Your Summer Internship – Seeking Aspiring Engineers!

Written by Rachel Flanagan, Recruiter at Whitepages

Amidst mid-term exams, social activities, and homework, it may be daunting to also think about finding a summer internship. Although this may prove challenging, the time and effort definitely pay off, as an internship offers training, experience, and will help prepare you for a successful career. Here are some helpful steps to success:

The First Step: Your Resume! Always ensure that your resume is informative and up to date. Most schools provide helpful resume workshops through the Career Center. Be sure to utilize resources like these to create an eye-catching, professional resume.

The Next Step: Applying! There are several ways you can apply to internships, but one of the most successful ways is to start on your school’s job board. This will provide you with the most direct-to-the-source application. After applying, it can be helpful to follow up with the recruiter. You can generally find their contact information on the job board or through LinkedIn. Send the recruiter a note explaining why you are excited about the position and that you are eager to hear back. (Don’t be afraid of following up weekly until you receive a response!)

The Final Step: The Interview! Once you hear back, interviews will commence quickly! Ensure that you do your research about the company and are ready for the tough technical questions. Utilize online resources to get yourself as prepared as possible!

Here at Whitepages, we are looking for eager Engineering students that are at the top of their class. We appreciate activities that set someone apart, such as TA experience or previous internships. We’re also looking for students that are passionate about the craft of Engineering. We believe that with intelligence and drive our interns will be able to successfully ship code to production by the end of the summer.

If you are looking for a company that will allow you to make an impact on a product that serves over 55M users a month, this is the place for you!

To apply for an engineering internship at Whitepages please visit our Career Page.

Below are some photos of our 2016 Summer Internship Class (some are now current employees!)

#TeamWP: Meet Colin, Software Engineer

Colin

From summer intern to engineering superstar, Colin, a Software Engineer with our Premium team, is not only relentlessly committed to making our front-end product experience usable and beautiful across platforms, but he is also reliably available for a genuine smile and words of appreciation and encouragement. Knowing that, it should be no surprise that Colin looks forward to mentoring our summer interns, making their experiences both challenging and a ton of fun!

Colin’s last three years at Whitepages have given him the opportunity to work on a variety of projects, finding his way from back-end web development to a passion for front-end web development, and having an integral role in launching our Premium product as part of a small and tight-knit team.

To break up his days in front of a computer, Colin and a couple of his fellow Whitepagers take advantage of their employee discount at the gym in our downtown Seattle office building. After a good sweat (and a shower!), you can likely find him snacking on a Chocolate Pure Protein bar and back to work in a corner of our office’s Sunset Lounge, known for the “comfiest couches and best lighting.”

What’s your hometown?
Growing up in a military family meant I lived in 10 different houses growing up. I came to Seattle to attend UW and soon found it feeling like home.

What was your very first job?
I worked as a lifeguard at the YMCA for three summers from the ages of 16 – 18.

What’s been the most influential piece of technology in your life so far?
Definitely the personal home computer. My family’s first computer was a Gateway 2000 4DX-33 running Windows 3.1 and I loved playing games on it. I remember waking up super early and memorizing what I had to type into the Command Prompt to get to my games.

What’s the last TV show you binge-watched?
The Crown on Netflix. I didn’t think a historical drama about British royalty would be that interesting, but it’s really well-made.

What do you do when you have 30 minutes of free time?
At work, I like to read up on the latest in front-end web development. At home, I enjoy working with my good friend (and colleague at Whitepages!) Tommy on editing our latest videos for YouTube.

What’s the last vacation you went on?
Over Christmas, I went to see Multnomah Falls with my family, which was an impressive sight! I’m also planning to go to Scandinavia for two weeks in April with my brother.

What’s your favorite downtown lunch spot?
There’s so many! If I want Thai food, I’ll go to the Thai-U-Up food truck. If I want Mediterranean food, I like the Athena’s food truck. Veggie Grill has some awesome vegetarian food, and Potbelly makes excellent sandwiches.

What does being a Whitepager mean to you?
Working together to get stuff done. I was sold on Whitepages when I experienced how we are trusted to do, ask questions, and directly collaborate with our colleagues to fix problems as they come up. Also, my manager really epitomizes our “own it” value. Seeing him help out with everything engineering at Whitepages is pretty inspiring.

Colin & team

Want to work with Colin and the rest of the Whitepages team? 

View our current job openings

WP Tech Talks: From the LCA Problem to Graph Analytics Using GraphX

Tech-Talk-Blog-Post

If you have spent anytime following Whitepages, you’ll know that we live for data and technology. That’s why, each week we host a tech talks at our headquarters in Seattle. These tech talks cover topics that range from how to graph analytics using GraphX to tips on using SGraph. Join us in watching the three videos listed below showcasing some of our most recent tech talk meet ups at Whitepages.

 

 

Papers We Love at Whitepages: The LCA Problem Revisited
The lowest common ancestor problem was first stated in 1973 and it took 11 years before an optimal solution was discovered, and another 16 before an understandable and implementable solution with the same bounds was presented. This deceptively simple problem comes together in the end and uses techniques that are powerful across multiple genres.

 

Graph + Spark at Whitepages: Graph Analytics Using GraphX on a Heterogeneous Graph
Anikate Singh, Data Sciences Engineer at Concur, presents an example of loading tabular data into a graph and performing simple graph analytics using GraphX.

Graphs at Whitepages: Crunching Through 100 Billion Edges in Minutes with SGraph
At this Meetup, Jay (Haijie) Gu, from Dato presented an excellent demonstration of data exploration using Graphlab Create while explaining the underlying technologies that supported efficient interactive queries of large data sets.

Stay tuned for next week! Interested in seeing our previous Meetups hosted at Whitepages? Take a look on our YouTube channel. Click “subscribe” to get notified whenever a new Tech Talk video goes live.

Meet Engineering Manager, Brent

Brent-Newman-Engineer-Manager

Meet New York native and Whitepages engineering manager, Brent. As an engineering manager, Brent leads a team of 5 who work closely together to tackle the front end of our Caller ID Android app. If you have the opportunity to walk around our office, you would likely find Brent working intensely at his desk, but if you listen closely, you just might hear him listening to Beck or Arctic Monkeys. Let’s meet Brent!

Which office are you in?
Seattle

Why did you join Whitepages?
I wanted a chance to create mobile apps that would reach millions of people.

What’s your hometown?
Fredonia, NY

What’s your favorite snack in the kitchen?
The new Sriracha covered cashews are pretty awesome.

How do you take your coffee?
Cream and sugar, but two of those hazelnut creamer packets in the kitchen will do.

What do you listen to at work? What’s on your playlist?
Recent favorites: Beck, Arctic Monkeys, Green Day, Milky Chance, Twenty One Pilots, Zedd, The Strokes.
Brent-Engineer-Manager
(The Arctic Monkeys!)

What was your very first job?
My parents used to own a small corner grocery store (attached to our house). I worked there as a cashier and I would also stock the shelves.

Describe your first computer.
It was a TI-99/4A. I saved up $60 from my allowance and my grandparents paid the other $60. I taught myself BASIC programming on it, and would save my programs to cassette tape.
Brent-Engineering-Manager-TeamWP

What was your favorite TV show when you were a child?
I used to really love a show called the Dukes of Hazzard. So embarrassing.
Dukes-Engineer-Manager

Fill in the blank: If you really knew me, you’d know _______.
My wife and I were in the same Kindergarten class.

What are you most proud of?
My family (my two daughters!).

What do you do when you have 30 minutes of free time?
Play Words with Friends, scan my twitter feed.

If you had 10 extra dollars what would you buy?
Probably a couple of cool new iPhone/iPad apps.

What’s your go-to karaoke song?
No song exists that can handle my singing voice. It’ll also be a cold day in hell that you’ll find me on a karaoke stage.

What’s the last vacation you went on?
Went with my family to England for Christmas. Spent time in London and the English Countryside.
Engineer-Manager-London

What’s your signature gelato flavor?
Cappuccino and Chocolate.

Two things you can’t live without?
Chocolate and my iPhone.

Can Code Inspire Product Development?

Product-Development-Blog

I was at this electronic-experimental concert last night where about nine artists played solo sets. Each artist was different — some used instruments, some used pieces of metal, some used only analog electronics and some just screamed into the microphone. I was thinking about musical composition and the many ways a piece of music can come into this world.

 

 

 

The two themes that seemed to encompass most aspects of musical composition were:

  • Creating [music] using minimal elements
  • Creating [music] by controlling chaos

Some artists who played at this event would use one or two musical elements — maybe a guitar and a voice — to create something beautiful. Others would use musical gear that covered the entire surface area of the stage and somehow craft all of the sounds into something understandable to a human.

So… how does this relate to engineering?

  • Creating [products] using minimal elements
  • Creating [products] by controlling chaos

I was thinking about how these methods of creation could be applied to the development of a product. We have seen and heard (and have been stressed to use) Method 1: Write code that meets product requirements and do not over-engineer. There is a Steve Jobs quote that reflects this and goes something along the lines of “Don’t employ the use of fancy frameworks and services unless your features demand them.” Which, to me, means: “Create products using minimal elements.”

This is a wonderful way of developing that has proven effective. But what if we tried to use Method 2 to develop products? What if we allowed fancy frameworks, services, and architectures to inspire ideas on features/UX/product? What would the result of that be?

Here is a simple example of a situation where one could see the benefits of Method 2 (true story):

The Product team at a music-based social-media company has decided that they need their website to drive more app downloads. To do this, they ask the engineering team to create a simple marketing funnel that lists the features of the app and simulates a step-by-step experience of the app with screenshots. With Method 1, this task is relatively simple. The engineer assigned to this task would use the simplest tools to create this simple Web experience with a couple of views, some <img> tags, and a code review. But actually the engineer assigned to this task decides to go with Method 2 and use a tool they have never used before, but heard was powerful: React.js. React is a Javascript library that is most noted for its use of a virtual DOM, which allows for extremely efficient re-rendering of the real DOM by using a diff algorithm that only re-renders the components changed. The engineer realizes this great rendering power of React and decides to employ a little module on the marketing page that displayed a map of your general location with pinpoints of where users were when they were using the app in real time, so that the Web user could see how the presence of the app in their community was strong (this app had pretty strong nationwide usage). A week goes by, and data shows that this real-time map feature has brought up app downloads by 30% and brought user survey scores to an all time high (with mentions of this feature). The company ends up adding this feature to the app itself due to user demand and high performing metrics. It turned out that using a library that offered more than the required specs inspired a feature that enhanced the product and quality of the app significantly.

I’m not saying over-engineer every task you receive. I’m saying be involved and creative with every task you receive as an engineer. Don’t rule out Method 2. Create things as simply, and cleanly as possible when the time calls for it, but don’t be afraid to control chaos. I run into these conundrums every day being a software engineer at Whitepages. At Whitepages, we encourage creativity in code development and engineering involvement in the product, while also maintaining a strong foundation of good software. This balance is what is difficult.