My Internship Experience at a YCombinator-Backed Startup

SigNoz

Priyansh Khodiyar
6 min readSep 8, 2022
I admit it’s such a bad thumbnail.

Mic check, mic check, 1, 2, 3 hello…

Alright.

So, I recently completed my Developer Relations — Internship at SigNoz (a Y C Backed Startup), my first $paid internship.

Previous to that I did a couple of unpaid internships (it’s alright) and got to learn a lot of things about how teams work.

I still remember I couldn’t sleep the night when I got my very first internship and the call from the team that they have selected me for the Web Developer Intern role, I was on Cloud9.

Okay, back to Earth.

How on Earth did I get this internship?

One word — Network.

At that time, I was a sophomore pursuing a Bachelor of Technology from an Indian University and got to know about the GSoD 2022 (Google Season of Docs ) program.

There were in total 31 organizations shortlisted by Google for this program and the deadline was approaching.

Out of those 31 orgs, one of my mentors knew about SigNoz and so he said to try proposing this org and I did.

This was my proposal.

To get the founders' attention, I started helping user queries in their community Slack channel, pointed out areas of improvement in the existing product documentation, and watched and read everything I could find on the internet with the word ‘SigNoz’ and yada yada yada…

I was interviewed by the founder himself, Pranay Prateek (he was chilling at a resort at that time).

Verdict: I didn’t get through (hence, got rejected) as they found a professional technical writer from Europe.

I was sad for 5 days, 19 hours, and 23 minutes.

GSoD is a word-wide program and to get in, you (as a student), need to compete with the entire world (literally). There were only 31 seats (JEE was good).

So, (31/8,000,000,000) * 100% ~ 0.0000003875. (there are 6-zero’s btw).

Okay that was my rant for not getting selected.

BUT…

and this is a big but,

as they were satisfied with my interest in the company, they asked me to submit a 15min video pitching SigNoz and so, I submitted a 25min video instead (I lost track of time).

and voila! I get the internship.

A little background about the company.

SigNoz, an open source Application Performance Monitoring tool, a Datadog alternative, that helps you monitor your applications and troubleshoot problems.

SigNoz uses distributed tracing to gain visibility into your software stack and is Backed by Y Combinator.

Period.

So, day 1 started with an early morning (before coffee) call from Ankit Anand (also known as cruxakii), briefing me about how SigNoz works with OpenTelemetry, the vision of the company, and my tiny role in it.

I look super-duper serious :)

According to the official Offer Letter, these were my deliverables:

  1. Evangelize SigNoz among developers, including giving talks.
  2. Test instrumentation apps with SigNoz and create tutorials related to it.

…and so my work started with understanding the underlying architecture, and tech stack and reading many blogs that were already available.

After a week, I became the voice of SigNoz (though temporarily) and this was published (the very first one), where I kind of explain the working of an OpenTelemetry in Go Application using SigNoz, following a blog post.

<plus more than 16 of them for various other tech stacks like Rust, Ruby, Javascript, PHP, etc>

and the finally latest one before signing off,

not to mention I got a professional grade Microphone (Razer Seiren Mini) to record these tutorials, which now helps me to record my own
Podcasts (The Priyansh Khodiyar Show).

Moving forward, this happened!

and then this …

wish to attend this in-person someday :3

The last piece of work I did was to create an entire technical F.A.Q. section, covering most of the common questions that users usually ask about SigNoz, instrumentation, and installation.

For this, I read the entire SigNoz community Slack Channel (t’was hard but got awesome clarity on what exactly the users are facing problems with).

and then this…

I can’t describe in words what the first salary feels like :)

I also worked to update the CONTRIBUTING.MD file (this PR).

and in the end, this happened.

But Priyansh, how do startups, umm…actually work?

Startups work by conducting standups a.k.a meetings. Eh! that is such a bad PJ.

  1. Product Ownership — When you join a startup as an intern, obviously you won’t be getting any ESOPs but you still feel like you are a part of the product. At least I felt it that way.
  2. Mindset — We don’t have fixed timings, you are assigned work and it’s up to you. They don’t care when you do it, just complete it within the next deadline.
    Mostly, they are chill even if you need more time to complete them.
  3. Network — I missed out on this, because my internship was completely remote, I was usually in contact with Ankit, (and not Ankit Sir). Although I did manage to know all the other team members (and get them to accept my LinkedIn connection request).

“Network is the new Ladder” ~ Priyansh Khodiyar

Priyansh, tell me your Takeaways:

  1. Goodies: Coffee mug (which I might use, not a coffee person tbh), T-Shirt.
  2. Although this was not a directly code-related internship, it did teach me to build and run every kind of tech stack, be it Elixir, .NET, Ruby, Rust, Go, PHP, etc.
  3. Got me introduced to a new and exciting world of OpenTelemetry and CNCF and unlocked many future opportunities.
  4. Built valuable connections.
  5. Lifetime tag of Y Combinator :) (At least I can flex).

Overall, it was a thrilling experience, with each day I had something new to experiment with, improve documentation of sample instrumentation apps, and have a lot of fun.

In the end, I would say that few things change the course of your life, this experience at SigNoz was one of them and I am very glad it happened.

If you have read this far, check these links out.

SigNoz project — here

Wanna contribute? Front-end / Back-end ? We got you covered — here.

p.s. — Please do not get offended by my writing style.

I hope you got clarity out of this article and would love to hear your thoughts about (did I miss something?) this, so feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn or Twitter or respond in the comments below.

Do reach out, I would love to talk to you.

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Priyansh Khodiyar

I write highly researched technical articles on things I daily learn, sometimes code, and interview people. khodiyarPriyansh@gmail.com. Check my About section.