Whitepages has been fortunate to have an exceptional group of interns this year, including three engineers! As the summer season comes to a close, we sadly have to send our budding talents back to school, but we wanted to highlight some of the work they’ve been doing and hear their stories. Below are accounts from our three Engineering Interns: Coresite, Software, and Premium.
Meet Aaron: Coresite Engineering Intern
Aaron will be a junior at the University of Washington this fall, studying Computer Engineering. He also works as a teaching assistant for UW’s introductory Computer Science courses.
As part of the Core Site team at Whitepages, I am working to make the website experience better for Whitepages’ users. Although I have looked at many different tasks during the summer, my biggest focus has been creating tools to help team members understand problems facing the site and how they can be solved. One thing that surprised me was when, on only the fourth day of my internship, I was able to load the public Whitepages site and see a feature that I had implemented – the company is serious about helping its interns make an impact, and in less than a week I was able to experience the entire process from identifying a problem and building a solution to testing, documenting, and releasing the changes.
From the very first time I visited the Whitepages office, I could tell that their efforts to build an excellent company culture had paid off. Through the supportive attitude of my coworkers, I have never stopped feeling like a part of the team. Above all, people at Whitepages are willing to help me learn and improve, even in areas of the business that aren’t strictly related to my job.
If I have learned anything this summer, it has been that the surest way to build a good product is to build a good team, and this is the value of the company that resonates most with me.
From Aaron’s manager, Mike Spiz: “Aaron’s summer internship was all about finding and tracking website anomalies. Aaron spent the first half of his internship fixing [any] errors and significantly reduced our baseline error rate. The second half of his internship involved creating a site health dashboard that leverages many of the analytics tools that we use.”
Meet Chen: Software Engineering Intern
Chen is a rising senior in the Computer Science Department at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
What I like the most about the internship is that the things you do really matter. As someone that did not have a ton of experience in web development before this internship, I am constantly amazed by the amount of trust and support our team gives me. Gradually, I’ve become more confident in my ability, more eager to learn, and I feel fulfilled with all the work I have done. As of seven weeks into the internship, I have code that is almost ready to ship!
On our recent intern kayaking trip, the front desk staff asked us if we were a young company. When we told him that our company was almost 20 years old, he said, ‘you all look very young’. Looking around at all of my energetic colleagues, I feel that it is pretty amazing how a 20-year-old company still has all the energy to push out new products and trying different things instead of just doing the same thing day after day. I am truly glad that I decided to come to Seattle and join Whitepages this summer.
From Chen’s manager, Mike Spiz: “Chen’s summer internship involved a massive cleanup of the style sheets for Whitepages.com. Over the last two months, Chen has methodically pored over the code for every page on the site and either standardized or eliminated unused styles and HTML. This was a huge project with a lot of impact on the production site. Chen handled all of this very well and we appreciate her efforts.”
Meet Jack: Premium Engineering Intern
Jack is from Phoenix, AZ, but has spent most of his life in the Pacific Northwest. He is an incoming senior at the University of Washington, pursuing a degree in Computer Engineering.
[For] my summer internship, I wanted a job where I would be doing meaningful, difficult work, and I wanted a job where I would be treated like another member of the team. Fortunately, I’ve gotten all that I wanted out of working with Whitepages. In my time here, I’ve worked with three unfamiliar programming languages and many different frameworks. There have been a lot of challenges, but every time I’ve gotten stuck, there’s been someone nearby who is happy to help.
From the moment I got here, I was treated like a full member of the team. It was a bit of a surprise the first time my team met for our bi-weekly planning meeting and I was encouraged to contribute. I’ve scheduled meetings, set timelines for my projects, and even been consulted on technical issues that I had experience with.
My internship here at Whitepages has been everything I asked for and more. Sure, it hasn’t always been easy, but the opportunity to learn so much and contribute to a company who treats me with respect has been invaluable, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
From Jack’s manager, Dhass Thirunavukarasu: “Our interns get real life challenges where they must learn our internal business as well as new skills/languages which are immediately applied to their projects. Jack learned our internal systems, new programming languages, and mobile framework. He was able to use these to build existing new mobile experiences and delivering services that will live on as part of our products.”
We at Whitepages have been so lucky to have such talented summer interns as part of our team. Read all about our Internship Program in this previous blog post, and look for more #TeamWP Intern Edition stories!
Interested in joining the Whitepages team?