Eric Levy – Software Development Engineer, iOS

Eric Levy – Software Development Engineer, iOS

ERIC LEVY

Software Development Engineer, iOS Consumer App
Remote
Joined: 2015

Eric is probably the only iOS Engineer at Groupon who was previously a high school principal -and- is currently a teacher of Ancient Near Eastern History. When did he decide to make the jump from education to engineering? That fateful day the iPhone hit the markets.

What are your favorite Groupon memories?

Too many! Geekons (Groupon’s annual internal hackathon); finding out the Groupon app made the top-20 list; sailing excursion in the San Francisco Bay.

What was your first role here?

iOS developer. I was impressed with iPhone hardware and software pretty much as soon as it hit the market. “That’s a device I want to code apps on!” I said. So I did.

What do you love about what you do?

I help code the iOS Consumer app. I love everything about it: I love that millions of users use it daily. I love the great team of brilliant programmers, QA-ers, PM-ers, et al. whom I work with. I love the free candy and cereal (a little too much) when I’m in the office.

You have an interesting career journey! Tell us about what you did before Groupon.

I took a job teaching at Kushner Yeshiva High School (yes, THOSE Kushners), and after three years, I got a Masters and decided, “hmm software management + teaching = principal.”  So I did that for 5 years in Toronto and New York. But I didn’t love it. There were so much politics and so little education! I ended up taking a teaching position again in a high school in Atlanta and did that for a few years. Around that time, the iPhone and iOS hit; so cool and so fun to develop for.  So I dusted off my coding skills, started developing iOS apps, took a work-from-home programming gig with the Nerdery in Minneapolis, then CNN in Atlanta, and finally Groupon (yay!). I still teach one class in AP Computer Science (Java), and I teach adults, mostly Ancient Near Eastern History and Literature, which is what my Masters is in.

You also worked at a startup in Israel…what was that like?

I joined an Israeli company, called Fundtech, as a C++ programmer in 1993. It was a tiny office with about 6 people or so in a building in Tel Aviv overlooking the Mediterranean. It was a wire transfer system running on Windows NT. The software went live in 1994, and it’s still used in hundreds of banks worldwide. If you wire money from one bank to another in the US, there’s a good chance you’re using that software. I spent 7+ years with the company and in the end, I was the Manager of Software Development of the Funds Transfer Systems, FEDplu$ (US) and PAYplu$ international). It was fun, but I love teaching, so I wanted to give that a try.

What was your first impression of Groupon as a workplace?

Friendly, open, and collaborative. Cutting edge!

What’s your favorite part of your team’s software development process?

I love the way we collaborate, starting with the kickoff, the review of the requirements, documenting the internal specifications, discussions with the designers, code reviews. It’s all great.

What’s your favorite local business?

Anytime Fitness!

Where can we find you outside of work?

Bicycle, bicycle, bicycle, sail…and bicycle. And spending lots of time with my family (bicycling and sailing)!

What’s been the most challenging thing you’ve worked on here?

We tried to rewrite a large part of the iOS app in React-Native, so, among other benefits, the code would be largely cross-platform: iOS and Android. I had to master the language (JavaScript) and the foundation (React-Native). In the end, it was too risky legally, and the project couldn’t get off the ground. But it was fun and challenging while it lasted.

What do your parents think you do?

They think I’m a doctor. Shhhhh.

What’s your favorite programming language?

I like ’em all–each language for its proper place. The more languages, the better.

How does your work connect to Groupon’s mission of building the daily habit in local commerce?

I help code the main consumer experience, trying to make the experience a bit more attractive, a bit more responsive, and a bit more intuitive to use. 

Tabs or spaces?

Tabs!

Vim or emacs? Why?

Cuneiform on baked clay. It’s somewhat more modern than those two.

Lauren ‘Lo’ Jozefat – Corporate Recruiter

Lauren ‘Lo’ Jozefat – Corporate Recruiter

LAUREN ‘LO’ JOZEFAT

Senior Corporate Recruiter
Remote
Joined: 2011

Sales Recruiter Lo values transparency and open communication during the interview process…and cake doesn’t hurt, either.

What teams and locations do you primarily hire for?

Sales in Phoenix and Chicago

What are some best practices for candidates to keep in mind while they interview here?

Don’t just tell us what you think we want to hear! We truly want to make sure you are a good fit for the role and that this role would be a good fit for you. Honesty is a policy that goes both ways when interviewing, and we might even find a position that could be a better fit!

What should a candidate know about how to work with you during the recruiting process?

I appreciate transparency and know that interviewing can be tough if you currently have a job. Make sure to communicate clearly so we can move things along quickly!

What’s the #1 thing you wish all candidates did?

Accepted job offers to work with us!

What’s something that candidates are sometimes surprised to learn about Groupon?

The variety of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) we offer and how we encourage everyone to get involved outside of their day-to-day!

Time to brag a little. Tell us about your proudest accomplishment here so far.

I’m really proud of my career path at Groupon. I was a fashion major in college and if you would have told me I would be working for a tech company as a recruiter I would have balked. I was hired to help Groupon launch a fashion channel, which never came to fruition. During my first week of training, I was pulled aside and told that my job was now to help launch a project that “doesn’t have a name yet.” The project was Groupon Now, and while that endeavor isn’t around anymore, it was an incredible learning experience that took me from Sales to Account Management to Recruiting. I started recruiting for the positions/departments I used to work in and I can honestly say, I can’t see myself doing anything else now!

How does your work impact Groupon’s mission of building the daily habit in local commerce?

The employees I hire into sales are mainly on the front lines. By hiring the right people, we have an immediate effect on the local businesses that are featured every day. Without the amazing deals, our customers can’t keep shopping!

What are some of the most memorable things you’ve seen at the Groupon office?

I joined Groupon when there were a lot of crazy activities going on. I saw a mini horse in the lunchroom one day (I think they had dyed its mane green?), the return of “Groupawn” when one man lived off of only Groupons for an entire year, and a children’s choir walking around the floor singing pop songs.

Tell us about your involvement with Women@Groupon and the Employee Volunteer Program.

I joined Women@Groupon to find a mentor. I always heard stories about women growing from the mentors they had, and I did not have that experience yet. I have participated as both a mentor and mentee a few times! I also have been a major participant and advocate for the Employee Volunteer Program; I even lead a team during our Volunteer-a-thon competition in 2015. My favorite volunteer organizations are Dress for Success, Anti-Cruelty Society, and the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

What was your first impression of Groupon?

To wait for my interview to start, I was brought to sit in a lunchroom where there was a baby shower going on. Everyone was having so much fun eating cake and taking time to enjoy each other and celebrate. It was exactly the type of place I wanted to be [eating cake].

What’s your favorite local business?

Cooking Fools! I bought a Groupon for a pasta-making class with my mom and it was one of the best experiences EVER. We had so much fun that I ended up buying her a pasta machine for Mother’s Day and we now make homemade ravioli as a family for the holidays.

Tell us something about you that might surprise us.

My great-great (maybe -great?) grandma was Miss Norway. My family lives in Chicago because she participated in the Columbian Exposition “Chicago World’s Fair,” fell in love with the city and never went back!

Eric – iOS Engineer

Eric – iOS Engineer

ERIC HYCHE

Staff Engineer, Core iOS Team
Remote
Joined: 2014

When he’s not working on the local school board, whitewater rafting, acting in community theater, or taking photos as a Google Trusted Photographer, he’s traveling the country with his father to visit every baseball stadium. Oh, and he’s also helping build Groupon’s top-rated iOS app.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

My team and I went whitewater rafting in Coloma, California and also visited Sutter’s Mill, where gold was initially discovered, kicking off the California Gold Rush. The best part of the trip was watching one of my teammates sneak up on another teammate and pull him off the boat. A good time was had by all.

What was your first role and how’d you get to where you are today?

When I first joined the company, one of my first assignments was to help merge the Groupon iPad app into the main Groupon app. At the time, the Groupon app was a separate app in the iOS store and we wanted to “go universal” and have a single app. I learned a lot about refactoring during that time.

What do your parents think you do?

I think they believe I wrote every line of the Groupon iOS app. It’s hard for them to understand how many people are involved in writing an app like ours.

What’s unique about Engineering here?

It’s definitely the most fun Engineering organization I’ve worked with in my career. I mean “fun” in the sense that Groupon does things on a regular basis that make work enjoyable. It doesn’t just “happen” – it’s intentional.

Tell us about your favorite part of your team’s Software Development process.

My favorite part is the open, honest, and friendly debate we have about code style and architecture. Name your favorite language! Swift: I really like the expressiveness and the type safety of it. Of course, if you had been working with Objective-C for years, you’d probably be happy with just about anything else.

What was your first impression of Groupon?

Working at Groupon was my first exposure to the work culture of Silicon Valley. I had worked for RealNetworks in Seattle for 14 years, and the culture in Seattle was still very much one of cubicles and offices. Getting used to open workspaces took some time. The other first impression was one of fun: I loved the Polaroid pictures on the wall, the funny conference room names, and the jokes on the exterior doors at the Palo Alto office.

What’s the story behind all the baseball pennants in your office?

My dad and I started a quest about 10 years ago to visit all 30 of the major league baseball stadiums. So at every stadium, I buy a pennant and put it on the wall in my office. My dad got his 30th pennant with me last year when we visited Fenway Park in Boston and Rogers Centre in Toronto. I have been to 28 major league ballparks, and still have 2 more stadiums to go to: Arizona Diamondbacks and Minnesota Twins. So yes, I have 28 pennants on the wall in my office.

What’s something surprising about you?

I’m an elected official. I was appointed to the school board of Kingsport City Schools in 2014, and then successfully ran for re-election in both 2015 and 2017. Being on the school board of KCS takes most of my free time. Prior to being on the school board, I used to do some acting in community theater. I’ve attached a photo from the last play I was in a few years ago. I played Fagin in the musical Oliver.

Also, I am listed as a Google Trusted Photographer, and I frequently upload pictures to Google Maps and Street View. My pictures on Google Maps have over 1.5M views.

If you could do another job for a day, what would it be?

I think I would be an economist. Being an engineer, I never really studied economics in college, but in the last few years I have started reading all these books about economics and listening to several economics-related podcasts. I like the territory that economics occupies – between math and the social sciences.

Now for the important stuff: tabs or spaces?

Spaces, all the time, everywhere.

….and Vim or emacs?

Emacs: mostly because of inertia. I learned it well in college and never saw the need to learn a different tool.