Class year: 2020
Major: computer science and psychology
Where did you intern?
Interned at Intuit in San Diego, California
What work did you do as an intern?
I worked as a Front End Engineer at Intuit on the One Intuit Help System team. During my time there I was able to take full ownership of my project and developed, integrated and deployed a new widget to provide dynamic inline contextual help across Intuit products using React JS and consuming APIs.
I also increased reusability and customizability by adding multiple layers of abstraction, allowing for more personalization in the widget.
And finally, I implemented analytics to facilitate a/b testing for the widget
How did you obtain this opportunity? What was the application process like?
I was given a coding challenge after attending the Grace Hopper Celebration Conference last year in Houston. After I cleared that I had a video technical interview where I did another coding challenge related to data structures and algorithms. On clearing that, my final round interview was with two Intuit engineers. This was also online via video. After which I was offered an internship position.
Did you work with anyone to help find and/or pursue this opportunity?
I think connecting with Intuit employees at the conference and over LinkedIn to learn more about the company was very helpful. Being given the opportunity to go for the Grace Hopper Celebration conference also helped provide a platform to be recognized and get opportunities for interviews.
What did you gain from this experience?
I think that this experience really helped me further solidify my skills and internets in coding.
Half of my team did not come from traditional CS backgrounds, which was very inspiring for me because it helped me realize the value of passion, hard work, and perseverance in making one's career!
Finally, I got to write unit and functional tests for the very first time. This was particularly cool because I never considered the value of testing since we don't really do that in a school assignment. However, writing good tests is integral to success in the industry.
The engineering world, especially for minorities, can feel very intimidating and overwhelming but everyone at Intuit provided me a very safe environment to learn and make mistakes and helped demystify the world of coding just a little more that I started to feel like I can achieve things and do difficult tasks as long as I put my mind to it and am not afraid to ask questions!
Any particularly memorable experiences?
I got my team to start playing games on Fridays and I still recall how the first time around I had to literally send them calendar invites to get them to leave their desks but by the end of it, they were very happy that I got them to spend some time in team bonding and started to attend my game sessions willingly! This was a risky move for me because I am an intern, but by the end of my internship, my manager actually commended me for being creative and working not just on my own project but thinking about the bigger picture and also my team as a whole!
Any advice for other students who are interested in pursuing an internship?
Don't be afraid to throw yourself out there. That resume will never feel fully complete but don't keep on waiting for tomorrow to apply because the sooner you do it the better it will be.
Secondly, you will get lots of rejections. That's okay. We all do and that doesn't mean you're not good enough for the industry! Always try to connect with either a recruiter or some employees from that company to learn more about the job and whether you will be a good fit for their company. Eventually, you can ask them for referrals which will help your application with that company!
Having a mentor is a really good professional decision: try to find someone, even an alum, who is in the field that you are interested in currently and connect with them! Use resources like Meliora Collective to find alumni because you know that they want to help you! These people will be able to help guide you through your career, especially when you are trying to find your roots. Yes, maybe they won't get you your next job, but they will be able to help you find it and really map out your career in the long term which is equally important as compared to the short term goal to get an internship.
Is there anything else you’d like to add that wasn’t asked?
One thing that I think a lot of us struggle with is when and what type of questions to ask. We are always given advice that we should be asking more questions, but during my internship, I often struggled with the timing of when to ask questions. And that is not something that people usually talk about. For example, if I asked my coworker how to solve something, that I was struggling for 4 hours with, he could tell me the solution in 10-15 min. So where does one draw the line between giving up and seeking help - because I want to be able to attempt stuff on my own but I also want to be more productive? The truth is there is no right answer! I found that maintaining the balance between pushing myself to try and fix the problem versus asking for help was definitely not easy and some days I spent the whole day struggling on a small thing before I asked for help and wished I had done that sooner but on other days, I did manage to solve the problem and was proud of being able to do it myself. My coworkers said that timeboxing yourself is a great way to balance this. Tell yourself you're going to take some time to attempt the problem yourself, after which you will ask for help. Don't give up before the time is over but don't also uselessly struggle when the time is up!
Questions? Ask Shagun!