6th Time’s a Charm?
Before coming into my summer internship at Redfin, I’d been fortunate enough to already have 5 internships at 4 different companies under my belt. The companies I’d worked at were all very different, partially by my design, ranging from a very young startup all the way to Microsoft. Those internships gave me invaluable industry experience, and I’m extremely grateful to the people who made my experiences at those companies worthwhile. Yet, the internships I had at each diverse company seemed surprisingly similar, even getting repetitive over time. So when I came to Redfin, I expected the same run-of-the-mill software development internship.
I signed the offer to work an internship at Redfin sometime in January. Since then, I received two calls from an engineering director asking me what team I’d like to work on, and what projects sounded interesting to me. This trend continued with my manager, David, who also reached out before the internship to ask what I’d like to work on. As it turned out, this would become a question he’d ask me at every one of our weekly one on ones. I’d never had this much control over my internship before.
When I did decide on a project, David informed me that the project would have a huge impact on developers and project managers at Redfin, and even got me in touch with some of the people who were looking forward to it. He then informed me that it was my project, and that I needed to own it. With only a rough spec and a set of questions that I needed to answer about the project (albeit important ones), I set off to define the scope of my work. This level of ownership was a new concept to me.
Of course, this was no difficult task and I often found myself in need of help. Now, at many of my previous internships, my golden rule was spend a couple hours trying to get myself unstuck before asking for help since everyone else is often busy with important things. But at Redfin, I was encouraged never to remain blocked for more than 15 minutes, and every single person I talked to was ready and willing to help. Not only that, but they all genuinely enjoyed helping me and I never felt like my asking questions was wasting other people’s time.
When I finished my main project, nobody even questioned if I’d done it correctly. To them, I was another developer on the team and if I said the feature was done right, it was done right. Of course, they did help guide me along the way but I was astounded by the level of trust they placed in me and my features.
So, how did my internship at Redfin stack up against the previous five? I honestly think that it blew them out of the water. What made the difference to me was the people. Not only were my coworkers friendly, helpful, and down to earth, but they all felt like people I could be friends with outside of work.
Thank you Redfin for providing me with such a fun, meaningful, and learning-saturated internship!