Groupon Intern Blog: Sally, Self-Proclaimed Data Lover & Engineer

By
at August 24th, 2015

The #GrouponU Blog is back for 2015! We’ll regularly feature a Groupon intern or recent college grad telling you about their experience tackling challenging problems and getting to know our teams. Today’s post features Sally, a data-centric Engineering intern from UIUC who has been working on the Fraud Prevention team in Palo Alto.

Who are you? I’m Sally Zhang and I’m a rising 2nd year CS Masters student specialized in Information Retrieval and Text Mining at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). I also received my BS degree in Statistics & Computer Science from UIUC in May 2014. I’m a data lover as well as a data-oriented engineer.

Sally Groupon Engineering Intern

[Love my bobblehead and the swing chair at Groupon Chicago HQ]

How did you get the internship at Groupon? It was my first time presenting at Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) last year in Phoenix, and I was contacted by #GrouponU recruiters a month before the conference. First, I had a phone screen with a Technical Recruiter, followed by a technical phone interview with a Data Scientist in Chicago. I passed both. :)

Next, at Grace Hopper, I talked with several Grouponers about projects, teams, and life at Groupon. Props to Groupon for being a GHC Gold Sponsor and sending so many wonderful Grouponers in green jackets to the conference to support Women in Technology! After I flew back to campus, I finished a couple more technical phone interviews with Groupon. Although it was a thorough interview process that tested my coding, design pattern, project management, leadership and communication skills, I didn’t feel frustrated or tired at all! Everyone I spoke with was really friendly, helpful, and made me feel at ease. Three days later my offer from Groupon arrived, which made my day!

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 12.25.20 PM

What do you do at Groupon? I’m a Software Engineering intern on the Fraud Prevention team in Palo Alto. My team and I strive to become “Fraud Busters.”

What happened in your first week? Two days before my internship started, my manager called me asking if I’d like to join the team on a business trip to Chicago. I of course said, “YES!” So, on my first day, I received my work equipment, had onboarding and orientation, then booked my fight to Chicago. At Groupon headquarters, I spent the rest of my first week meeting with the Fraud Operations team! It was a great adventure because I learned more about Groupon’s architecture and teams, observed the team’s manual review processes, met more Grouponers, and had a lot of fun. I love my team; they’re always welcoming and patient when answering any questions I have. After successfully setting up the development environment, I was ready to start pushing code in the following week.

What are you working on? This summer, I worked on two data engineering projects. The first project touched the backend data infrastructure of the anti-fraud platform where I not only learned a lot about how fraud detection systems work at Groupon, but I also learned to work with Ruby on Rails for the first time. I was so excited to see that my code had been pushed to the production codebase and set a foundation being built upon by other members of my team. The second project was on the fraud data analysis side where I evaluated two models for classifying Groupon Local purchases as fraud/non-fraud. I used various kinds of ETL frameworks, tools and languages including Splunk, Hadoop, Teradata, Accertify, Python/Bash/SQL, etc. Besides my main projects, I also worked on a GeekOn project with several interns and full-time employees. Our project was one of the local finalists!

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 12.26.33 PM

[At Lean{in}tern Summer Kickoff event with Groupon girls (Amanda, Bria, Kavya)]

What have you done outside of work? Groupon had a lot of cool events for us interns this summer! We went to a Giants game at AT&T Park in San Francisco, visited California’s Great America Theme Park in Santa Clara, volunteered at Full Circle Farm in Sunnyvale, went to ComedySportz in San Jose, etc. Aside from those events, I also hung out with other interns and participated in a lot of events for Bay Area interns, especially those supporting Women in Engineering.

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 12.27.18 PM

[Women@Groupon Volunteer Day at Sunnyvale Full Circle Farm]

In June, I went to the huge 2015 INTERNAPALOOZA event in SF and spent two days hacking at Summer Hack Day 2015 at Dropbox HQ, which was the first hackathon for women interns in the Bay Area. In July, I attended Lean{in}tern Summer Kickoff at LinkedIn HQ with three other interns to represent Groupon and show Groupon’s efforts in increasing workplace diversity. I also took part in Taking Flight: An Evening for Women in Engineering at Airbnb HQ where we listened to a really inspiring panel that highlighted the career paths of multiple women who had taken different routes in their technical careers. I had a really productive, inspirational and fun summer!

 


Employee Spotlight: Analysis & Haikus With Joe

By
at August 24th, 2015

Name: Joe Attard

Title: Senior Revenue Management Analyst for Groupon Getaways

Start Date: February 2014

Joe AnalystWhat did you do before Groupon? Before joining Groupon Getaways as a Senior Revenue Management Analyst, I was a Strategy Consultant in the Financial Services industry at IBM’s Global Business Services practice.

What brought you here? At my previous company, I got tired of solving the same problems over and over with the same solutions. I quickly learned that I needed to work for a company that fostered new ideas and independence. Groupon encourages innovative and creative approaches to finding solutions that will yield positive results, which is something I’m really passionate about.

How would you describe Groupon’s culture? Rewarding. Groupon’s ‘work hard, play hard’ mentality rings true. High expectations are set for everyone in the company and the benefits are two-fold: you learn a LOT and you’re recognized for your hard work while doing your part to make the company an integral part of local commerce.

How has your career grown in the past year and a half? When I started, I got acclimated by spending a lot of time in Getaways’ day-to-day operational processes and manual data analyses. I’ve since moved on to larger strategy-focused projects that directly impact the sales team and the business’ bottom line and I’m consistently utilizing what I learned during my first six months on the job.

How does your work contribute to Getaways’ bottom line? My work directly focuses on making Groupon Getaways’ sales team more efficient. If our sales team can put more travel deals up on our site, we’re continually providing our customers with new vacations and driving incremental guests into our hotel partners’ properties.

Can you write a Groupon haiku, please?

Deals, trips and much more

Also there’s a candy pit

Groupon, love Local.

Thank you. 

Thanks for reading the People Blog—a blog about people at Groupon. Why, yes, we are hiring in Getaways! We thought you’d never ask. 

 

 


PrettyQuick: Talking Empathy with Peggy, a PrettyQuick Developer

By
at August 20th, 2015

This summer, Groupon expanded our e-commerce family with the addition of PrettyQuick: an on-demand booking service for all things beauty. Founded by Coco Meers in 2012, PrettyQuick has connected salon-ready Chicagoans with over 500 hair, nail, and body boutiques. Today, we’re chatting with Peggy Fox, a developer who applies her eclectic background to the work she does on PrettyQuick’s internal tools, marketing, and analytics.

Peggy Pretty Quick Developer

You have an interesting background! From Peace Corps to Chicago Public Schools to Dev Bootcamp, can you tell us about what inspired you to make those professional leaps? Like any other International Studies major and Environmental studies minor graduating from college, I wanted to save the rainforest! Well, not exactly, but I did want to spend some time immersing myself in a different way of life and hopefully be of service in some way while doing so. My undergraduate interdisciplinary studies also left me wanting a more technical and quantitive skill-set in the natural sciences. So for about 5 years after college I did a Peace Corps Masters International program, through which I got a Masters of Science in Forestry and spent two years in the Peace Corps in the Ecuadorian Amazon…so I got to hug trees in the rainforest after all!

By far my favorite class in grad school was GIS (Geographic Information Systems). I learned about databases (one-to-many relationships! inner joins!) for the first time and really loved this quantitative-spatial-visual approach to natural resources management.

My role as a Data Strategist at Chicago Public Schools allowed me to continue growing a quantitative skill set in a way that directly contributed to helping improve an underperforming high school. My work at CPS often involved creating spreadsheet tools tailored for school staff so they could pull a csv of data and refresh their “user interface” (pivot table). Ultimately, the data transformations and calculations I had built in would provide them with relevant information to do their jobs more effectively. I really loved the combination of problem solving, building tools, working with data, and thinking about user experience, so when I heard about DevBootcamp, I immediately knew it was my next step!

What else sparked your interest in going the Dev route? My job at CPS taught me that building tools is more exciting to me than crunching numbers. I love the ability to be creative, to think about a problem space and end user experience, and then all the exciting technical details of what needs to happen to execute a solution. I really like looking for patterns and thinking hard about a problem, both things I get to do everyday as a developer.

How has your varied professional experience helped you in your current role? Empathy is an important skill in any profession, especially when thinking about user experience. In both the Peace Corps and CPS, empathy is one skill I would definitely say I got some practice in. While in the Peace Corps, I often became frustrated by the cultural divide because it was something I encountered in almost every interaction, from social and professional, to just buying tomatoes! The more I was able to understand where my friends, coworkers, and store keepers were coming from, the more enriching the experience we’d have. I draw on empathy when thinking about how PrettyQuick customers will interact with our product and how PrettyQuick’s staff utilizes our internal tools.

What are you working on right now? Right now I’m working on improving our internal tools and analytics, and on email communication and marketing. PrettyQuick is focused on providing an awesome on-demand beauty booking service to our customers, but it requires some manual work on our end to make sure everything goes seamlessly. We’re juggling a lot at once: managing every user and salon interaction from the moment a booking is requested, cashless checkout at the salon, and anything that may come up in between. Since coming to Groupon, I’ve been putting a lot of work into our administrative portal so our team not only doesn’t drop any balls, but is able to provide a fast a delightful experience to our customers. I’ve also been building robust metrics tools so we can track how our projects are affecting progress towards our goals.

How does your work impact the goals of the business? We have a lot of metrics that we track that align with our business goals. I’ve created a daily tracker and an admin dashboard so our team knows where we stand against those goals at all times. Right now we’re focused on providing metrics that are tied to delivering a seamless customer experience and increasing usage. The improvements I make to our admin portal and email and push marketing efforts are directly affecting these goals.

What do you enjoy about working for Pretty Quick/Groupon? I really love coming to work everyday – I love my job and team. It’s awesome to work with people who are dedicated to building something great that also challenges us everyday. I really enjoy development and I’m constantly learning something new. Everyday is full of small wins!  :)

Anything else interesting about you or any favorite memories of working at PQ/Groupon so far? This is such a hard question to answer because I have so many great memories! There isn’t really just one that sticks out because everyday is a great day to come to work. From team lunches and Friday morning doughnuts, to feedback and strategy sessions and celebrating our the growth of our business, working with the PQ team is…if I had to choose just one word: fulfilling. This is also my first job as a web developer and I am so grateful to know I’ve found something I love doing and the chance to do it everyday on a team that has been immensely supportive in growing my career.

Thanks for reading the People Blog—a blog about people at Groupon. Interested in joining a startup within a startup? Check out our current PrettyQuick openings!


Groupon Intern Blog: Andrew Project Manages for Groupon & Shakespeare

By
at August 17th, 2015

The #GrouponU Blog is back for 2015! We’ll regularly feature a Groupon intern or recent college grad telling you about their experience tackling challenging problems and getting to know our teams. Today’s post is from Andrew, a student at Stanford who brings a unique educational background and a love for Carly Rae Jepsen to Project Management.

Andrew Project Management Intern

Who are you? I’m Andrew Whipple, a soon-to-be senior at Stanford studying Symbolic Systems (aka CS + Philosophy + Linguistics + Psychology) and Creative Writing.

What do you do at Groupon? I’m a Technical Project Management intern on the PMO (or, “Project Management Organization”) team. The PMO is a fun, small organization within Groupon (16 of us, including the one intern!) who are tasked with stepping in on important projects that can’t be handled by one team. We coordinate between all the various team members and stakeholders to make sure stuff happens.

Personally, I help out the PMO when needed: filling in for PjMs who are on vacation, helping plan/organize/tech support a Project Management Summit, and doing various tasks to support the busier PjMs.

I was also given the reins to my own project, which in true PMO fashion involves a lot of coordination between a lot of people, all over the world.

Pro tip: when working with an international team, turn your phone off at night. One person’s perfectly reasonable 10 am email is another’s 2 am wake-up call.

Overall, Project Management requires having a broad knowledge of how the company works since it involves working cross-functionally with a lot of different teams. Spoiler alert: it’s hard to have a broad knowledge of Groupon after two weeks. Fortunately, this is where the expertise of a PMO comes into play, because while I may not know who in Europe to talk to about QA tests for the Payments system, there are six other PjMs who have worked on projects with said person and can easily put us in contact.

Now that I think about it, that could definitely be expanded to a general piece of Groupon advice: always ask questions. Groupon is big but also very startup-y. That’s great most of the time, but it does mean that some things like accurate organization charts and up-to-date documentation can be hard to come by. So don’t count on your research skills alone to help you navigate; ask your manager, your mentor, your coworkers, your recruiter, your other interns, the appropriate HipChat room, or just shout.*

*Maybe don’t just shout. That would be kind of disruptive. But the other ones, yeah do those.

Getting back on track, what super rad technology do you use? Like any engineer or designer, there are tools of the trade for PjMs. But instead of IDEs and CLIs and ETCs for l33t haxxors, our tools are focused on organization, communication, and documentation.

I love using Google products like Google Drive, Docs, Gmail, and GCal (although for mail and calendar management I use the Spark and Sunrise apps, respectively. Personal preference.)

Other PjMs swear by Smartsheet over Google Sheets for project planning/tracking, since it’s more feature rich. I personally love the look, feel, and ease of use of Google Sheets, plus the ability to quickly comment and have discussions in the document.

Jira is used for both tracking bugs and the progress of action items. The engineering side of Groupon also uses HipChat extensively for IM-ing, which can range from daily check-ins to sending gifs. Plus, I love writing in Markdown syntax and since I used it to write this blog post, I’ll give a plug for MacDown (for Mac) and Editorial (for iOS).

What about when the work is done? Do you surf or run or stuff? Besides working at Groupon, I’m also one of the co-artistic directors of the the Stanford Shakespeare Company, so a lot of my time is spent reading, thinking about, and, to be honest, project managing Shakespeare. (Plug time: If you’re at Stanford in February, come see our production of Antony & Cleopatra, or in May see our Henry VI and Richard III.)

I also listen to over 100 podcasts. And I write a fair bit, mostly either internet stuff (like this blog post!) or plays. And I play guitar. And I tweet. But my Twitter is mostly me saying all-caps nonsense about our greatest living musical artist Carly Rae Jepsen, so I’m not going to link to it (if you know me well you know I’m 100% serious about my love for Carly Rae Jepsen. She’s the best.

Do you have a good way to end this blog post? Nope!

Me neither. How about a gif?

Hard “G” or Soft “G”? Well, both are technically correct, but I personally go for either hard g, or the Idea Channel pronunciation /ʒaif/.

Nice. Thanks.

No problem. Anyway, here’s a /ʒaif/ of aforementioned greatest living musical artist.

giphy


PrettyQuick: Chris Doyle Talks Engineering & the Untapped Beauty-Booking Industry

By
at August 11th, 2015

This summer, Groupon expanded the e-commerce family with the addition of PrettyQuick: an on-demand booking service for all things beauty. Founded by Coco Meers in 2012, PrettyQuick has connected salon-ready Chicagoans with over 500 hair, nail, and body boutiques. Today, Chris Doyle talks about the technology behind PrettyQuick and how his team is using data to tackle the $60B industry of booking beauty services.

Name: Chris Doyle Chris Engineering Pretty Quick

Title: Senior Manager, Software Engineering

What do you do? I run Engineering for PrettyQuick, working at the intersection of business and consumer technology, which is just how I like it. I bring a technical perspective to the PrettyQuick management team, but I’m also responsible for product architecture and writing code. I spend a lot of time thinking about how to create a positive and ambitious team culture. I work alongside some great developers and try to help everyone keep growing and learning.

What’s exciting about being a part of Pretty Quick? We have to work with each individual salon in a way that makes sense for them and their business, but we also have to present a simple, cohesive experience for consumers. Being in the middle is an extremely challenging but rich problem space. Ultimately, the strength of the abstractions we create to bridge the gap will determine whether we sink or swim. Thinking deeply about standardization, flexibility, modeling the world, anticipating change, etc. are some of the most rewarding parts of every development job I’ve had.  The nature of PrettyQuick’s goals brings those aspects to the front of our process.

Any unique tech challenges your team is working on? We have a lot of different constituencies (consumers, merchants, ops, admin) with clients to match (responsive sites, iOS apps, IVR/SMS). Managing the flow of real-time information between these clients is one of our most fundamental challenges. Booking an appointment can be a complex negotiation! But I also love that there’s no pure business or tech solution for online beauty booking. This isn’t a case of just building a better mousetrap; to succeed we have to build it on top of real industry dynamics and existing behavior. Getting to explore the vastly different psychologies of consumers and merchants is one of the most interesting parts of this job.

How does your work impact Pretty Quick’s bottom line? More than any other place I’ve worked, we rely on business metrics to drive our decisions and strategy. There are infinite ways to approach beauty booking, so metrics help us stay grounded and focused. Having worked on some projects of questionable value at other companies, it’s refreshing to know that every single thing I’m working on is in service of a specific metric. We still go through trial and error, but we’re always measuring our progress. Overall we’ve been moving in the right direction!

How do Pretty Quick and Groupon’s business goals align? I can’t speak to Groupon as a whole, but we’re here because Groupon believes strongly in our vision and the progress we’ve made. Many industries have been dominated by on-demand companies like Uber, but beauty services remains unclaimed because it’s a really hard space. But, it’s a $60 billion opportunity, so someone is going to figure it out.  PrettyQuick is leading the pack, but to go from “doing well” to “sixty billion dollars” we have to scale massively and quickly and that’s one thing Groupon is very good at.

What’s exciting about joining the Groupon family? At a startup, even a big startup, you work mostly with generalists.  Startups just don’t have the luxury of specialists, everyone has to pitch in wherever necessary.  For a generalist like me, learning quickly and absorbing new ideas and information is my bread and butter.  Normally I have to cobble that knowledge together where I can, from books and blogs and videos and whatnot.  To have constant access to true experts, working at a world-class scale, almost feels like cheating :)  I’m learning and growing faster and more easily than ever.

Thanks for reading the People Blog—a blog about people at Groupon. Interested in joining a startup within a startup? Check out our current PrettyQuick openings!


Groupon Intern Blog: Christina Talks GeekOn, Groupon Tech Culture

By
at August 4th, 2015

The #GrouponU Blog is back for 2015! We’ll regularly feature a Groupon intern or recent college grad telling you about their experience tackling challenging problems and getting to know our teams. Today’s post features Christine, one of our Chicago interns who has tackled Ember, Go, and paddleboarding so far.

Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 1.43.59 PMWho are you? I’m Christina Kim and I’m a rising senior majoring in Computer Science at Northwestern University.

What do you do at Groupon? I’m a Software Engineering intern on the Goods Deals Platform team in the Chicago office.

What are you working on? I just finished wrapping up a UI feature for the Goods Vendor Portal using Ember. I actually didn’t know Ember before joining Groupon and it’s been fun to learn. I am currently working on high throughput proxy in Go; it’s really exciting to be writing in Go at Groupon. It’s something I’ve been playing with outside of work, but it’s definitely a lot more exciting to use it at my internship, where speed is integral to this project. Engineers at Groupon have a lot of freedom in deciding how to build projects.

How’s Groupons culture? One of the things I’ve really enjoyed about my internship has been how friendly people are and how willing they are to help you. I meet with my manager and mentor regularly, and if I’m ever stuck on something I can easily just chat our entire team to ask a question. Even as an intern, I feel like people at Groupon are invested in making sure you’re maximizing your experience and growth.

What is GeekOn? GeekOn is Groupon’s internal week-long hackathon. All engineers across all the offices are encouraged to create something innovative, build that tool you’ve always wanted, or simply learn something new. This past GeekOn in July, some of the other interns and I spent our week building a travel itinerary planning tool. We used a node.js server, handlebars for our front-end templating, and the minimalize css framework. It was a really rewarding experience to be spending an entire week focusing on something entirely different from what our teams normally do and presenting it to the rest of the office!

Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 1.44.06 PMWhat’s been the best part of your summer? It’s been really fun exploring Chicago with the other interns. We even used a Groupon to go standup paddleboarding one weekend on Lake Michigan. I’m a major foodie and we’ve really taken advantage of all the great restaurants in Chicago.

 

 


Tech Spotlight: Dan Kirsche Builds Algo Tools for Sales and Replica Sears Towers

By
at August 3rd, 2015

Dan Kirsche, a Senior Engineering Manager in Chicago, chats with us about how his team uses algorithms to help Groupon Sales reps close high-quality merchants. Oh, and his team built a Sears Tower out of LaCroix cans. (Why not?)

Name: Dan IMG_0478 (1)

Title: Senior Engineering Manager

Start date: June 24th, 2013

What brought you to Groupon? Prior to joining Groupon, I started two e-commerce companies where I was responsible for building the initial systems and growing the tech teams. At both companies, the teams and the problems were small in scope and size. I really wanted to work on larger, more complex problems with talented engineers from whom I could learn. Groupon is obviously the best tech company in Chicago, and also happens to have some interesting challenges. I found everything I was looking for at Groupon: a large engineering organization, an abundance of tech challenges to solve, super smart developers, and an entrepreneurial culture.

Your team works on an interesting internal tool: Quantum Lead. Can you explain what it does?  To understand the beauty of Quantum Lead, it is important to understand the problem it was designed to solve. There was a time when Groupon sold only 1 deal per day. Sales reps built their rolodex and pursued their own leads. This worked well in the beginning, but as Groupon added thousands of deals and became a marketplace it quickly became unmanageable to manually create lists of businesses for reps to call. Groupon’s merchant database swelled to the millions and it became impossible to ensure reps were closing deals from quality merchants. Quantum Lead solves this problem by identifying the highest-quality merchants and matches them with best sales reps to close those deals. Each day, sales reps get into the office and magically see new merchants added to their call list. The process is fully automated and performs exceptionally well. The average deal assigned by Quantum Lead performs roughly 10x better than those assigned manually.

Can you explain more of the science behind Quantum Lead’s tools? The biggest challenge Quantum Lead had to solve was to figure out how to create a self-learning algorithm that identifies the characteristics which will make a deal successful. We mine the vast data stores of Groupon to calculate customer demand, past performance of categories and divisions, social media indicators, and a handful of other features. With this data we use a machine-learning algorithm called Gradient Boosting Machines to predict the 30-day gross bookings of all 4+ million merchants. We also calculate sales rep close rates, call volume, their specialization (Food & Drink, Health Beauty & Wellness, etc.), and many other factors. Now that we have a profile of both merchants and sales reps, we use a fairly complex matching algorithm to generate call lists for the reps.

What are some challenges that are unique to Groupon that your team works on? Our team is very unique within Groupon in that our systems are very computationally heavy with extremely high throughput, but latency is not much of an issue. Also, unlike most teams within Groupon that focus on the end customer, our users are either sales reps or merchants. If you think about the life cycle of a deal, it starts with identifying high-quality merchants, then flows through to Sales to construct a deal, then Editorial puts together the written and verbal content for the site, and finally it is live on the site for our customers to purchase. Quantum Lead is essentially the gate keeper at the very start of the funnel; we choose what deals should and should not be closed. It is a very awesome place to be in!

These decisions are extremely important and ultimately determine the mix of deals on the website. To ensure we arrive at the most optimal decisions, it is essential to have an accurate model. We are currently building out a modeling framework that will allow us to rapidly create and test new models. It’s a very exciting time for our team.

What sort of qualities does someone need to really excel in Tech at Groupon? The top three most important qualities are being collaborative, a self starter, and driven. We work in teams and most projects require teams to work together, so it’s essential to be collaborative to get things done.  We also work in an agile environment where we expect everyone to contribute and pick up tasks without explicit instruction. Groupon is especially focused on rewarding those who are strong contributors. If you have these three qualities you can be very successful in Tech at Groupon.

Favorite Groupon moment? Someone on my team had previously built a rainbow out of La Croix cans on their desk, but eventually he switched teams and the rainbow went with him.   :(

After the rainbow left, we wanted to build something bigger and better. One thing led to another and the Sears Tower was built. Don’t be surprised if you see the John Hancock next!

FullSizeRender

Interested in learning more about what it’s like to work on Dan’s team? Read Lingyong’s blog post for more insight and check out our open position if his story resonated with you!

 


Groupon Intern Blog: Yutong from Push Marketing

By
at July 28th, 2015

The #GrouponU Blog is back for 2015! We’ll regularly feature a Groupon intern or recent college grad telling you about their experience tackling challenging problems and getting to know our teams. Today’s post features Yutong on our Push Marketing team in Seattle.

Name: Yutong Luo Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 2.16.17 PM

School: University of Waterloo

From: Toronto, Canada

What do you work on at Groupon? I’m in the Push Marketing team at the Seattle office.

What’s it like working for Groupon? Having interned at Groupon for 2 months so far, I can confidently say it’s pretty awesome! The people, the culture, the projects, and the selection of snacks in the kitchen have all been amazing.

 

How are the people at Groupon? The people at Groupon are very welcoming and supportive. Almost everyone I met offered to answer any questions I have. Leaving me the tough choice of who out of the 20 people should I ask for this one.

My questions were almost always answered immediately. Whether I’m asking my team, or someone from another team about their service, it has been a very supportive environment.

Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 2.45.53 PM

The people are passionate about technology. Every other week a Geekfest meetup is hosted, where a guest is invited to talk about technology. Interns have lunch & learns with various full-times, with free delicious sandwiches provided, and of course interesting advice and experience to be learned. My team in particular has great chemistry!

Tell us more about the culture! The engineering culture can be summed up as a startup with the resources of a big company. The teams follow agile methodologies, with daily standups and sprints. Every aspect of the day to day job feels like a startup. The teams are small and flexible, and the sprints are short and self contained. In terms of resources, every engineer gets full access to Safari Books Online. Internally there are various building blocks available. Metrics, deployment, host configuration are all provided, each with its own detailed documentation.


Groupon Intern Blog: Shubhit Would Like Your Non-Traditional Languages, Please

By
at July 21st, 2015

The #GrouponU Blog is back for 2015! We’ll regularly feature a Groupon intern or recent college grad telling you about their experience tackling challenging problems and getting to know our teams. Today’s post features Shubhit, another mountain-conquering summer intern who thrives in the Groupon environment of open source, scalability, and non-traditional code.

Name: Shubhit Singh Screen Shot 2015-07-20 at 10.32.46 AM

School: Carnegie Mellon University

Office: San Francisco

Team: Universal Disbursement (Global Payments)

Current Project: I’m working on Groupon’s disbursement service. Groupon collects money from customers when deals are purchased, and we have to disburse that money back to the merchants. My team is working on a completely new system that utilizes this really cool open source payments platform called Kill Bill (no relation to the movie). Basically, we are extending this platform by writing a plugin that will be able to perform multiple functions, like onboard new merchants, store all the transactions that merchants have made with customers, calculate the amount of money to disburse to merchants, and provide a RESTful API so merchants can view their transaction and disbursement history. I’ve learned many different technologies like Jackson, Google’s Guice, OSGI, Jersey and Apache Maven. I’ve become much more comfortable with Java and I’ve learned a lot about designing a full-fledged project from scratch. It’s been exciting!

Previous Internship: Groupon Seattle, Display & Advertising team. I was working on a graph-search algorithm to match users to relevant deals and vice versa. It was cool being able to actually use algorithms I learned in school (BFS, Dijkstra’s, etc.) and try to optimize them.

Why did you decide to come back to Groupon? I really enjoyed my experience in Seattle. Groupon is at a unique position in the sense that it’s a large company but doesn’t really feel like one. The culture within each team is much like that of a startup. Teams are relatively small, and I’ve found that teams use very current open source technologies to hack together solutions to their problems. For example, my team in Seattle team had its entire codebase in CoffeeScript (not a traditional programming language at all) and Node.js. For my project, my manager let me experiment with different databases so that we could get a feel for how our existing ones compared to others in the open source world in terms of performance and scalability. In fact, I can say similar things about my current internship! The fact that Groupon tries to keep up with the latest and best technologies out there says a lot about its culture. It’s so easy for companies to recede into their own tried and tested ways of doing things as they get larger. Not to mention, as an engineer, its way more exciting to work with new technologies.

I also love the people here! Everyone is so open and available. One of my goals as an intern is to soak up as much knowledge and experience as I can from the people around me in the short period of time that I’m out here. I love having quick chats with my manager, mentor, and other engineers around the office. We’d go for strolls around the building (San Francisco is amazing, there’s so much to see/do/eat), or just chat in the kitchen or a conference room. Everyone I’ve spoken to has been incredibly keen to share and teach. It seems like they are almost as invested in my growth as I am. It’s a great feeling!

What’s been the best part about your summer? Going on adventures with other interns! A few of us interns from the San Francisco and Palo Alto offices organized a day hike to Yosemite. It was a really nice experience. We left Palo Alto at 4:30am, drove to Yosemite, hiked for about 7 hours, and then drove back at night. It was a pretty grueling hike because we had to cover a lot of vertical distance, but once we got to the top of the hike the view was breathtaking:

Screen Shot 2015-07-20 at 10.30.59 AM

We also went on a trip to Santa Cruz and learned how to surf! It was really difficult but we had surf instructors out in the water with us helping us out. I managed to get up on the board twice and ride a wave all the way to the shore, which was a great feeling.


Screen Shot 2015-07-20 at 10.32.39 AM


Groupon Intern Blog: Tran Conquers Frameworks and Mountains

By
at July 15th, 2015

The #GrouponU Blog is back for 2015! We’ll regularly feature a Groupon intern or recent college grad telling you about their experience tackling challenging problems and getting to know our teams. Today’s post features Tran, another second-time Engineering intern in Palo Alto who is tackling new frameworks and networking with fellow interns.

Who am I? Tran Groupon Intern

“Build what matters” and “never settle for something less” are the two mottos that I have lived by since I came to America almost 6 years ago. I recently graduated from MIT with a BS degree in Computer Science. I decided to come back to Groupon as a returning intern to pursue my new interest in data systems. I have experience with a variety of companies from big corporations such as HP, Amazon, to early startups such as Lytmus.io. So far, Groupon provides me with a great combination of both. My name is Tran.

What I did at Groupon last summer?

My previous summer internship with Groupon was a blast. I interned with the global subscription team in Seattle working on browser identification, performance testing, and software development. I learned so much and had so much freedom in building the products. My coworkers were awesome and helped me to better understand the system. My manager at the time was my favorite person I have ever worked with. Not only because he is friendly, but also because he is passionate about what he is doing. I remember chatting with him about my work until almost midnight about some metrics on my browser identification project. In addition, I also requested that my manager let me observe his technical interview where I learned how he evaluated candidates and what signals he is looking at. Another fun part of interning with Groupon is my mentor. We can interact as frequently as I’d like.

What am I doing now at Groupon?

This summer, I’m working with the Platform Data Engineering team on their big data stack. This is the first time I have had a chance to work with frameworks such as Storm, Kafka, Message Bus, Hadoop, and Hive. Working with this technology will definitely help me gain a solid technical foundation before I start my Masters degree on Big Data and Mobile Application at MIT. I am making a great effort to connect with other interns more so than last summer. I organized a Yosemite trip for all of the Bay Area interns; seven of us conquered the Upper Yosemite Fall to completion! Other interns have organized events such as a San Francisco food tour, surfing in Santa Cruz, an intern BBQ, and many more to come. Also, my mentor and I actually play Heroes of Storm together after work!

How do I get the most out of my internship?

From my personal experience, asking questions is the most important thing to do. If you’re stuck on something for more than 30 minutes, it’s a good sign that you should ask for help. Being friendly and saying hi to everyone also helps me connect with people better, especially other interns. Network with other interns in the area using Facebook and meetup.com. Get out there, be social, and make everything and everyone better than you found them!

Groupon Intern Tran

Conquering Yosemite Falls