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Engineering Intern Insights

The inside scoop as told by a 2017 web dev intern

As summer comes to a close, we’re saying goodbye to some of our engineering interns who spent the past 12 weeks with us here at Trulia. Each intern spent time working with new technologies, meeting new people, hearing directly from our leaders, and some even participated in our quarterly Innovation Week.

I recently sat down with one of our summer engineering interns, Zanetta Tyler, to learn more about her experience here and what advice she has for future engineering interns, at Trulia and beyond. Take a read:

What was your role at Trulia over the past several weeks?
I was hired as an engineering intern, focusing on web development for Trulia’s Local Team, which is the team that works on surfacing useful neighborhood information to consumers. Some of the projects I worked on haven’t yet launched, making them extra exciting to be a part of.

How did you find your internship at Trulia?
I found this internship through Trulia’s parent company’s (Zillow Group) partnership with Code2040. Code2040 is a non-profit organization that connects Black and Latinx computer science students to tech companies hiring in Silicon Valley. I was one of four interns from Code2040 in the Zillow Group SF office this summer.

In order to be a Code2040 fellow, you have to pass a tech challenge, phone screens and various interviews. The tech challenge is different each year, but this year it revolved around http requests (no, the challenge wasn’t specific to Zillow Group or Trulia). After becoming a Code2040 fellow, I chose to interview with Trulia because I really wanted to work in web development during my internship, which is what they promised and what they delivered.

What was your day to day like at Trulia?
Each day was a combination of meetings and coding. We started with morning standups, where the entire team shared and discussed what they were working on and potential blockers so we could all provide input and better understand priorities. These huddles helped us stay connected. When I wasn’t coding, I also got to join bi-weekly sprint planning meetings. These are short meetings where the engineering team and product managers meet to go over engineering tasks that need to be completed over the next few weeks. The goal is to ensure everyone is on track, and to discuss any issues that might have arisen since the last sprint.

Regularly joining both these meetings really gave me insight into how design, product and engineering all work together and how important their collaboration is to the success of any product, feature or idea.

What did you work on during the summer and which technologies did you use?
I spent some time learning React and Git and understanding the structure of our team repos. One small task I was given to help me learn React was to create a small React page that simply displayed links using the repos as a guide. The links could be whatever I wanted, so I chose to display every state in the U.S., and by learning about React states and props, I could make each link show different information relative to the individual links.

My manager was really understanding when I told him I don’t think tutorials really help me learn, so instead, he gave me access to Trulia’s repos on my very first day. He said, “break things” (only on my fork of the repo, of course) – that was exciting! I also got to address and help with front end fixes for some features the team’s testing, and did a bit of work on the back end for some new products we’re building.

Overall, I have to add that my team was patient with me. They answered every question I had, and even questions I didn’t know I had.

Did you participate in Trulia’s Innovation Week?
Yes, I worked on a two-person team to create a budget calculator. Our goal with the calculator was to help renters, specifically, understand what they can afford in a home. The calculator was built to consider various financial information, and give consumers a clear breakdown of where their money would be going.

We didn’t win, but participating in Innovation Week was awesome. We got to think creatively, work with new teammates and even practice different skills, like public speaking. I encourage all interns participate in their company’s internal hack weeks, if they have them.

What was your favorite part of your internship at Trulia?
For the first time, I experienced what working on a team within a company is truly like. I did not spend the summer working in a silo on a project no one cared about. I was given the chance to really contribute to my team’s weekly progress by working on all the same projects, and by participating in every team meeting.

Any advice for future interns, either at Trulia or elsewhere?
Focus on being yourself, and doing great work. Treat everything as a learning experience, because it is.

2017 Engineering Class One. Back row (left to right): Mitch Lin, Errol Francis, Vignesh Palaniappan, Andrew Alex, Nate Wang, Brian Wu, Kashif Nazir, Christian Fahrney, Julian Martinez. Front row (left to right): Anna Papitto, Zanetta Tyler, Joanne Wang, Alyssa So, Batool Hossainzadeh, Nisha Nanduri.

While summer 2017 is winding down, we’re already starting to think about our 2018 summer internship program at Trulia. If you’re interested in applying, watch our jobs page for postings.