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Vidhem Chhabra, Summer Internship, Indeed Inc

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Q. A few lines about yourself-your department, where all have you worked/interned before, what else do you like? 

I am a fourth-year student pursuing Integrated M.Tech in Mathematics and Computing. This was my first major internship, at Indeed Inc, Austin, Texas. Apart from Software Development, I like Graphic Designing and Movie Making, which I've been doing in the past 3 years in the institute. 

Q. How did you choose the company you wanted to intern in? What were the main criteria? 

The main criterion of choice for me was a balance of reputation of the firm and the kind of work being offered. Also, in the case of my company, the location of the firm provided an additional benefit. Indeed, being ranked as the worlds largest Job-search portal has a lot of recognition and it would've been a dream intern for anyone wanting to go into software industry. 

Q. What sort of questions did the company ask you in the Interview? What all qualities do you think they were trying to test? 

As a part of the selection procedure, I had to give one online coding test followed by five technical (coding) interviews (via Skype). The questions asked were based mostly on what I learnt as a part of my studies (primarily Data Structures and Algorithms). They tested my various skills like - How good I am at implementation of a simple strategy, How good I am at designing a model for a new problem, How exhaustive can I think, etc. But more than this, the interviews tested my ability to think incrementally - Starting with a basic solution, How do I improve it! 

Q. A brief description about the kind of work you did there? 

I primarily worked on my own dedicated product, which I started from scratch. The product is now known as Promo Service. It is a distributed service, running across 9 Data-centres and 40+ servers, used to serve promos during Job Search. For example, when you go to indeed.com and search for a job, you are shown some promos like Upload Your Resume - Let employers find you(depending on certain parameters like what you searched, have you seen the promos, etc. These were earlier hard-coded into the main webapp. Promo Service pulls out these promos from the webapp into a dynamic framework. Now, if a new promo has to be launched or an existing one to be modified, it can be done within minutes (compared to hours of re-deploy earlier). Also, it no longer requires a developer to do the launch, it can be solely managed by the Product Managers. The service is now live in production for 5% US users. 

Q. How did you find the environment of the company and the work ethics?

Fantastic. Actually, it was far beyond my expectations. The company doesnt ask you to work hard but smart. I was allowed to work only for a max of 8 hours a day. On the contrary, I wanted to work more because it was so enjoyable. The office hierarchy is quite flattened out and no one has a personal cabin - even the CEO and CTO sat 2 tables next to me. They give you the freedom to work on your own and be the sole owner of what you do. Your talk is equally valued as the senioremployees. Then, you have regular events like Boat Parties, Team Hangouts, Friday Happy Hours, among others. It is a company where I would definitely want to go again. 

Q. How do you think this internship has helped you in your development? Shed some light on what you have gained during the process? 

Apart from my project, I had to convene frequent meetings with my product managers and other teams. This helped me improve my presentations to a great extent. Also, it cleared my mind regarding what I want to do after my (post) graduation - I would want to go into a tech company for sure. Also, the intern gave me an insight into the US culture and how do companies work there. On a side note, I also gainedlots of memories at the alternate-weekly intern events and probably some weight (:D). 

Q. One piece of advice that you would like to give to your juniors?

This is a company which one should definitely keep as his top priority. Its like a complete package. As far as skills go, one should have all his projects highlighted in a good manner and have a good understanding of what he did. Also, a tinge of competitive programming, data structures and algorithms is required. A good CG is also an added bonus. Apart from this, be clear in your thoughts during the interviews and approach the problem in a very systematic manner. 

Q. What are some of the challenges that you faced?

The biggest challenge I faced was to adjust to the US atmosphere in the beginning, but eventually (in around 2 weeks or so), it was quite normal for me. As far as the intern goes, definitely a lot of technical problems arose and there were big design decisions to take but again, all of them were solved (thanks to my mentors and my team). Overall, the internship was a great experience for me.