Groupon @ European Women in Tech

Groupon @ European Women in Tech

WOMEN & TECHNOLOGY

Big Data, AI, Machine Learning & Stroopwafels…

8-9 November 2017

We look back over 2 busy days in Amsterdam!

The European Women in Tech conference took place in Amsterdam from November 8-9 and Groupon was there (with a not-so-subtle giant inflatable G) to meet fellow tech folks, learn more about the latest technologies and share some of our own insights on Big Data with the 1000+ delegates.

Team Groupon trying (failing) to behave 🙂

EWiT Amsterdam 2017

Groupon engineers from Berlin, Dublin and Palo Alto spent two days at the event, the largest of its kind outside North America, watching presentations and seminars on a wide range of topics from AI, Big Data, Machine Learning, Money Movement Modelling, IoT and Cloud.

Alla in Action

Big Data: Myths vs Realities

One of the most popular talks – and there really was standing room only – was delivered by our very own Alla Ivanova, Groupon’s Senior Director of Platform Data Engineering who presented on Big Data and how Groupon successfully manages the challenges of distributed data storage.

We’re already looking forward to the next one, particularly now that we have been introduced to Stroopwafels…

Honestly, you can’t miss us…

Subtle? Possibly not.

Catarina – Software Development Engineer

Catarina – Software Development Engineer

So, what brought you to Ireland and Groupon?

In 2014 I received my master’s degree in Software Engineering from the University of Minho in Braga, Portugal.  Unfortunately, though, Braga did not offer any real opportunities for newly qualified engineers like me, so my boyfriend and I looked into the idea of moving to another country where we could find a great working environment with lots of well-established tech companies as well as a vibrant startup culture.  After considering several cities, we chose Dublin because of its vibrant tech scene, the language and of course that friendly welcome:)

Groupon had always been on my radar from a career point of view. I was already a fan of the product and the technology stack they use, so it was a no-brainer for me to investigate career opportunities with them as soon as I moved to Dublin.

Tell us about your team and some of the projects you’ve worked on…

I started out as an intern on the Marketing Services team where, with the help of my colleagues I spent my first couple of months getting to know the company and figuring out the details of the applications they ran. Our team owns several services, one of them being the Marketing Deal Service which is used for internal and external marketing projects to create display advertisements across various websites and social channels like Google and Facebook.

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The first project I worked on was the Deal Insights Dashboard which is an application to present our data in an insightful way. It was a challenging project for me because I had to work on front- and back-end aspects, learn a new programming language called CoffeeScript and learn our internal framework, I-Tier, which we use to create Groupon’s websites and internal applications. So far, the dashboard has proved to be a success among Groupon employees, with over 1000 internal clients from Sales and Marketing teams using it every day to better understand the performance of their deals.

Over the past year I have also been involved in developing several features for our Marketing Deal Service to help improve advertisement efficiency. We created the Deal Performance Service to analyse all purchases and views internationally along with certain characteristics like gender, platform and other elements to make recommendations to our marketing channels around which deals should they show to which users. Previously, this type of automated targeting was not possible for us, so it was great to get this into production at the end of last year.  This was definitely the most technically challenging work I’ve done so far: I learned Clojure and worked with technologies I had never used before like Storm, Kafka and Cassandra in order to process all the views and purchases in real time from all the Groupon websites.

Helping Drive New Customers to Groupon

A key focus for Groupon in 2016 was to bring more customers to the platform and as part of that we started work on expanding the Deal Performance Service to recommend the best deals to the marketing channels in order to target new client acquisition. We started analysing purchase and repeat purchase patterns among newcomers which in turn, helped us identify the types of deals that were performing well and consequently which ones had the potential to bring even more customers to Groupon in the long term.  This allowed us create a list of ‘Top Deals’ which is now being used by many of our marketing teams as their main tool to attract new customers.

Aside from the fact that I’ve been fortunate to meet and work with many talented people from around the world, I’m very proud that in a relatively short space of time I have been able to make an impact in important areas of Groupon and contribute directly to the success of so many teams.

Grace Hopper Conference

Team Groupon representing at GHC2016

Getting Inspired at Grace Hopper

A couple of weeks ago, I was selected to participate at this year’s Grace Hopper Conference (GHC) in Houston, Texas. This is by far the biggest event in the world designed to promote women in technology and engineering and it was a real honour to be part of the team representing Groupon there.  These kind of conferences are vital to promote diversity in technology and I hope that they continue to encourage other women to follow a career in a field that is growing so quickly, impacting millions of people and changing the way we live.

As well as attending the conference, I also helped out with recruiting recent graduates at the Groupon booth! This was a really positive experience, talking with enthusiastic candidates who are starting out on their careers. Almost all of the people I spoke to had heard about Groupon and many were already customers. Thankfully we found loads of superb talent and were able to offer some great internship positions too!

GHC was, for me, a unique experience: meeting and talking with so many different women in my field and listening to the amazing stories shared by those who work and excel in tech while also having a family was truly inspiring.


If you’re interested in a career in Tech with Groupon then check out our open roles at jobs.groupon.com or follow us on LinkedIn

A Year in Review | 2016 Employee Volunteer Program Recap

A Year in Review | 2016 Employee Volunteer Program Recap

Our Social Responsibility mission is simple: to help people and communities thrive and prosper. We do this through a secret formula of employee do-goodery, responsible business practices, customer collaboration and nonprofit investment.

2016 has been an exciting year for Groupon’s Employee Volunteer Program – a year of increased engagement and more significant impact in the communities where employees live and work. In short order, we’ve seen the culture of employee volunteerism shift from simply being a “nice to do” to being core to our values and a part of who we are as a global leader in local e-commerce.

This past year, we:

  • Engaged more employees in more offices than ever before during the third annual Volunteer-a-thon in June.
  • Piloted the first Grouponsultation (pro bono) cohort where teams of employees worked collaboratively on capacity-building projects with nonprofits to help solve critical community issues.
  • Launched the first Global Leadership Team, where 24 rockstar employees stepped up to support the great volunteer work in offices across the company.
  • Hosted the annual VolunteerMatch Summit bringing industry leaders to our HQ office in Chicago where Groupon’s VP of Sales & Merchant Operations and the EVP’s Executive Sponsor, Jay Klauminzer, delivered the keynote address.

Our volunteers are ready and eager to continue this great work and “do good” with exceptional purpose in the year ahead. Keep an eye out for more to come from Groupon’s Employee Volunteer Program in 2017.

Looking for something you can do in your local community? Check out VolunteerMatch for opportunities to get involved in your area.

2016 EVP Recap

2016 EVP Recap

Preetam…senior at CMU & first-time west coaster

Preetam…senior at CMU & first-time west coaster

The #GrouponU Blog is back for 2016! We’ll regularly feature a Groupon intern or recent college grad telling you about their experience tackling challenging problems and working with our teams.

Who are you?

Hey! My name is Preetam Amancharla. I’m an Associate Product Management Intern with the Redemption team. I’m originally from Bangalore, India and currently a rising senior at Carnegie Mellon University majoring in Electrical & Computer Engineering with a minor in Computational Neuroscience. Also, for the past 2 summers, I was part of a research group at CMU working on voice recognition for a tutoring app. Given my background, you might be wondering why I’m interning as a PM…

Why Product Management?

I like making decisions about various aspects of a product. When reflecting on my previous experience, I enjoyed leading and coordinating different elements of a team. Lastly, I wanted to see something that I envisioned come to life; being a PM allows you to do exactly that!

Tell us a little more about your team.

The primary goal of the redemption team is to encourage customers to use their Groupons. The mantra of the team is basically “Buy, Redeem, Repeat”. When a customer has a good redemption experience, they are more likely to buy a Groupon again. We also help customers with poor redemption experiences, such as expiration (when a customer misses out on redeeming their Groupon). My team works on several different products to solve that issue.

Redemption is the core value proposition when it comes to a customer’s relationship with Groupon. It is a critical aspect for the company. I truly believe in the importance of a good customer experience while redeeming a Groupon. This probably comes as a result of being surrounded by people who care about what they’re doing and want to make an impact.

(Preetam and Amrut presenting for an Intern Lunch & Learn session)

What specifically do you work on?

I can summarize my summer into two products:

First, I’ve been working on a pilot project which helps users with expiring vouchers get more time to redeem. When I joined Groupon, this product was already going through the initial testing phase. My main priority has been to optimize the product which means ensuring that more people successfully engage with it. In order to do this, I specifically focus on notifications and product placement to tell users about the program while making sure they have a seamless experience.

Second, I’ve been working on incorporating the Redemption signal into our Relevance engine based on the time of day and day of week. Without going into too much detail, this project thinks about optimizing redemption from the point of deal discovery. If you can use it now, why not buy it now? I’m really excited to be working on this because it involves building something from the ground up and the integration of my own ideas into a core part of the company!

What have you done outside of work this summer?

This summer is my first time on the west coast so I’ve been very eager to explore. After experiencing a wide range of activities, I am a now massive fan of the Bay Area. My favorite memories include visiting Dolores Park and Panther Beach (which is by far the most beautiful beach I’ve ever seen!). Also, one of the best intern events was playing Bubble Soccer! Let’s just say that I overexerted myself, but ultimately it was a really fun time with fun people…which coincidentally is a also how I would describe my internship with Groupon – a really fun time with fun people!

Abby & Jinting: Michigan seniors on the Application Security Team

Abby & Jinting: Michigan seniors on the Application Security Team

The #GrouponU Blog is back for 2016! We’ll regularly feature a Groupon intern or recent college grad telling you about their experience tackling challenging problems and working with our teams.

Who are you?

Abby: Hi! My name is Abby Grobbel and I am interning with Groupon this summer! I will be a senior at the University of Michigan. I am studying computer science engineering with a minor in German language.

Jinting: Hey! My name is Jinting Hayter.  I am also a senior Computer Science student at the University of Michigan. This summer, Abby and I are on the Application Security (AppSec) team in Chicago.

Tell us about your team!

Abby: The AppSec team focuses on reviewing code and conducting tests on Groupon’s site to ensure secure implementation, as well as handling security threats and researching better ways to implement security. AppSec communicates with the rest of the engineering teams throughout development.

Jinting: I couldn’t have said it better myself. You might not typically hear that much about the security teams within Groupon, but we’re here and we’re important! There’s also this thing called ‘Red Team,’ which is where the security team does penetration testing and tries to exploit security flaws in Groupon’s website. Abby and I have been familiarizing ourselves with some hacking techniques over the past couple weeks in preparation for that.

What are you working on this summer?

Abby: I’ve been involved in building a web application to manage the security status of all of Groupon’s internal applications. Rather than manually sorting through over 500 applications, it gathers data from Groupon’s central repository and presents the team the most crucial applications that need security audits. Each application can be ‘grabbed’ by a member of the application security team and when the security check is done, marked as secure. Not only does this streamline the workflow for performing security audits within Groupon, it also allows the team to better visualize the scope of all vulnerable applications within Groupon and the team’s progress over time. It integrates a few different tools the team currently relies on, primarily a tool called Codeburner, which runs each application through a pipeline of tools to reveal security risks. Beyond just this project, discussing ways to remediate vulnerabilities and being included in the team’s discussions of new ways to improve security has been a great learning experience.

Jinting: I’ve also been working on the project Abby described in detail above. My role has been primarily integrating Codeburner into the dashboard, receiving burn data for a given service and sending it to get scanned for vulnerabilities by the Codeburner application. Another really cool project I’m starting to get  involved with is the Groupon Online Defense dashboard. Very simply, Groupon Online Defense manages web traffic to identify abusive actors by IP address. The dashboard is actually only one of three parts that make up the system – the other two parts being Behavioral Modeling and Repsheet. AppSec is mainly responsible for maintaining the dashboard, the UI component of the system, which allows users to view the status of the system in addition to manually submitting actions. It’s a very sophisticated and complex piece of software and I’m super excited that I have been given the opportunity to work on it!

What is it like working at Groupon?

Abby: So far everyone at Groupon has been extremely welcoming and willing to offer help and guidance when I need it. The quirky atmosphere makes coming to work everyday exciting and all the different events for engineers throughout the week definitely encourage a learning environment. It’s amazing being able to work for a company which consistently invests in the development of its employees.

Jinting: Ditto to what Abby said. Working at Groupon has been really awesome so far! Everyone has such a great attitude all the time and treats the interns like they would treat anyone else who works at Groupon, nothing less. I really enjoy working with my team as well. We all have great chemistry and help each other out when we see each other struggling, all while making sure we’re still having fun and not taking things too seriously!

Any highlights this summer?

Abby: For me, my summer highlights have been our architectural boat cruise of downtown chicago, attending the Pride Parade with Groupon’s float, and enjoying the many amazing places to eat in the city with the Groupon Chicago tech interns.

Jinting: So many! Getting to know the other interns and goofing around in the city has been really fun. Just a couple days ago, a bunch of us went to Taste of Chicago, and a couple weeks ago, we marched in the Pride Parade. P.S. 10/10, highly recommend. It was truly an amazing experience.

I recently started a program with the mission of getting the engineers in the Chicago office to get to know one another a bit more, in a casual setting. Essentially, teams are paired each week and are encouraged to grab lunch together, have interesting conversation, and maybe even learn a thing or two about how the other team operates. I was given the opportunity to pitch my idea to all the engineers at one of the weekly ‘Hello, Chicago!’ tech all hands meetings, and I got an overwhelmingly positive response. Over 24 teams have signed up so far! It began as a little idea, but with the help of my manager, I was able to reach out to the right people and the rest is history. My advice for future interns is just to be loud with your ideas and visions. You never know, it could really take off!

Annie & Lisa: EECS students & bubble soccer pros

Annie & Lisa: EECS students & bubble soccer pros

The #GrouponU Blog is back for 2016! We’ll regularly feature a Groupon intern or recent college grad telling you about their experience tackling challenging problems and working with our teams.

Nice to meet you! Who are you?

Hi I’m Annie, and I’m an SDET intern on the Mobile tools, infrastructure and automation team focusing on the Android platform! I’m a rising junior EECS Undergrad from UC Berkeley, living in SF right now but originally hailing from SoCal (OC/LA 626 area). In terms of coding, I got into programming during high school because I went to this really nerdy tech school with a lot of CS classes. I started off making super simple games and useless apps, of course, but gradually throughout college I’ve learned more about the true beauty and power of computer engineering!

Hello! My name is Lisa and I am also an SDET intern on the Mobile tools, infrastructure and automation team but I’m focusing on the iOS platform. I am also a rising junior studying EECS at UC Berkeley! I was born in Seoul, Korea but I’ve lived in Cupertino for most of my childhood. I knew I was interested in engineering when I joined my high school Robotics Club, but I first got into Computer Science through my AP CS class in my senior year and have stuck with it ever since!

Which Groupon team have you joined?

Annie: As an important part of QA, my team specifically works with many internal tools designed to streamline feature rollout plans and ensure that every release is polished and bug-free! It’s a great way to see how different teams need to collaborate and work together during a full end-to-end development cycle.

Lisa: As part of the automations team, we work on making sure all the automation systems and integration tools are working together smoothly as one process. It is our job to manage the internal tools used to run the QA process. In addition, we also write the automation tests regarding the iOS mobile app, making sure the new features work and don’t break the existing app.

What projects are you working on this summer?

Annie: Recently I’ve been working on new jobs for Jenkins, Groupon’s continuous integration tool in which automation and test-driven development play a huge role. For example, one CI job builds a nightly matrix run of test suites on the master branch that test over 1000+ scenarios on all the Android emulator versions. A new improvement I’ve worked on is to integrate these test suites into a new job that would allow developers to run the matrix tests on their own feature branch and catch bugs early before integrating into the master branch, serving as a sort of preliminary filter for dangerous errors. Of course, manually looking through thousands of test results and analyzing which feature branches differed on which tests is an immense pain, so I’ve also created a new test comparison job. This tool retrieves test run data from the stability database and compares it to test results on different branches and different emulator versions, making it a lot simpler to see where a certain change broke or fixed things. The whole idea is to continuously streamline the process of implementing and perfecting new app developments!

Lisa: I’ve been working on a few projects during the first month of my internship. My first task was to work with the Smoke Test Suite and Jenkins, the continuous integration tool that Annie mentioned above, to automatically trigger a job to run a few preliminary tests and report the results directly to Github. This would allow developers to catch bugs that might have broken certain basic functionality or automation before it is added to the main project. I was able to learn a lot about Jenkins and other tools we use at Groupon mobile and work on projects that would directly impact the team. It has been really exciting to see my work being used by the other engineers!

I’ve also gotten experience with learning how to write automation tests for the iOS app. I had to write tests that would be run by Jenkins and checked that certain aspects of the app are running smoothly and accurately. Automation was something totally new to me and I’m so glad that I get to play around with it because I am learning a lot about testing in the industry and a lot of new technical skills as well.

Tell us a bit about Groupon’s culture

Annie: Groupon has an awesome work culture where everyone is super friendly and willing to help! I love that there’s free lunch served every day in Palo Alto which makes it really easy to bond with coworkers and learn about people beyond their work lives. There’s also so many fun events during the summer that really puts forward the whole “work hard, play hard” mentality!

Lisa: The culture at Groupon has been extremely welcoming and helpful. From the first day, everyone around me made an effort to offer their help. I was invited to the all the meetings and was easily integrated into the normal work day. Their friendliness made it easy for me to ask questions and learn quickly. Groupon also plans a lot of events for their employees which makes work more fun and rewarding.

What’s been the best part of your summer?

Annie: There’s been so many fun and unique summer events for interns and full-timers alike! From bubble soccer, to riding a mechanical bull, to zip lining, it’s really hard to pick just one part that’s my favorite. Soon we’re going to a cooking class with our mentors, so since that involves food, I’m super excited!!

Lisa: The best part of the summer so far has been all the intern activities! There are some activities planned by Groupon, such as playing bubble soccer, but also activities that we planned ourselves, like going to Redwood City to watch Finding Dory together. Each of those activities have allowed us to grow closer together as an intern class and provide us with a group of friends where we can be comfortable with each other and learn from each other’s experiences. I can’t wait to find out what other activities are planned for us in the future! 🙂

Sam: Fan of FreeBSD, zip-lining, & mechanical bulls…?

Sam: Fan of FreeBSD, zip-lining, & mechanical bulls…?

The #GrouponU Blog is back for 2016! We’ll regularly feature a Groupon intern or recent college grad telling you about their experience tackling challenging problems and working with our teams.

Who are you?

My name is Sam Gwydir and I’m a senior at Texas A&M University studying Computer Engineering/Computer Science and a minor in Mathematics.

How did you get the internship at Groupon?

I happened to run into Brian McCallister (Groupon CTO of Platform) at the Grace Hopper conference in Houston. I was running the Texas A&M University Computer Science department’s booth and used my break to check out the job fair. I found the FreeBSD foundation booth when Brian came over to check it out too. I was looking to intern at a company that made use of FreeBSD and he gave me his business card. I had a few phone and Skype interviews and the rest is history!

Tell us about your team.

The production systems engineering team handles load balancing and provisioning users and systems. I also work with global data services who run all the databases here at Groupon and our databases as a service system. Global Data Services is the major user of FreeBSD at Groupon.

What do you do at Groupon?

I’m a systems engineer but most of my work has been on investigating global data services’ use of FreeBSD for their databases and how we can streamline provisioning new database systems and upgrading them. In particular I’m benchmarking our current combination of database, kernel, filesystem settings and those we plan to migrate to.

In addition I’m working with an external consultant on our upgrade roadmap which really reinforces that Groupon trusts me to do actual work and not just some side project.

What has been your favorite activity outside of work?

Last week we had a company picnic with a zip-line, mechanical bull, and a rock wall at Menlo College. It was really fun competing with my manager and other co-workers on the mechanical bull – I came in last 🙁

In addition I’m living in San Francisco and I’ve made a point of visiting every park I can see from the place I’m staying. So over the past few weeks I’ve been to Twin Peaks, Golden Gate Park, Presidio, Corona Heights and Buena Vista!

A Very Special Volunteer Spotlight: Christopher Heath-Morgan

A Very Special Volunteer Spotlight: Christopher Heath-Morgan

Groupon employees have some of the biggest hearts around, and Outside Senior Account Executive, Christopher Heath-Morgan, is no exception. In the wake of the tragic events in Orlando, Chris has sprung into action, doing what he can to support the community that he loves.

Name: Christopher Heath-Morgan
Department & Title: Sales, Outside Senior Account Executive
Office Location: Orlando

How long have you worked at Groupon?

4 and ½ years

What organization and/or cause fuels your passion?

While I have several causes I care about, the tragic events in Orlando this past Sunday have given me a singular focus — get as much help to the families of the victims as possible and help raise awareness for the LGBT community. This horrible crime has affected many close to me, and I have always had a strong stance on equality since I was raised by an openly gay Grandma.

What is your favorite volunteer memory while at Groupon?

My wife and I took time on Sunday to bring juice and snacks to a couple of the local blood banks to help them accommodate the huge turn out for blood donors (Yay Orlando!!). In the coming days, I will be working with several local restaurant groups to brainstorm and put together events and community gatherings to spread awareness and raise much needed funds. I know we can do some amazing things, so I am looking forward to following this up with some great successes!

What could you do with one hour?

This weekend’s tragedy reminds me that one hour has the power to change lives and it has inspired me to use that power to make a positive impact on my local community. I encourage my fellow Grouponers to get involved.

If anyone would like to help support the affected families in Orlando, local restaurant groups — TMG, Bento Group and VGroup — are collecting donations here: https://www.gofundme.com/ForOurCityOrlando.
For more information please visit www.PrayForOrlando.info.