Q&A Session with a Software Engineer at Airbnb
Highre was fortunate enough to invite a Software Engineer at Airbnb to one of our events! Federico Ponte, is a part of Homes & Hosts team at Airbnb, specifically working on Airbnb Plus. He shares his current project, day in the life at Airbnb as a software engineer along with demystifying our interview process and what the victories and challenges are during the career path.
The session was heavily focused on students actively participating in the discussion and asking questions and here are some questions that got the most attention:
- Does your team have a data analyst role?
I think that analysts' roles are similar to data scientist roles at Airbnb. They usually have two different paths at Airbnb. First one would concentrate on analyzing the data, the other one would focus on the machine learning side. In my team, there is one dedicated data scientist. She is in charge of doing different analyses that we require for our team.
2. Do different parts of Airbnb have different engineering teams?
There are three teams: one for Lux, Plus and Homes in general. It’s divided into different parts. The website you see is not managed by my team, but in order to present the best product, all teams need to work in conjunction with other engineering teams.
3. What does Airbnb most look for in an engineer?
I think ‘good logical reasoning’ is the main thing that we look for in an engineer. By that, I mean, you are not required to know a specific language when you first join, but we look for your ability to solve different problems. When you have an interview with us, the crucial point is for you to have the right thinking process for the team.
4. Do you work closely with product managers on a daily basis?
I should mention how the teams are composed first. You should have one product manager per team, and they are the ones who set up the goals for the team. My team’s role is to ensure that the hosts at Airbnb Plus are providing the expected quality. In order to achieve that, we have to build different tools for the operation and to support the clients. That’s when the product manager comes in. We work closely with product managers to define how we want things to be and to clarify what needs to be done.
5. Do the development teams follow Agile methodology or Waterfall?
We follow Agile methodology and this is really specific to our team. Usually during 2 weeks, we start with spring planning, over the week, we execute them and in the end, we have a software walkthrough to see how we did. That’s the most common process. We use Jira to see our progress through different stages and what metrics work well and don’t work well.
6. Can you share more about the recruiting process specifically for software engineers?
The process varies based on which role you apply for. For software engineering, you would first have to apply online, then the following processes will be through online coding challenges, and if you pass those processes, you will have two virtual interviews. Then the last one will be a cross-function interview that will take place. The process could go as quick as you want it to go, you will have to give it a week and a half to two weeks to go through the process. Once the process is started, it can typically take from two to four weeks.
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