchronous code and multiple databases to bring it home. In other words, it’s something only a bonafide, grade-A software engineer can handle...and Miguel handled it with aplomb.
“I realized this summer that I am capable of great things and to take pride in my work. More so than any technical skill this confidence will be invaluable going forward into the rest of my career.”
It’s an inspiring arc, but Miguel has something more specific to offer future interns: “Don’t be afraid to state what you need and to advocate for yourself if your needs aren’t met. Talk to your fellow interns as it will help you feel less alone in the work world and provide a community for you to rant to and have fun with.”
Come to think of it, that’s good advice for long after your internship.
A student of sociology, Netta came to Trust and Safety by way of her academic discipline. “It was incredibly exciting to me to find a way to marry my interests in sociology and human rights with my love for tech,” she says. “I soon began working for my professor in his research lab, with a focus on dis-and-misinformation regarding the 2020 election.”
Like Miguel, Netta came aboard when Sentropy joined the Discord family. She spent the summer doing invaluable work beta-testing features and assessing tools to help keep some of Discord’s most vulnerable users safe.
“Working in Trust and Safety is all about advocating for the safety of our users, and especially minors and those who have been systematically marginalized. It’s never fun to think about how Discord features might be abused, but I realized how important it is to continue to push to build safer products.”
After an incredible season, Netta’s advice for future Cord Club members is simple: “There are so many unique, amazing, kind souls that work at Discord. Don’t be afraid to reach out to them and learn from them.”
When Discord picked up Backyard, Crystal was an intern―and one of only thirty employees. “When first coming to Discord, I had no idea what to expect, but I was blown away by how welcoming my new team was. Within the first couple weeks, by observing how the Community Team interacted with each other through memes, jokes, and playful banter, fear of judgement or timidness quickly vanished.”
Crystal has already worn a lot of hats centered around her core skills: “helping with community building, feedback collection and feedback analysis.” She was even chosen recently to present to the entire company during Hack Week—blending market analysis, product research, and her star presentation skills towards helping highlight underrepresented communities on Discord!
But one stands out as her greatest passion...and accomplishment. “I'm currently working on creating a "single source of truth" document about what we internally know about Discord users. Chatting with a UX Researcher one day, he mentioned how Discord is quickly expanding, and with this rapid environment, many new employees do not have a ‘Discord Users 101’ as a resource. With this new project, I hope we can create a more effective way to inform new employees or refresh current employees on what we know about Discord Users.”
Since coming aboard with Discord, Crystal has made a lot of great memories: a spontaneous dessert-ranking tier creation meeting, getting that box of Cord Club swag to share with family members...but also just sitting down to chat with fellow employees about their journeys. “I've learned that everyone is happy to meet with you, and I really appreciate employees' willingness to chat and support.”
Sound like the kind of place you’d like to build your own career at? Take a dive into our LinkedIn company page, where you can discover more stories from the people who help make Discord a great place to work.
Be sure to check out our jobs page as well. We’re always hiring, and new positions emerge all the time, and we’re starting to open positions within the EU as well. Stay tuned!