How and Why I Decided to Join Datadog as a Product Design Intern

dog emoji on a light brown background

In about a week, I’ll start working at Datadog as a product design intern. FYI I’m VERY excited to start 😭

In this article, I want to share how and why I decided to go.

Disclaimer

Now, I am fully aware of how difficult it is to land an internship or job in the current market. So, if you find this article offensive, I understand and apologize in advance.

I just want to share the framework I used to decide on and document my design journey.

How I decided

For context, I got into both Datadog and LinkedIn as a product design intern for 2023 summer.

I know - this is an extremely good problem to have. I had a really hard time trying to decide which place to go.

On one side:

Who the hell doesn’t go to LinkedIn if they get in? Are you crazy? It’s LINKEDIN!!!

On the other side:

But damn… I’m starting to get very interested in what Datadog is doing… Technical product design sounds like a great new challenge...

As you can imagine, I had a lot of those internal dialogues. And they weren’t going anywhere.

Thus, I came across the video below created by Chloe Shih - a PM at Discord.

In the video, she used a decision matrix framework, and it was the perfect solution for me. Let me break down what I did (my decision matrix).

decision matrix framework where I compared linkedin and datadog
My decision matrix

Step 1 - List out categories in a table column

Categories are things you care about a company. Here are some examples:

  • Personal growth
  • Design maturity
  • Mentorship
  • Project scope & impact

For this step, delve deep into your values and ask yourself

What do I truly care about in a company?

Step 2 - Write down weights for each category

Then, after you wrote down all categories, create a new left column and assign weights for each of them.

The weight is a number that reflects how much you care about the category.

The range is up to you. What I used was a scale from 1 - 10. 1 means not important at all, and 10 means extremely important.

Be honest. I put “company clout" as a 9. Oops.

Step 3 - Add your options

Now, add each of your options as its own column. This one should be very straightforward.

Step 4 - Rate each of the options

This is arguably the most important part. Now you need to rate each of the options based on the categories out of 10.

Step 5 - Multiply & add up the points

Multiply the score you gave by the weight of the category. Then, add up all the points to get the final score.

Step 6 - Compare & reflect

Finally, compare the final scores and see which one is higher. Oftentimes, you may get surprised by the result (I did).

Why I decided to go to Datadog

In the end, Datadog’s final score was higher than LinkedIn’s. In short, I would say these are the top reasons:

Project scope & impact

Generally, at a big company, an intern’s project scope can be very, very small. It’s just hard to avoid.

With LinkedIn, the application process was extremely smooth. And I enjoyed the conversations with the designer & design managers.

But, I felt like the project scope is way too small and not the most exciting. Regardless, a big shout-out to Nair for taking the time to chat with me about her team & intern expectations!

On the other hand, last year’s design intern at Datadog shipped her project. And my hiring manager stressed that each team will give interns the ability to ship something.

See the difference?
white datadog logo on a purple gradient background
Check out last year's intern project here

Interest

The second deciding factor was

How interested am I in the team & their work?

For me, that’s a no-brainer: Datadog.

Why?

It’s interesting because I never thought I'll design technical B2B products. But, after talking to Becky from last year and learning more about Datadog, I became super interested. Not to mention I got hooked by a fascinating presentation titled “Technical Product Design.” Shout out to Billy for sending me this.

slide title of technical product design

Also, I came across these two wonderful articles written by Vanessa Ng - Sr Product Designer at Segment.

  1. Why I joined Segment as a new grad designer
  2. More than a year on: Designing at Segment
screenshot of segment's company website
This looks SO COOL 😭| Source

In short, I became super interested in designing technical products and saw it as a new challenge. So, that was a quick decision for me.

Similar scores across the board

The last deciding factor wasn’t on a single category. It was because, for all the other categories, both Datadog and LinkedIn had similar scores.

Thus, I decided on Datadog.

Aftermath

Passing on LinkedIn for me was extremely hard.

I spend a decent amount of time on the platform (trying to reduce it a ton). And it’s big tech. It has dat clout. It’s shiny. It has a great office. It has…

But, ultimately those did not matter because they didn’t align with what I truly wanted.

At this stage, I value

  1. Passion - Do I feel genuinely excited about the work? Or am I just working to pass the day?
  2. Growth - Am I growing as a designer? Am I pushing myself?
  3. Impact - Am I actually making an impact? Or am I just doing cookie-cutter, boring small tasks?

And now, I’m super SUPER excited to get started at Datadog! I will be working on the Logs & Observability team under Roz! This team was my top choice since it aligns with my intention of designing technical products!

screenshot of the log explorer on datadog
Seriously - wth is this? 😂 I guess I'll find out... | Source

Conclusion

If, in the future, you face a situation where you have to decide between options, I hope this article can help you.

I’m extremely grateful for people sharing their frameworks & advice online. And I want to do the same.

As the internship goes on, I will be posting articles on my experience working at Datadog!

And that’s a wrap!

Thank you for being awesome and reading this far! :)

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out on LinkedIn, Twitter, or by email. Will love to set up a casual call and chat!

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