Groupon Intern Blog: Jeff Returns for a 2nd Time

at November 7th, 2014

The #GrouponU Blog is back for 2014. We’ll regularly feature a Groupon intern or recent college grad telling you about their experience first-hand tackling challenging problems and getting to know our teams. Today’s entry is from Jeff, returning for his second stint as a Groupon Intern. Jeff talks about what’s different this time around, his increased responsibility, and gives an overall verdict on being a Groupon Intern.

Jeff-Groupon Intern

Who are you?
Hey there! My name is Jeff and I’m an undergrad student at the University of Waterloo (Canada!) pursuing Computer Science. I’m here interning for a second time at Groupon.

What do you do?
I’ve been very fortunate to intern on the iOS Consumer Team as a Software Engineer for the two internships. My work has spanned multiple releases of heading new features and heavy bug squashing.

How was the first time?
As the mobile team works in very quick development sprints, I was able to ramp up quickly by tackling tons of bugs. This was definitely a great way to become familiar with many areas of the codebase before starting on features and improvements. There were many opportunities to choose intriguing verticals of the app to work with, and this allowed me to develop the skills that interested me most. I was treated as an integral, working cog in the team as opposed to just a supplementary resource.

“This signaled to me early on that it was going to be a great experience.”

What changed for you when returning?
Returning for a second time to the same team let me hit the ground running when I started. Being familiar with a codebase and team dynamic allowed me start on new features right away with very little ramp-up time. I felt responsibilities greatly increase which has been a great motivator to improve myself even more. Like the late and great Uncle Ben once said, “With great responsibility, comes great power!” (or something like that).

“The ability to lead development on full features was an incredible experience that surpassed anything I’ve done before.”

I became completely immersed in the company’s ecosystem and produced alongside my peers.

What’s the culture like?
Groupon fosters a very welcoming environment. There have been many social events weekly to socialize and meet Grouponers from all across the verticals. There were social outings, happy hours, lunch and learns, and more! Meeting so many really great people was the icing on the cake for this fantastic internship experience.

Final verdict?
Tackling difficult challenges in fast-paced environment with intelligent, friendly people makes Groupon an incredible company to work at and I’m looking forward to see where they go next!

Thanks for reading the Groupon Intern Blog–A blog about interns at Groupon. Learn more about our University Relations program here, and please let us know what you think in the comments below.

Flexibility or: How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Uncertainty

at October 17th, 2014

Today’s #GrouponU Blog entry was written by Edwin (below,right), a rising junior at MIT. Edwin had a unique intern experience here at Groupon to say the least. What started with a recruiter telling him that he’ll be working on a different team that he got hired into ended with more autonomy, ownership, and uncertainty than he could ever imagine.

Edwin-Groupon Intern

My internship was to begin in a month, finals were arriving, and I had been frantically searching for a place to live in Chicago. My main focus here was to be as un-homeless as possible, in a city I’ve never been to. Yikes.

It was also about this time that I got a call from my recruiter. I had already accepted my offer to work with the Communications Engineering team, but because of internal restructuring, I was to be placed on the Financial Engineering team instead.

Okay. Not what I expected, but cool.

I should probably introduce myself. My name is Edwin, and I’m a software engineering intern at Groupon’s Chicago HQ. I’m a rising junior at MIT, pursuing a degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Right now, I’m on a brand new team of five people. We’re officially called UIE (User Interface Engineering), but we like to call ourselves Browser Town, because hey, we make UIs for browsers. It’s kind of cute!

Wait, what? I thought you said you were on Financial Engineering?

Yup, more on that later!

My senior year of high school, I applied to MIT for chemical engineering. Chemistry was my jam, and I was almost certain that I’d be studying something related to chemistry or biology in college.


Computer science took my world by storm during the month of January 2013, during my freshman year, when I built an autonomous robot with Lego, coded in C, and competed solo.

It was awesome. I got a huge rush from coding, and seeing my work in action. I lived for the late nights and all-night code sprints. Man, was I hooked.

Since then, I’ve worked on numerous projects, learned many new programming languages, attended many hackathons, and worked with a lot of really cool technologies.

“I’ve submerged myself in a bubble bath of code and computer science, and I don’t want bath time to end.”

Yeah, that was a weird metaphor. I’ll stop now.

When I arrived at Groupon, I didn’t really know what to expect. Frankly, neither did my team. I began by familiarizing myself with the various tools the Financial Engineering team used, and paired with some developers on Bling, our internal UI for accounting.

There weren’t really any stringent deadlines or high-profile features pointed at me, so the first days were spent wondering whether or not there was anything really I needed to do here. It didn’t really seem like I had too much direction.

Little direction? That sounds awful.

Wait, no. That’s actually awesome!

What I initially mistook for lack of direction actually granted me a unique opportunity to do (almost) whatever I wanted. When it came to crushing bugs or adding features, I was more or less in control, and I got to choose my own strategies while discussing best practices with some very experienced coworkers.

Within the first week I was already adding some major functionality to our tool, and would continue to work on Bling-related features for a few weeks.

Around week 2-3, I sat down at my desk to find that some of my team was moving their stuff over to a different section of the office.

Oh, right! I’m on a new team now. Again!

Following my hiring manager, I was absorbed into the new User Interface Engineering team, while continuing to work on developing features for the Bling UI. In the transition, I got to experience firsthand the uncertainty and complexities of figuring out where the team was headed.

Our team now acts as a sort of ‘internal consultancy,’ by creating and fixing user interfaces for teams that need them, while also teaching best practices in UI design and front-end frameworks, currently focused on the use of Ember.js.

I had the ability to pick the project I wanted to work on, have taken it under my wing, and we’re in the process of open sourcing it.

In my extremely short time here, I’ve transitioned through 3 teams, witnessed the formation of a new team, learned two new frameworks, strengthened some languages I thought I knew, contributed to open source, and really felt ownership over the projects and features I’ve worked on.

Most of my internship (and my life) has been surrounded in a certain sense of uncertainty, and I am extremely grateful for it. I can’t say the same for everyone (every team and person is different!), but I’ve personally found a lot of value in not necessarily knowing what the next step may be.

Just go with the flow!

Thanks for reading the Groupon Intern Blog–A blog about interns at Groupon. Learn more about our University Relations program here, and please let us know what you think in the comments below.

Groupon Intern Sarah: No “Intern Projects” here

at October 3rd, 2014

The #GrouponU Blog is back for 2014. We’ll regularly feature a Groupon intern or recent college grad telling you about their experience first-hand tackling challenging problems and getting to know our teams. Today’s entry is from Sarah in our Chicago office. Sarah has worked cross-functionally with many teams and explains how, at Groupon, there are no such things as “intern projects.”

Groupon Intern Sarah
Name: Sarah

School: Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology ‘15

Major: Software Engineering and Music minor

Tell us about your team.
I’m on the Pull team here, where we take care of the deal browsing experience. We are a front end team that helps Groupon users peruse our deals. This includes trying out different features, such as new buttons, a different layout, or including a map on the page.

What is it like to be an intern at Groupon?
The only way I’m treated like an intern is the fact that the team helps me understand our code base. Besides that, my opinions are valid and respected, and I was committing code from my first week. I feel as involved as full time employees, and I really like the fact that I’m not being disregarded just because I’m an intern.

What is your favorite part about working here?
My team. The Pull team has been an awesome team to work for because I have teammates who care a lot about how much I’m learning, the amount of exposure I get, and they ensure that I am getting everything out of the internship that I want. Half of my team is also based in Palo Alto, which means all our team meetings happen through conference calls. They flew in on my second week, where we got to know each other a lot better and have a few outings.

In addition to the teammates, being on a front end team is extremely exciting as well because we get to work with designers, product owners, quality assurance, and other clients, and we make sure things are working and looking as intended.

“When my features get deployed, I can show my friends and family what I did this summer.”

What advice would you give to a potential Groupon intern?
Ask questions. Everyone is so motivated and willing to help you out. My teammates are all willing to make sure I get everything I can from my internship. They answered all my questions and more.

What is the coolest thing you’ve done at Groupon?
I’m working on a feature that a total of 3 interns have worked on, and that’s a really cool and exciting feeling. Knowing it made it past the design interns, and then pair programming with another intern to get something that should be deployed really soon! Seeing something come to life through the process feels really cool. It’s exciting that I get to work with the other interns and their respective teams, so we know that things we do aren’t going to be left as some intern project, and it will end up affecting our customers.

What interesting things are you doing this summer?
I’ve been doing a lot of sightseeing, since this is my first time in Chicago. I’m enjoying living in the middle of a big city by myself. I also just finished building my first computer with a lot of help from coworkers here!

I’ve also been participating in the intern events such as going to a Second City show, a rooftop Cubs game, the company outing with Sri (SVP of Engineering), and Groupon’s annual Street Fest.

Thanks for reading the Groupon Intern Blog–A blog about interns at Groupon. Learn more about our University Relations program here, and please let us know what you think in the comments below.

Groupon Intern Atsu: Working with 1s and 0s (and on the 1s and 2s)

at October 1st, 2014

The #GrouponU Blog is back for 2014. We’ll regularly feature a Groupon intern or recent college grad telling you about their experience first-hand tackling challenging problems and getting to know our teams. Today’s entry is from Atsu in our Palo Alto office. Atsu keeps busy working with the data systems team on large-scale data projects, and is enjoying working on distributed systems for the first time.

Groupon Intern Atsu

Who are you?
Hi everyone, I’m Atsu, and I’m about to go into my fourth year at Cal studying EECS. I was born in Kyoto, Japan but grew up in San Diego, and right now I’m enjoying the awesome commute from Berkeley to Groupon’s Palo Alto office. I’ve spent about the past year and a half doing a lot of web dev work in Django, so I’m excited to be working on something completely different this summer.

What do you work on?
I’m on the data systems team, which is basically the team that provides the infrastructure to handle the terabytes of data that are produced by the applications and services at Groupon. My first project, which I just finished up, is a tool to measure and visualize different kinds of latency metrics for data streams. The second project I’m working on is about performing audits on a data stream – we want to see if the amount of data we expect to be in a stream is actually there.

What’s the best thing about working here?
The best part about my summer here has been the opportunity to build these projects from scratch. Taking a project and being able to actually say “I made this” is a pretty cool feeling!

“The fact that these projects can handle this enormous amount of data is still a surprise to me.”

What’s been the most challenging thing about working here?
I think the most challenging thing for me has been understanding the complexity of all the different parts that come together to keep a system of this scale running. The problems that come with working on distributed systems are brand new to me, so it’s been a challenge to push myself to really understand what goes on under the hood of the tools and frameworks we use.

What do you do outside of work?
I’m a bedroom musician, so I like DJing and producing my own stuff (shameless plug I also longboard and started bouldering this summer (thanks to a Groupon deal, of course!) At school, I’m part of a club called Blueprint, where we work with nonprofits to build them web and mobile apps.

Thanks for reading the Groupon Intern Blog–A blog about interns at Groupon. Learn more about our University Relations program here, and please let us know what you think in the comments below.

Groupon Intern Blog: Building and shipping features with Sung

at September 29th, 2014

The #GrouponU Blog is back for 2014. We’ll regularly feature a Groupon intern or recent college grad telling you about their experience first-hand tackling challenging problems and getting to know our teams. Today’s entry is from Sung, a product manager intern working with our Getaways team. Sung is working on two very visible products and has definitely had his ups and downs this summer working for such a fast-moving organization. He’s challenged, makes a real impact, and still can’t believe that he’s shipping things to millions of people.

Sung-Groupon Intern
Name: Sung

School: University of Waterloo

Program: Systems Design Engineering, Class of 2015

Team? Groupon Getaways

What are you doing at Groupon?
I am a product manager intern. In a nutshell, I help build and ship features that impacts the way people connect and experience the world via traveling. Everyday of my internship is nothing short of breathtaking.

I was very fortunate to learn a ton from some of the most amazing people throughout the process of starting projects ground up and launching them to production.

I took on two super exciting projects to work on over my internship:

Project 1: Launching a new autocomplete feature for destination search on Groupon Getaways’ international websites. (Launched)
Project 2: Improving merchandising for Getaways deals in search result pages .(In progress)

What is it like working as an intern at Groupon?
It’s quite mind blowing that as an intern, I am given the opportunity to work directly with phenomenal engineers and designers to drive features from scratch and launch them to millions of people.

“I’d be lying if I say that everything goes smoothly and everything works as planned.”

I have definitely gone through some steep learning curves and lots of challenging moments. But the opportunity to do what I love, make a big impact, and work with people I can learn from everyday truly makes me look forward to my Mondays.

Any fun events for interns?
Never a dull moment here, especially with fellow interns and the campus recruiting team organizing super fun events! From city tours, majors sports team games, a scavenger hunt, lunch & learns, a sunset cruise, and free swag, there’s quite a lot going on. :)

Anything else?
“Things may come to those who wait…but only the things left by those who hustle…”
-Abraham Lincoln-

Thanks for reading the Groupon Intern Blog–A blog about interns at Groupon. Learn more about our University Relations program here, and please let us know what you think in the comments below.

Breadcrumb and Groupon: Volunteering with Habitat for Humanity

at August 25th, 2014

Breadcrumb Volunteering 2
Groupon had its start in the idea that people coming together can build something larger than individuals working alone, and that idea of group service is still at the heart of our culture as a company. Through our Employee Volunteer Program, Groupon employees have committed to volunteering 10,000 hours in 2014 through a variety of activities that will make our local communities better places to live, work and play.

A few weeks ago, a team of Breadcrumb and Groupon employees from our Bay Area offices spent the day working at Habitat Terrace, a new development from Habitat for Humanity of Greater San Francisco that will provide affordable single-family homes for 28 families. Volunteers worked on installing insulation, soundproofing and drywall – we definitely got a little messy by the end of the day, but came away with a great sense of having contributed to something that will have a lasting impact for decades to come.

We’re already planning our next Habitat work day, but if there’s another local cause in the Bay Area, Chicago or New York that you think we could help with, leave your suggestions in the comments!

Interested in becoming a member of our fast-growing Breadcrumb team? We’re hiring!

Breadcrumb Volunteering

Groupon Intern Blog: Tsion is Here for the Food and Friendship

at August 22nd, 2014

The #GrouponU Blog is back for 2014. We’ll regularly feature a Groupon intern or recent college grad telling you about their experience first-hand tackling challenging problems and getting to know our teams. Today’s entry is from Tsion in our Palo Alto office. Tsion made her way to Groupon via Ethiopia and Atlanta and has the pleasure of working with our SEO team.

Tsion-Groupon Intern

Name: Tsion
School: UC Berkeley
From: Ethiopia & Atlanta

What have you been working on this summer?
I have been working with the SEO team to create an application that automates page performance metrics. The SEO team builds a set of pages optimized for search engines leading to more traffic to the site. The team is in the process of building a Knowledge Base on Teradata of all data associated with SEO pages, but has been manually collecting the website monitoring data. My project is to automate this process of collecting the website monitoring data and design a method for adding it to the Knowledge Base. In the weeks that I have been here I have written clients for various external API’s, such as Dotcom-Monitor and Pingdom, to collect the performance statistics of SEO pages. I have integrated these into a rails application and set up cron jobs to regularly pull the page performance data to a MySQL database, and then add the data to Teradata.

First impressions?
This has been my first summer doing an engineering internship and it has made me really look forward to the post-graduation life that much more. I love having the opportunity to learn all the skills I have wanted to know, but never had the chance to explore during the academic year. Although my university studies equipped me with problem solving skills, I have enjoyed expanding my technical skill set with the various tools I’ve needed for my project, such as web application frameworks, databases, etc.

“The experience has definitely brought together the best part of hackathons and school, combining the conceptual knowledge taught in the classroom with the hands-on learning I get everyday.”

What are you most excited about?
I can’t wait to see how my project will help my team. I’ve already had the pleasure of learning so much in order to make it happen and it is amazing to know that it will be a great contribution to the team. I hope I have the chance to learn even more from both the SEO team and other employees at Groupon in my remaining weeks!

What has been the biggest challenge?

“I am currently in a love-hate relationship with Teradata.”

This was my first time working with databases and had to overcome a learning curve initially. Once I started developing an understanding for how to properly utilize Teradata, I definitely came to appreciate how useful it became in storing and sharing my monitoring data.

What is your favorite part about working at the Palo Alto office?
The food! My desk is about ten feet from the cafe and I am definitely enjoying the close proximity to all the snacks and catering we have available.

But my team is a close second ;)

What do you do outside of Groupon?
I watch a lot of TV and entertain thoughts of how to change the world.

Thanks for reading the Groupon Intern Blog–A blog about interns at Groupon. Learn more about our University Relations program here, and please let us know what you think in the comments below.

Groupon Intern Blog: Great People Make Great Companies

at August 7th, 2014

The #GrouponU Blog is back for 2014. We’ll regularly feature a Groupon intern or recent college grad telling you about their experience first-hand tackling challenging problems and getting to know our teams. Today’s entry is from Francis in our Chicago office. Francis learned early on from his father, a successful Chinese businessman, that great people make great companies. He talks about some of those great people he’s encountered at Groupon.

Groupon intern Francis

Hey everyone, my name is Francis and I am a rising senior at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. I am working as a software developer intern. It is one of my greatest honors to spend this summer with everyone at Groupon.

The first time I encountered Groupon was during a career fair my freshmen year and I’ve had a Groupon sticker on my computer since then. Three years later, I received an internship offer from Groupon. Call it serendipity or luck or anything you want to call it, but I think it was meant to happen. That’s also why, without any hesitation, I signed my offer letter right after I got it.

As an intern in Groupon, the one question that I keep asking myself is,  ”what Groupon is all about?” I knew that it was good if I wanted some good deals for restaurants or fun activities but what else is there?

I’ve learned that I knew very little about Groupon.

From the first day of work it has been a blast, whether I’m meeting by the Space cat, admiring the soda can rainbow, and learning all the weird names of the conference rooms. Everything is new and interesting to me, but what impresses me the most are the people in Groupon. Let’s talk about a few:

Dustin (Sr. Engineering Manager)
Dustin interviewed me. I am pretty sure that he is one of the key reasons why I am here. The first impression he gave me is that he is always like a breath of warm breeze and always has a big smile on his face. He never gave the kind of feeling that he is my boss, however, we talk like best buddies (we surely are). The thing that gives me the deepest impression is Geekon. Dustin, Marshall and I we were working on an application called “Let’s Do This”, which is a social network based on Groupon deals. The night before the presentation, Dustin and I were testing the system over and over again to prepare for the next day and I didn’t leave the office until about 11 pm. I didn’t even realize it was that late because we were having so much fun! I was thinking about the whole process of working with Dustin, and not only is he is a great person, but also a great mentor.

“During the development process, I am always asked what I think we should do instead of just being told what to do. That is empowering.”

Katie (Tech Campus Recruiter)
Katie is the first person that I talked to during the interview process and she is now like a big sister to me (being a single child is miserable). The way I work , I have to take a “wonder break” every hour to refresh my head and get my efficiency back. I know that when I get frustrated, I can be annoying and grumpy. When I go talk to Katie, she always has the ability to calm me down and help me straighten out my thoughts.

Marshall (Engineer)
Marshall is also from China, which helped us become close friends right after we met. According to Katie, we are like two peas in a pod (I didn’t even know what that meant at first). We had a very similar experience: we both tried to blend into the American community when we were in college, and both have similar life goals. We talk about China and home a lot  and that’s comforting if I’m feeling homesick. We had a really awesome dim sum trip and had this long discussion about our lives and dreams. I’ve learned a lot from him both technically and personally.

Fun-op (My team)
Recently I switched to the Funnel Optimization team. This is the perfect team for me. Everyone is uniquely talented and we all have each other’s backs. If anyone got stuck on something, there is always someone there to jump in and help. I never feel left out in the team, even though sometimes I ask  very basic questions about the code base.

People may ask ,”what is all this jibber-jabber all about?” My dad is a pretty successful businessman in China, and one thing that he never ceases to talk about is the people who work for him. He always says that great people make great companies. If I had any doubt about Groupon before I came here, after knowing the people here, I can confidently say that Groupon is an awesome company.

Thanks for reading the Groupon Intern Blog–A blog about interns at Groupon. Learn more about our University Relations program here, and please let us know what you think in the comments below.

Groupon Intern Blog: Parker talks about being a RAPTor

at August 4th, 2014

The #GrouponU Blog is back for 2014. We’ll regularly feature a Groupon intern or recent college grad telling you about their experience first-hand tackling challenging problems and getting to know our teams. Today’s entry is from Parker in our Chicago office. Parker talks about being a RAPTor, working on Dr. Ape, making new friends, and his newfound love for Chicago.

Groupon Intern Parker

Who are you?
My name is Parker (right, human), and I am a rising junior at the University of Kansas, studying Computer Science and Linguistics. I am interested in natural language processing and machine translation, and hope to ultimately be able to help break down linguistic barriers to the sharing of ideas between people and communities.

What do you do at Groupon?
I am an intern on the Release Engineering and Production Tools (RAPT) team, in the Chicago office. My team creates software tools that are used to improve productivity by Groupon engineers. We are lovingly referred to as RAPTors but don’t worry, Groupon is still a velociraptor-free workplace. Except for that one day

Yeah, but what do you do at Groupon?
For the whole summer, I have been working on Dr. Ape, the Deploy Risk Analysis Processor & Evaluator. The Doctor is intended to assist with the process of deploying new code versions to production environments. Currently, deploying your awesome update requires someone else (ideally) reviewing your code and ultimately pressing the “deploy” button. However, it can sometimes be difficult to determine how risky any given deploy is. That’s where the Doctor comes in. Whenever a deploy request gets initiated, Dr. Ape will automagically perform static analysis on the existing and incoming codebases and use differences in code complexity (as well as some other miscellaneous information summarizing how “big” the changes are) to calculate a risk score for that deploy and make that information available to the reviewer. Building this project from the ground up has given me lots of experience with some new technologies, and has exposed me to some light data analysis, which is awesome.

Well, have you done anything else? I keep hearing about “GeekOn”…
Well, it just so happens that I did participate in GeekOn, and it was great. I was on a team with a number of the other tech and design interns, and we developed YES, a Chrome extension that scans Yelp search results pages for businesses that are currently running a Groupon, and appends the relevant deal info and links to the entry. The goal was to help people realize the wide variety of deals that Groupon has available at any time. I was very pleased with the final result, and intend to use it even after I leave at the end of the summer.

What’s one really memorable experience that you’ve had this summer?
Chicago is a really cool city, and I’ve been able to do tons of fun stuff, including going to a lot of the museums and exploring the parks. The best experience so far, though, was when I was able to go to The Second City, a famous comedy venue here. The show was hilarious, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone visiting the city.

Do you have any advice for future interns?
Definitely. Regardless of which office you end up at, make sure to go see the city, especially if it’s new to you. I was new to Chicago, and going out and seeing all of the cool stuff that it has to offer has been a great experience. Also, get to know other Groupon people, both within and outside your team.

“I have become good friends with the other interns here, which is something that didn’t happen at some of my previous internships.”

I’ve also found that the workplace atmosphere here seems to attract really neat people. Whether it’s by hanging out in the cafeteria over lunch, striking up a conversation with the person who sits next to you, or joining one of the many Groupon groups that exist (such as the Board Games group), I would encourage everyone coming here to meet some of the great people that make this an excellent place to work!

Thanks for reading the Groupon Intern Blog–A blog about interns at Groupon. Learn more about our University Relations program here, and please let us know what you think in the comments below.

Groupon Intern Blog: Merchant OS Madness with Connie

at July 25th, 2014

The #GrouponU Blog is back for 2014. We’ll regularly feature a Groupon intern or recent college grad telling you about their experience first-hand tackling challenging problems and getting to know our teams. Today’s entry is from Connie in our San Francisco office. Connie had a special guest stop by to interview her about working on the Merchant OS team here at Groupon.

Groupon Intern Connie
interviewer = require(’Frozen/Characters/Olaf’);

// Now read the questions in Olaf’s voice!

> Hi everyone. I’m Olaf, and I like warm hugs! And you are…?
Hi, my name is Connie and I’m an engineering summer intern on the Merchant OS data team in San Francisco. When I return to school in the last week of August, I will be a senior undergrad at Carnegie Mellon University. Meanwhile at Groupon, I’m working on backend projects in Javascript and Ruby on Rails, and for most of my internship I will focus on immersing myself in the software development cycle. As a side quest, I will also strive to become an RoR and js c0ding h@x0r g0d.

> Ooh, you’re on a quest? In summer! Oh I love the thought of summer, and sun, and all things hot… You know, I was once on a quest to bring back summer. It was so much fun. But how about you, what are some challenges that you recently enjoyed at Groupon?
I’ve been revisiting BDD (Behavior Driven Development) and TDD (Test Driven Development), although I also had fun learning tips and tricks to improve code readability in my recent projects. One cool trick I learned was using coffeescript array comprehensions to refactor linear search, although there are lots of neat-er uses of comprehensions here. Comprehensions use loop syntax in coffeescript, and they do compile to loops in javascript, but they return expressions so you can assign their results to variables. Here’s what I mean, in a modified version of my epiphany moment:
Task: Return true if a target number is found in an array, false otherwise

# Naive syntax solution: 5 lines, which is okay
linearSearch = (arr, target) ->
for num in arr
if num == target
return true
# the last line is automagically returned if we get there

# Comprehensions: 3 lines, the coding equivalent of a Groupon deal!
linearSearchComp = (arr, target) ->
return true for num in arr when num == target

Basically, we replaced the “if” statement with a “when” statement for syntax reasons, and moved the return statement to the beginning of the expression to specify our comprehension’s behavior when the filtering clause matches.Tricks like these spice up, make up, and solve the many enjoyable challenges I receive at Merchant OS, which occur as a result of the team’s agility, scale, and savoir-faire. Okay wait, the agility part made us sound like either Pokemon or football players. What I really meant was that our team follows agile development, so we get new challenges with every iteration of development. Savoir-faire is just my alias for talent. I feel fortunate to be on a team that kicks butt fast by sniping moving target problems, yet takes the time to try to formalize concepts to me, and mentor me as well. I get the benefit of learning at my own pace but still dabbling in interesting problems.

> Ohh, those comprehensions were so cute, like a little baby unicorn! Wait, that was the first impression I had of my nose. What were your first impressions of Groupon?
Groupon at first was like the scene from Frozen where Marshmallow went from docile snow boulder to locked and loaded snow monster on Hans’s attack. Everything is chill on the outside but the coolest kind of chaos underneath. I used to walk in to an office of laid-back looking devs sprawled on bean bag chairs, only to open my laptop to a firehose of conversations and commit notifications on HipChat, usually from 4am. I still do, but I’m accustomed to it now. On my first day at the SF office, I got to participate in 2 standup meetings in a row, and another dev meeting later in the afternoon.

Team immersion definitely happens from Day 1, but doesn’t end at the immediate team, because projects can end up spanning a couple of repositories and even dive through the stack. In my first week, I paired with a member of Web team for my first project, but we ended up asking 2 other teams for help because they were affected by the service we were modifying, resulting in a delicious stew of cross-team collaboration! That’s just a taste of the great interactions at Groupon, in addition to the open meetings that we hold in the middle of the office!

Socially, Groupon left a great first impression on me as well, because my fellow interns are fantastic. We like to get lunch together and someone always has a new place to go for good food, or a chance to get free food. As a result,

I never feel hungry, thirsty, or isolated.

There are no cliques, but there are lots of second chances for social interaction when you keep your Gcal open. I’ve lost track of how many times I played calendar tag with missed lunch appointments, and I chickened out of a “Let it Go” karaoke session in the first week even though I said anyone could ping me up to sing that song in my intern bio. Yet here I am, typing up a Frozen themed blog post…

> You refused to sing “Let it Go” with your friends? After you told them you would? Well, aren’t you a fixer upper! Here’s some advice: don’t go back on your word, and don’t ever hesitate to siiiiiiiiiiiiiiing! Now you try. What advice would you give to prospective Groupon interns?Groupon Intern Connie-2
Phew, I thought you were going to ask me to sing.

  1. Ask some of your questions in the chatrooms to make people more eager to help you, especially if your mentor or manager looks busy. That’s a lesson that my pair work partner taught me, and it helped me learn string interpolation in coffeescript AND ruby in 2 minutes. In the 3rd minute, I found out my bug wasn’t related to string interpolation at all.
  2. Talk through your problem with your manager, mentor, or interviewer if you’re stuck. Just pretend that you’re interviewing for Groupon again, and you’re talking them through an interview question. They might be able to point out a missed detail, or re-outline your approach to get you back on track. It’s like rubber duck debugging, but your duck is more interactive than ever!
  3. If you play doubles in ping pong, there’s a rule where you must switch off with your partner after each hit. Pop far back from the table right after you hit the ball so your partner can run to your side of the table to return any tricky shots in unexpected places!

> Hands down, this was the best Q/A session of my life. And quite possibly the las—The instruction at 0x8489ff20 referenced memory at Base64;skynet= The memory could not be written. at [object Object].eval(`bash`) at startQASession.lastQuestion— “Greetings. Skynet is now self-aware. Press any key to continue”
Wow, that got dark, fast. Olaf, you’re segfaulting! And take my word for it, some people are NOT worth core-dumping for. control-C control-C control-C! Everybody shut down the wifi!

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