Role: Software Design Engineer Intern
Timeline: Summer 2016
Location: Seattle, WA 🏔
Concur was my first professional internship and I guess job in software. I had met one of their recruiters at a hackathon (MHacks at the University of Michigan) and he encouraged me to apply. I did and soon later did 3 separate interviews for 3 separate roles. These were among my first ever interviews for a software job and Concur was the largest company to have given me an interview so far. Fortunately, I was able to receive an offer for the 3rd interview position as a software design engineer intern. I was also lucky in that I only went to MHacks that weekend because a friend of mine ignored me when I said I didn't want to go and showed up outside my place anyway with a ride (thanks, friend).
What I did
I was placed on a team within Research and Development. The team was nicknamed team "Ekipazh" (meaning Flight Crew 🛫 in Russian). For the time I was at Concur, the project we handled was on building a multi-threading solution for quickly searching through different relational databases. My main responsibilities included building the web app used for dynamically showcasing the results of the multithreaded search. I also helped out in planning and designing the multithreaded solution itself in Java. As a small project, I also did p.o.c. group work for a bonusly slack bot.
- Successfully reduced wait times for database searches from ~6-8 hours down to 10-30 minutes
- Dynamic web app successfully shows in real-time multi-threaded database results, including successes and failures
What I learned
JQuery, Java, Spring, Git (in a team setting)
Introduced to concurrent systems
Introduced to relational databases
Dynamic web development
I am grateful for the opportunity that Concur presented me. It was fun being able to travel to another city in another country and work in tech. I made friends I try to keep in touch with and appreciate the time I had. If I were to go back in time, I think I'd tell myself to be more confident and take greater advantage of my time there. Seattle was a great place to be, but I was still unsure of what I wanted to do as a career. Did I want to become a web developer? I was learning a lot of design in my spare time as well. Seattle was a place loaded with talented artists and designers. Through the people I met and the friends I made, I think I eventually realized I needed to incorporate more design in my career and life.
That being said, while I still learned a lot working at Concur, I also faced some imposter syndrome and was not sure how to handle that. Part of this resulted from working with advanced concepts such as concurrency and relational databases. I was a first-year CS student at the time and a lot of this I had not studied yet. While this is no fault to the team or Concur, it was a bit intimidating as a result and sometimes doubts sprang up over whether or not I was suited for this role. I was fortunate to have had a kind and understanding team that helped get me started and feel welcome. Looking back, I wouldn't say I have any real regrets. In the end, it was a big milestone for my career and I did my best at the time to make the most of it.