My Remote Summer Internship at Lyft

Daphne Liu
Aug 11 · 9 min read
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Have you ever wondered what it’s like to work at Lyft? What a remote internship looks like? I’ve been getting lots of questions, and I’m here to share my experiences from my Lyft summer 2020 internship.

This summer, I had the opportunity to complete an 8-week internship at Lyft. Towards the end of my internship, I spoke on the Intern AMA webinar to share about my experience with ~250 prospective interns. Alongside 3 other Lyfterns (Lyft interns!), we covered topics such as company culture, application process, mentorship, and more.

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Lyft Intern AMA Webinar

After the webinar, I received many LinkedIn messages with follow-up questions and coffee chat requests. I was happy to answer the questions, as I was just in their shoes applying for internships last year. I started seeing common themes between the questions I received. So, I decided to consolidate my answers here for students who didn’t attend the Webinar. I collected questions through a LinkedIn post, and I will make my best attempt to address them here!

How was your internship?

My favorite part of my internship was my autonomy. Instead of being handed a project, my manager reached out prior to the internship with a list of potential ideas. I had a say in what I wanted to learn and picked one that aligned with my goals. In my project, I was encouraged to make architectural and design decisions and propose ideas outside the scope. My manager’s manager even shared my work with the head of our organization! My experience was not a one-off case — all the interns work on projects with direct business impact.

How was it like to intern remotely?

The same applies to communicating with your mentor and manager. In person, every question feels casual because my mentor is one shoulder-tap away. In contrast (while it’s all in my head), I felt like I was shooting a question all the way across the border to San Francisco. I quickly overcame this friction during my first week and reminded myself that mentors were there to answer questions, and by unblocking myself early I could accomplish more.

What I found most helpful was to have a daily morning stand-up dedicated to my project with just my mentor and manager. This is separate from the team stand-up, where I shared the high-level summary of my progress. Instead, the project-specific sync served as a platform to dive into details, adjust timeline, and maintain clear visibility of my work. It was a great avenue to resolve blockers and provided organic opportunities to raise questions.

A common side effect of remote work is the struggle of work-life separation. I picked up a new hobby to make tech-themed food and have been having lots of fun with it (think of breadboard, spaghetti code, spam filters, and other puns). Check it out at my Twitter account @DevDaphne to see more!

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How was the mentorship?

I came into the internship with an open-ended goal to hone in my front-end skills. To work towards it incrementally, my mentor and I came up with a list of specific skills during my first week, such as “using React Hooks” and “writing Jest tests”. We revisited them during our 1:1s to check off the practiced skills or look for tasks they could be incorporated into. We were able to pinpoint tasks that were context-heavy and set aside time for pair programming.

Mentorship is an integral part of Lyft culture, which was evident by the elaborate mentorship structure laid out for all interns and new hires. We were provided with documents detailing expectations from mentors and mentees, a template to fill out the aforementioned objective list, auto-generated progress reports, midterm and final evaluation surveys, and check-in calls from a recruiter. Not having to build the mentorship foundation from the ground-up gave us the bandwidth to build on top and get creative with our preferences.

Why did you choose to work on front-end?

Why’s that?

A past mentor told me about the idea of the T-shaped developer, someone with the breath of knowledge but also deep knowledge in a select topic. One of my coworkers at Yelp truly exemplified this idea, as he switched to Android after years of back-end development. He was adept in bringing developers from different stacks together, built reusable architecture, and tracked down bugs across multiple platforms.

I see the value of specializing in a stack and becoming a domain expert in a particular field, which is my plan after graduation. I believe that diversifying my experience can help me speak everyone’s language. I had worked with the front-end in previous projects, but I knew there was so much more to learn. Instead of closing my options to Android, I took the chance to try something different in my last internship at Lyft.

What did you work on?

The first version was launched a few months ago and includes the main booking flow. My project was to integrate core features missing from RiderWeb, such as coupons, shortcuts, payment methods, and dark mode. These projects, written with React and TypeScript, were fun and challenging to work on. I got to transform data from server, translate UI from mobile to web, and build maintainable infrastructure for other features to build on. Along the way, I picked up on other tasks including adding A/B testing support using Lyft’s in-house experimentation framework. If you’re interested to check out RiderWeb, head to ride.lyft.com.

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What challenges did you face switching from Android to web development?

The theories behind Android and front-end web development also differ. In Android, it’s uncommon to see data being shared. The screens are responsible for fetching their own data and the fragment gets destroyed when transitioning to another screen. In React, data can be passed downward and put into props and context. It’s a whole different way of thinking about the data and I had to throw all my intuition out the window.

What is it like working as a Canadian intern?

What works for you when coding for long periods of time?

To avoid burnouts, I highly recommend switching between tasks and changing things up periodically. I like to work on the balcony or bike to an empty park. The change of scenery helped me overcome my stir-craziness after being in the same space 24/7. I was able to give my mentor a mini Vancouver tour too! If this is not an option, it’s the mindset and mentality that need to change. Having distinct hours or space set for work and home can help your brain unplug so you can recharge for the next day.

How do you stay motivated every day?

The Lyft university team put together daily lunch video calls and placed interns into small groups of “families” to compete with each other in Slack challenges and Family Feud tournaments. Socializing is part of the culture and taking some time off helped me regain my focus when I jumped back to work. It’s motivating to start my day knowing I’ll be seeing my coworkers.

Conclusion

To learn more about the internship program, head to Lyft’s career page. If you’re interested in my past experiences or have any follow-up questions, visit my website or LinkedIn!

I hope this blogpost was helpful, and best of luck wherever you are :)

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Daphne Liu

Written by

CS @ UBC | Intern @ Lyft, Yelp, Shopify | daphneliu.com | www.linkedin.com/in/daphliu/

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +734K people. Follow to join our community.

Daphne Liu

Written by

CS @ UBC | Intern @ Lyft, Yelp, Shopify | daphneliu.com | www.linkedin.com/in/daphliu/

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +734K people. Follow to join our community.

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