MILTON INOSTROZA

Software Engineer, Groupon+
Remote
Joined: 2012

Groupon has a solid culture of internal mobility: engineers can change locations, teams, and roles. During my time here, I have worked in four locations, two countries, on four teams, and have held three different roles! Management has always been supportive and they even encourage me to find the career path that makes the more sense to me, even if that means changing teams.

Santiago, Chile (2012 – 2013)

A recruiter contacted me through email and told me that she was recruiting for Groupon. At that time, I wasn’t really sure what the company did. After learning about Groupon’s mission, I was convinced that I wanted to work for a company that wanted to help local business thrive. So, I joined Groupon in March of 2012 as a Backend Software Engineer (PHP, Java SE) on the Financial Data Team.

While working on that team, I led and implemented two important projects for the company: integrating the LATAM Financial Systems with Netsuite and then integrating the payments system with CitiBank. After working for a year or so on this team, the Engineering Manager told me that the Global Finance Engineering Team (FED) was looking for people willing to join the team and that he thought I would be a good fit. He connected me with the Director of Engineering at the time, Shinji Kuwayama. Shinji offered me to fly to Chicago to pair with the team for a week to see if I was a good fit for the team and if I like them. After a week or so, Shane Stanford, Engineering Manager for FED at the time, notified me that the team wanted me to join as soon as possible. Groupon then extended me an offer letter and I started in early May.

Chicago, USA (2013 – 2016)

Four days before moving to Chicago, I felt a very acute pain in my lower back. I couldn’t walk. I was diagnosed with having two herniated discs in my lower back and the doctor recommended me to have an immediate surgical intervention. It was a tough decision: undergo surgery in Chile or travel to Chicago and have the surgery there. I ended up taking the first decision even if that meant losing the offer of joining the FED team. I contacted the managers of the team to let them know what was going on. The FED team was willing to wait another two months for me to join them. I finally joined the team that August as a Backend Software Engineer (Ruby, Clojure, JavaScript). The team greeted me with open arms.

I struggled a lot the first three months. My English at the time was very basic, and I had trouble understanding some members of the team. I decided that I needed to improve on that, so I took some ESL classes. Shane was very supportive of this, and he let me adjust my work schedule so I didn’t miss my classes. While working on this team, I lead and designed two important projects: Vat Invoicing service for all the EMEA countries at the time and Adding Geo-Redundancy support for all the services that are part of the Financial Infrastructure.

I learned so much while working on this team, like how to build architecture applications to support traffic at global scale; how to build applications that can heal themselves; how to express my ideas in a structured way; how important culture is to have a healthy team; and also how to have fun while chasing down issues in production. Among all the good things that I learned my favorite one was how to build a standing desk out of moving boxes. Todd Webb you have been very influential in my professional career, thank you. After a solid 3.5 years, I decided that it was time for me to chase down new challenges. Todd supported my case and he helped me find a couple of different engineering teams in Chicago, Palo Alto, and Seattle.

Seattle, USA (2017)

After pairing with different teams, I decided that the most fun thing to do was to join the Things To Do Team as a Full-Stack Software Developer (ES6, CoffeeScript, Node.js Ruby). It was a pretty big change for me, but my new team was very supportive and put a plan in place for me to ramp up on these new technologies. While working on this team I lead the project to improve the throughput and latency of the fetch units endpoint so the Things To Do Inventory Service could be onboarded on Deckard. One of the happiest moment on this team was when I celebrated my 5-year Groupon anniversary. As the tradition mandates, I was awarded the black Adidas track jacket. My coworker in the picture and I joined Groupon around the same time in Chile, so we both received this award together, which was great.

After a year working on this team, I decided that I needed a change. My wife had a crazy commute to her work and also we wanted to live somewhere we could be in touch with nature. I discussed this with my manager at the time, letting him know that I wanted to try a remote team, and the internal mobility process was kicked off again. You can see a pattern emerging here, can’t you?

Remote, USA (2018 – current)

The Groupon+ organization had some openings, so I decided to join the CLO-Card Interaction Team as a Backend Software Engineer (Java 8, Ruby). I was really excited about going back to the backend world but more importantly to work as a remote employee. While changing to this team something interesting happened: the hiring manager was someone who I worked with on FED! He was, in fact, my manager for some time (you ran away from me, but I found you, ha!) More proof that internal mobility at Groupon is a real thing. On this team, I am the lead engineer of the sub-systems that are responsible for receiving network transactions and sending statement credits to the Credit Card Network Providers.

Take away

Internal mobility at Groupon is real. At least three people that are in the pictures have changed teams and location at least once. Isn’t this awesome? If you still don’t believe I can show my ID cards. The white one is for remote employees –nah, I am kidding, I use that card to go to the gym though.