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.

iOS Engineer Nicolas Yuste Tirados

iOS Engineer Nicolas Yuste Tirados

Name: Nicolas Yuste
Location: Seattle
Title: iOS Engineer

You came to Groupon through Blink; can you talk about Blink and what it was like being part of an acquisition?

I was living in Madrid working for Blink (Blink by Groupon). We had about 30 people in the office and it was awesome; everyone was super young and it was one of the best working environments I’ve ever been in. I was there for a year and will remember it forever. I was only 23 when I was hired and it was my first real job as an Engineer.

We had an awesome time there but we also worked really hard. I remember those days with pizza in the office at 9:30pm… Our bosses (Miguel Ortega, Rebeca Minguela, and Alvaro Febrel) did an awesome job and got an agreement with Groupon. After a year working with Blink, Groupon acquired the company and the three bosses and four engineers moved to Seattle to work on the Getaways team. It was a really fast process!

Spain’s work environment is really different from the US and it took a while to adapt to the new environment. Anyway, we did really well and here we are. I am working with an awesome team and I am living in an awesome place. The Getaways Team is really cool, there are a lot people from all over the world: Netherlands, Russia, Spain, Mexico, Chile, China, India, Korea, El Salvador, Brazil, and Taiwan. This makes both the team and the office great.

So what do you do? 

I was the first member of the Getaways Mobile Team and we built the Getaways standalone app from scratch. It was really challenging but we did awesome work and finally shipped one year later in December 2014. After launching the Getaways app, the Getaways Mobile Team (3 devs and 2 QA per platform) started working on the main Groupon app. We made a trip to our Palo Alto office to learn from the main Mobile team how the app was built and the foundation of the project. After that two weeks of bootcamp, we started to build features related to Getaways and that is what I have been doing the past year. I have grown a lot and I am also working in a really big project not related to Getaways. The Getaways Mobile team is now essentially part of the main Mobile team based out of Palo Alto.

Can you talk about the technology you work with? 

Being a mobile person means working with the latest technologies. I am an iOS Engineer and I get to work with the latest features that Apple launches. I have written code in Objective C and Swift for all the possible platforms: iPhone and iPad, Apple Watch, and I have been playing with tvOS lately.

What do you love about working here?

I wake up every morning wanted to go to the office, isn’t that enough? I love to be in the office with all my peers; they are awesome and we have so much fun. I am working on one of the biggest apps in the world. I love the fact that what I do is touched by millions of fingers around the world…that makes me feel really grateful.

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