Groupon Intern Blog: Problem Solving From Day 1

at September 27th, 2013

Our Groupon intern blog, Grouponiversity, is back for 2013. Each week (maybe more), we’ll feature an intern or two telling you about their experience first-hand tackling challenging problems and getting to know our teams. Today’s entry is from Sam in our Palo Alto office. Sam talks about solving problems from his first day, why he wanted to work for as a Groupon intern, and Groupon’s little-known tech library.

Groupon Intern-Sam

Name: Sam

Why did you join Groupon?
I’ve been interested in Groupon for the past 2.5 years. I’m really interested in Agile software development and eXtreme Programming (XP) practices and I knew there were a lot of super-smart and experienced people in this company who did just that. So when I moved to the U.S for my graduate studies in Computer Science, I wanted to be a Groupon intern from the very beginning.

I knew if I’d be able to join Groupon, I would learn a ton about how to effectively and professionally develop distributed software that is used by millions of users every day.

This was such a big deal for me because most of my experience in software development and programming was with small companies developing software for a certain customer (e.g. banks, insurance companies, etc.).

What were your first impressions as a Groupon intern?
Right from the start I noticed that there’s a great culture at Groupon. People are willing to help each other and solve issues to achieve their goals. This can be something as simple as setting you up to start contributing to the source code right away, to something like dealing with an unfamiliar problem or technology.

What are you doing?
I’m working on the Automated Merchandising team. Groupon serves millions of customers every day and collects thousands of data points per session. This team tries to apply the ideas of Machine Learning and Game Theory to create a great experience for customers by providing interesting, surprising, and relevant deals based on what they’re interested in. It’s really interesting. I figured there would be a lot of learning, reading, and implementation of interesting ideas and there is.

What has surprised you?
When I joined the team I was expecting it to take a few weeks until I’d be able to start programming and participating in design discussions. But I was completely wrong! On the first day, one of the team members paired with me on a complex problem. I was really excited and it was a great experience. What a start! That pairing brought me in the loop. I immediately realized some of the main points of the system we were developing and I became more familiar with the code base.

By day 2, I started contributing to the code and problem solving on my own.

One thing that was really interesting for me was the fact that other members weren’t looking at me as an intern. They were seeing me as an actual member of the team. During pairing sessions, I am constantly asked my opinion or how I would propose a new solution to the problem we were trying to solve. They were really respectful and if I didn’t know about a concept, they explained it to me perfectly until they were sure I understood what’s going on.

What else?
One of the things that passionate programmers and software engineers care about is personal growth and self-improvement. Everybody in Groupon engineering is motivated to learn more and become better at what they do.

  • There are book clubs in the company that you can join if you’re interested (which I did)
  • There’s a library with a lot of interesting books that you can borrow and read
  • There are a lot of training rooms that you can find to start working on some interesting project to sharpen your skills and learn something new (e.g languages, frameworks, algorithms, etc.)

There are also hack-a-thons every so often. The idea is that for a week or so, you just work on something that interests you and that you want to spend more time on. This can be something related to your team and current project or something totally unrelated.

Thanks for reading the Groupon Intern Blog–A blog about interns at Groupon. Our teams are hiring! You can see all of our current open jobs here, and please let us know what you think in the comments below.

4 thoughts on “Groupon Intern Blog: Problem Solving From Day 1

  1. I purchased a Groupon that is about to expire, as I have not had time to do the photobook. It expires 10/10, so 10/7 I tried to use the groupon as noted on the groupon certificate. "Visit" but this didn't work. Says it's not a valid URL or something so I'm not sure where to go or what to do from here. I'm going to try to use Snapfish website and create a book and see if it will accept the Groupon code. I have to do two of these, as I purchased two groupons. Please help if you know the secret. LOL Thanks!

    by Stacey on October 9, 2013 at 1:03 am
  2. Hey Stacey, I've emailed you directly with how to get in touch with Customer Service to help with your issue. Thanks for reading and let us know what else we can do to help! Dustin

    by Dustin on October 9, 2013 at 2:56 pm
  3. Looking for an internship program in a company where I could learn under working professional to gain knowledge and improvement of my skills by giving some input to the company. I have good programming skills and have worked in c/c++, php, java, asp.NET and made about 10 online websites also

    by aman kumar on October 9, 2013 at 5:26 pm
  4. Thanks for reading and reaching out, Aman. You can check out all of our internships at If you see something that fits, feel free to apply! Dustin

    by Dustin on October 9, 2013 at 10:15 pm

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