What I Did Last Summer: An intern’s experience at Quid

Intern author Sriram Somasundaram, pictured second from right, with fellow 2016 Quid interns.

I took Caltrain up to the Quid office and was met by the summer coastal fog of San Francisco.

I remember my first day in May, where I was greeted warmly and ushered to a desk with some cool hardware and a personally tailored new hire gift. I sat near the engineering team, and as I rested back in my chair talking to fellow interns, I had no idea of what was to come for the next twelve weeks.

For the summer of 2016, I was paired up with another intern to outsource Quid’s company description dataset by building a RESTful microservice gateway. We used a Python Flask web server built on top of a NGINX and uWSGI framework in Quid’s Chef infrastructure, which basically involved passing around JSON data using HTTP requests. I learned development methodologies from version control and virtualization to running web servers and using databases. We interacted with cloud storage and key-value stores. Whenever I ran into problems or had questions about improving on a current approach to a problem, I could easily talk to our mentor, interns (who eventually became friends), and other Quidizens.

As I got into a routine, I came to realize a few amazing things about life at Quid. When working on a project with team members and having whiteboard meetings, there were many bookable meeting spaces and open areas with couches available. I found it very convenient to have breakfast in the morning as I worked, with access to Quid’s kitchen and pantry (refilled daily with an array of snacks to essentials). Some meals were catered at Quid with a rotating menu, and there were also countless food trucks and places outside the office.

Every day, I was always excited to enjoy what was for lunch that day while talking to my colleagues. I remember trips to a Giants game, a bowling alley, and food adventures around San Francisco. I took full advantage of the wellness perks, and there were fun clubs within Quid like the biking and games group. We even had a spirit week with trivia, pushup and plank competitions (which I won!), and a ping pong tournament.

Quid’s company culture — characterized by involvement, innovation, and openness — was palpable. As interns we could attend the bi-weekly sprint rundowns, the tech All Hands and the company-wide meetings. I learned about Quid’s origins and a glimpse into how a company develops. We even had culture-building meetings where, as interns, we were welcome to share our suggestions on how to improve the experience.

In another meeting, the executive team discussed Quid’s quarterly results and client research data, refocusing the company on client retention and the various engineering goals to accomplish it. We also met the executive team, where they talked, over sushi, about their backgrounds, journeys, and visions for Quid’s future. It was uniquely insightful because, as an intern, I was involved in the discussion and able to learn about the executive decision making at the heart of a company.

Later in the internship, we created a web user interface related to the gateway for the marketing team using HTML, CSS, and Javascript. After almost two months of development, we were monitoring the gateway’s progress in production and started working on new projects using Apache Spark and submitting multithreaded jobs in Scala to provide data analytics on Quid news networks stored on Elasticsearch and data in MySQL.

Over the weeks of my internship, I had the privilege of growing as a programmer working on multiple projects and developed great respect for my colleagues and culture at Quid. It was definitely a great summer and an incredible experience.

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