Palantir Internship Experience Essay
Work/life balance was kind of bad. Not for me, since I was a software engineering intern, but FDEs had notoriously bad work/life balance, and even software engineers on my team put in 50-60 hours some weeks (2 over the course of a twelve week internship, and both were when we were pushing for release). And this culture of "taking pain" was ingrained in Palantir; I distinctly remember hearing things like "Palantir engineers are set apart by their inability to give up even if things get really hard." Which sounds great and all, but really endorses this work before everything else culture (which doesn't always exist, but can come up before releases).
Tying into the previous point, the culture seemed a little kool-aidy. People were really hyped on Palantir fighting terrorism and "saving the shire". People told me that they joined the company because Palantir was the only company where you could change the world and solve huge issues on Silicon Valley pay. Which is true, to an extent. But I don't think that attitude, that Palantir is so much better or doing so much more for the world than other Silicon Valley companies is healthy for their engineers to have.
Overall, it's a mixed bag. If you care a lot about your work having a huge impact, and you are okay with putting in more than 40 hrs/week some weeks, then this may be the place for you. If not, you can still probably fit in, and find a place at Palantir, and you would probably be really happy with your coworkers. But you might be happier at another company in terms of work-life balance and culture. There are a lot of really amazing companies in the area after all.
Sample cover letter for Internship position at Palantir
Software Engineer Intern
Dear Hiring Manager,
- Provided critical problem resolution and assistance with troubleshooting, diagnosing and fixing production website issues, developing monitoring solutions, performing website maintenance and configuration for Premier and Professional customers of Microsoft who use the .NET platform for developing web applications.
- Guided and provided best-practices solutions to web developers all over the world, especially from North America in Microsoft .NET coding, performance issues and post-production debugging.
- Provided technical training and feature explanation to Microsoft Partners on latest .NET/ IIS/ Web technologies.
Currently, I am a candidate for a Master of Science degree in Computer Science. I am confident that with a proactive approach to take up new technical challenges, determination to excel and the ability to handle tremendous responsibility, I will be a valuable asset to your organization.
I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience. Thank you for your time and consideration.
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