Ignite Program Hiring Overview

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Thank you for your interest in Ignite, New Relic’s early career engineering incubator program.

Whether you are a college graduate, bootcamp graduate, self-taught, or come from a nontraditional background, we encourage you to apply. The program strives to create objective standards, minimize bias, and provide a positive experience that results in a diverse candidate pool. Read on to learn more about the program selection criteria, application tips, and more.

Selection criteria

  • Basic coding skills: Produce working, tested code from scratch at a basic level.

  • Communication skills: Exhibit written and verbal communication skills, critical to long-term success as a software engineer.

  • Empathy and teamwork: Exhibit empathy and value teamwork, as research shows that the most productive teams are those with psychological safety and mutual respect.

Selection process

We respect your time and aim to minimize the amount of work involved. As such, we've settled on the following interview process steps:

  • Application
  • Coffee screen
  • Take-home exercise
  • Onsite interview (currently online)


The application consists of a resume, an optional cover letter, and a short answer question.

Resume tips

Here are a few things that will make your resume stand out: signs of completed software projects; job experience in other fields that might be relevant or valuable in software engineering—including teaching, math (especially statistics), and any programming-adjacent work, such as design or product management. None of this experience is required.

Cover letter

We suggest you only include a cover letter if you want to express something specific that can't be shared elsewhere in the application. A great cover letter is a small plus, but a generic one is neutral, and a poorly written letter is a significant negative. (Note that for some other roles, hiring managers strongly prefer a cover letter.) A cover letter is not required. 

Short answer question

We ask one short answer question in our application form:

“Tell us about a technical project you’ve worked on. Explain the details of how it worked, and describe at least one trade-off you considered. Please keep your response to no more than 2–3 paragraphs.”

With this question, we want to see that you can take complex ideas and break them down clearly so that non-experts could understand. After reading your project description, a reviewer should come away knowing what you built, why you built it that way, and roughly what all the moving pieces were. The project you describe should be technical but need not be a software project—building a camera or some other complicated project would also be fine, as long as there's some technical depth to the topic. Be sure to discuss at least one trade-off, as specified in the directions. Perfect grammar and punctuation aren’t required, but the ability to clearly express complex ideas is.

Coffee Screen

The coffee screen consists of a light technical exercise and an opportunity to ask questions about the program. The technical exercise will be on a “FizzBuzz level” of difficulty, but it won’t be FizzBuzz. You can write your solution in any language. You are free to use Google and look up API documentation; however, we prefer you don’t look up the exact solution to the exercise.

Take-Home Exercise

We offer two different exercise choices; you may choose the one that will best showcase your specific experience and strengths. One of the exercises focuses on React and CSS, and the other is a small command-line tool. All exercises are evaluated anonymously based on a strict rubric with specific criteria.

Onsite Interview (Currently Online)

The final interview stage consists of three 1-hour sessions. There is a behavioral session (“Tell me about a time when…”-style questions); a technical session (adding a feature to the code submitted for the Take-Home Exercise); and a verbal communication session (explain a technical topic of your choice). We’ll try to leave time for a break between each session. After your interview, the hiring manager will let you know the expected timeline for the final decision.

Behavioral Questions

  • What is the work you’ve done that you’re proudest of?
  • Tell me about a skill that took a lot of effort for you to learn.
  • Tell me about a time that you had to handle a conflict, either in your personal or professional life.
  • Tell me about a time you’ve changed your views about something. It doesn’t necessarily need to be technical.
  • Give me an example of a time when you were able to collaborate with somebody from a different background, even though it was drastically different from your own.
  • Tell me about a time when you took action to make someone feel comfortable in an environment where other people were obviously uncomfortable with their presence.
  • What are you looking for in a team, and what would make it difficult for you to work on a particular team?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to motivate a group of people.

Final Selection

Whether or not you are selected for the Ignite program, we will share feedback from your interview process, and might consider you for other opportunities throughout the company.