Tell us about your job! What do you do exactly? What do you love about it?
I am a Software Engineer and I work on the backend team to provide incentives for our end users. The best part of my job is that any new initiative around granting discounts is directly reflected in conversions. Better promotions mean happier customers, which results in a larger purchase, eventually resulting in higher company profits. So there is always a sense of satisfaction to be able to contribute directly towards my company goals.
I love the fact that we own the service from Bangalore and are responsible for everything associated with it. There is not only high visibility but also recognition for all our efforts. Other than office work, I love the fact that we also work on a lot of fun activities such as festivals, birthday cake cuttings, company-wide outings, and intra-company sports competition, personal development courses, and volunteering opportunities.
What was your first role here? How did you get to where you are now?
I was recruited during my final year of post-graduation and was hired for the Goods team. We worked on a logistics service, built on Python-based Django framework and used Postgres backend. It was responsible for vendor payments, once the product was actually shipped to the end user. After 11 months, I was a part of the Goods sub-teams written in Ruby and Angular JS resp., using MySQL backend. While one of the services was responsible for storing and validating vendor contact details along with deal information, the other service provided a platform for the vendors to put their deal information on the portal which would allow the Groupon buyers and vendors to eventually sign the contract.
Eight months later, I started working on a few platform services around APAC initiatives. The following year, I worked with the Global Marketing team for about three months. I then headed towards a new venture, this time on the front-end technology with Conversions Engineering, whose services were built in NodeJs, using Mustache for HTML templates, and beautified with CSS. I was primarily involved with enabling users to log in and sign up when either on Groupon or when integrated via social communities such as Facebook and Google.
After being part of this i-tier framework-based front-end project for around 10 months, in January 2017, I moved back to platform services and became a member of the Push Engineering Team. In the past almost five years, I have seen a standardisation from raising pull requests over emails, logging tickets in Pivotal tracker, maintaining a code repository on Github, filing tickets in Jira, using test rails for QA steps, and introducing a review process for new services.
What’s unique about Groupon’s Engineering culture?
There are various forums that practice technical discussions, workshops, and hands-on sessions. Engineers working on different teams reach out to each other when they’re stuck on any design problem. As my manager said once, individual contributors here get the opportunity to work in every role. Like in the temporary absence of a Product team, Engineers can become a Product Manager and work closely with the business team in getting the right expectations.
Engineers here strive to keep the coding standards high and follow best practises framed in various guidelines. We have strict review processes for new services, which require a document explaining the challenges the service will solve; the logical and physical design; upstream and downstream dependencies; availability constraints (Tiers); what data flows in and out of the service; and the deployment process.
Every quarter, there are processes carried out to ensure every microservice is confined to its expected SLA and is stress tested to assure it’s capable of serving 2-3x more traffic during holidays. We also have global hackathons arranged each year. There is a creative energy all over, where colleagues come up with many impressive ideas, and some even implement them within the designated time span. While all these might look like very usual stories, I would like to share one unique experience from such events. It was the year 2015, where the winning project contestants from Chennai actually got the opportunity to present their team idea in Seattle in front of the CEO. It was a highly motivating experience!
What’s your favorite view from the office?