Shedding Intern Season upon HackerEarth — Summer 2018
Hi, I recently completed my 3-month Front end engineering internship at HackerEarth and it was quite an amazing experience!
A little over a year ago, I walked into my first ever tech interview. A freshman with little knowledge of data structures and web development got selected for his first software-development internship. Having interned at another good startup afterward, infused a lot of enthusiasm in me for working in teams, building products, and learning things.
I, as you may know, love working at startups and watching them grow. Looking back at the past few months, I am amazed to see how much I have grown with respect to knowledge and understanding with realization that there is a lot more for me to learn.
What can be better than contributing to a platform everyone around you knows about — HackerEarth!
Sending the Email
In December 2017, I sent an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with a cover letter and my resume for the summer intern position at HackerEarth. Two weeks later I got a call from the HR, regarding my application and she explained the rest of the process.
I was lucky to clear all 5 rounds (including 1 app development test, 2 tech interviews, and 2 non-tech interviews) and get an internship offer from HackerEarth.
Never believed that I would get the opportunity to intern at a startup like HackerEarth — just after the 2nd year of college and yet it happened! That moment gave me a sense of achievement and joy — something that makes me believe in dreaming big, after all, it does not cost one to dream.
The Journey Begins
I still remember the day I joined, 11th June 2018. I was welcomed warmly by Narasimha and Navaneeth. They introduced me to my BUDDY — Lavish Aggarwal (The coolest guy at HackerEarth, Mozilla contributor and above all “Gaitonde” ~ his nickname).
There are mainly two products at HackerEarth — HackerEarth Recruit (recruitment management) and HackerEarth Sprint (innovation management). I was a part of the Recruit team and that is where I contributed that most.
I really appreciate the fact that every intern is paired with a buddy from day one to help him or her with everything. Also, you are introduced in person to every employee in the company!
Istarted with contributing to Nuskha (the react UI library of HackerEarth). I worked on adding minor features to some basic components like buttons and modals to get insights on the vast source code. Nuskha was built as a hackathon project by Chandransh (the all-time mentor) and Akanksha (‘woman-in-tech’ idol).
Later, I worked on FaceCode — HackerEarth Recruit’s video-interview platform, with Jagannath (Jaggu or Jag) and Akhil (George the Designer), two of the most humble people I found at HackerEarth. Our tasks included revamping FaceCode, add new features, and improving the legacy product.
While Akhil showed us the path by building designs and wireframes and re-iterating over them to build the best product out there, Jagannath did all the backend and engineering work. He even helped me with front-end issues whenever I was stuck while building the user interface for FaceCode.
It was an honor to work with both of them and lots of fun too! They will always be remembered.
Chaitanya (the cyclist) and I under the guidance of Udit (“Sartaj” as we called him), worked on making the HackerEarth Recruit GDPR compliant. Though a very small project, I learned a lot of things. Our challenge was to track European user, ask for the required consent, and save it.
I was really glad to see how seriously privacy and data protection of users is taken care of at HackerEarth.
Finally Lavish and I worked on adding Team-management feature to the HackerEarth Recruit. This project included building a react app to manage team members and a REST API for the same.
The first task was to replace the current Team management page with a react application thus providing users with a better user interface and functionality. The next task was to add capabilities to create teams, add members to a team, and perform other operations.
I started by building a generalized table with sorting, searching and pagination functionalities and added it to Nuskha. The table could then be used in other projects and implemented with all the features by writing just a few lines of code.
Then, I worked on using that table in the React app that I had developed. This was then integrated with the REST API (developed by Lavish) while implementing all the required features.
This was really an interesting project. The best was part was that Lavish and I — as a team has an in-depth discussion about the how the API should work and how it should be consumed by the client app. This really contributed a lot to my learning.
Remembering the Moments
HackerEarth, a team of 150+ people.It is a very strong organization which works really hard to deliver the best to its customers and community.
The main cultural code of HackerEarth is “ Don’t be an asshole”.
It is not just a place for hard work but fun and play as well. HackerEarth is a culturally rich organization. They have a lot of events.
Social — the cultural event at HackerEarth, which is celebrated every quarter. People participate to showcase their talents like dance, writing poetry, singing songs, doing stand-up comedy, and a lot more. I was able to attend one in June. It was a nice experience being with so many energetic people who were enjoying the moment.
Potluck — another great event which promotes social interaction, bonding, and overeating. On this day people cook and bring dishes from their home, arrange a buffet, and have a grand feast together. Being an intern, all you need to care about is being on fast the day before!
The dish I liked the most was Akanksha’s coconut rice.
The Great Hackathon — which is an internal hackathon hosted by HackerEarth every quarter. This is done to collect new ideas and improve existing products.
Manoj Jeswani (another intern) and I teamed up to participate in the hackathon and worked on automated deployment and testing for front-end apps.
- Aim: To make it easier for a recruiter to test the front-end skills of a candidate
- How does this help: This will save a recruiter’s time by allowing them to simply check the preview that is deployed.
We were also able to show real-time build logs to the candidate. We also planned to extend it further to do the following:
- Perform snapshot testing by comparing the web app’s snapshot with the images provided in the question.
- Analyze code quality using eslint to provide a detailed report of the candidate’s performance.
Being new to Docker, it was difficult to achieve all this in just 24 hours. We were really fortunate to have Udit support us in building the pipeline.
All Hands — the whole company gathers to listen to Sachin’s (co-founder — HackerEarth) company-related updates and answering to all the questions collected from the employees in an anonymous manner. He helps the people with all their doubts and provides information about the company’s future.
As he always say “The company’s growth is nothing but the growth of its employees” thus, motivating everyone to dream bigger and reach their personal goals. He also shares all the milestones reached by the company and the roadmap ahead.
On All Hands day, all the newcomers have to give their introduction and show their dance moves (mostly on a song of the audience’s choice:p).
Engineering All Hands — happens bi-weekly on Friday. People from various teams present what they have accomplished, technical difficulties faced with solutions, and what they learned. It is a very effective way to share knowledge, know what everyone is working on, and get relevant suggestions. I once got a chance to present the team management project and it was an awesome experience.
Photographer of the year — HackerEarth doesn’t just have great engineers, salespersons, or designers but great photographers too. There was an in-house photography contest hosted with 4 different themes — people, work, play, and architecture.
Independence Day Celebrations— people at HackerEarth are no less patriotic than anyone else. With flag hosting, reciting slogans , a few poems, the day was well spent.
HackerEarth 2,000,000 Strong — I was lucky to be part of HackerEarth when it reached 2 million users. We had cake cutting and celebrations.
Not Missing Deadlines
I feel that the workflows and the process of taking up a task and completing it are very efficient and effective at HackerEarth. The team follows a sprint of 15 days, in which everyone takes up their task, completes the development, gets the code reviewed, get its QA done (with the help of a really hard-working QA team), and pushes it into production.
To make the sprint efficient and successful, scrum meetings are held on alternate days. Not everything gets completed and there are spill-overs as some unaccounted things come up. The leftover tasks are moved to next sprint and things are planned again to set the goals straight.
People always help each other in making the product better. A lot of constructive discussions take place where people suggest their ideas about product decisions, engineering solutions, and much more. Everyone is motivated in delivering the best to the HackerEarth’s customers and contributing in the best way that they can.
What to expect as an intern at HackerEarth?
- Don’t expect to be an intern. You will be treated as a full-time employee. Your suggestions will matter the same and you will have the similar amount of work to do.
- Challenging work with a chance to learn from experienced developers and work on projects having a scale of 2M users.
- Free parties and outings :p. (quite a lot parties happen at HackerEarth)
- Great office and location. (8–9 cool places to party within a 200-meters radius and many more nice places to eat at)
- Play table tennis, foosball and carrom board. (you won’t win easily)
- A bunk room to sleep and a stocked pantry for when you are hungry.
People who made it even better
- Chandransh — my all-time mentor. Though I never got a chance to work together on a project with him, he always helped me with things, whenever I was stuck, while working on any project. He even solved quite a few bugs for me. Every discussion with him taught me something new.
- Himanshu — my all-time party buddy. This person made the 3 months even more interesting. I can’t even count how many Friday nights we spent together partying around the office. A cool person, a nice guy, and a neighbor in Delhi. All that time wouldn’t have been the same without him.
- Lavish — my all-time buddy/mentor/bro — the Gaitonde. From the first day to the last day, he made life at HackerEarth fun. You’ll be lucky to have him as a buddy.
HackerEarth is a great place to work at, learn, and grow. I was fortunate to spend 3 months working there and contributing to the product. I will always remember this time. Thanks for the chance and for believing in me.