During my last two weeks as a summer intern at Boomerang, there was a running joke about how I cried every day. While this may seem a bit ridiculous, the truth is that I could not imagine my summer and my time at the company ending. Unlike any of my previous work and research experiences, this internship allowed me to both grow as an engineer and gain confidence in my own abilities. Here are only a few of the reasons why my summer was so meaningful and why I am super excited to join the Boomerang team after I graduate.
My positive experience with Boomerang developers started during the interview process. Like many other tech companies, Boomerang’s interview process includes a technical interview. Unlike other tech companies, however, Boomerang’s interview made me feel validated and confident in my problem solving abilities. The questions were just as challenging as ones from other companies, but the supportive attitude of the interviewers made a huge difference.
The level of positivity around me continued to amaze me even after I had been working there for a while. By having an open office as well as an intuitive messaging app, I found it super easy to reach anyone in the company, especially my supervisor. My questions ranged from “I have no clue what I’m doing, help?!?!?!?” to “What do I want for lunch?” While I normally fear bothering people with questions, my coworkers at Boomerang created an extremely welcoming environment that allowed me to feel comfortable asking for help.
My impression of Boomerang employees was not limited to interactions at work. I was invited out to bowling, July 4th fireworks and even a baby’s 100-day celebration. I got to the point where telling stories was difficult, because I kept switching between “my friend” and “my co-worker” to talk about the same person. I felt like I joined more than a company; I joined a community.
I built something this summer. As many times as I tell myself that, I am still in shock that it is true. In the past, my internship projects did not seem substantial. I was given small tasks that my coworkers could not be bothered to do. This summer, on the other hand, I was able to work relatively independently on a feature of a Boomerang product that will eventually be in the hands of our customers.
Boomerang is different in the sense that they trust their interns and have faith that they can create something amazing. For me, the process for both the exploratory phase and development phase was pretty standard: get a task, determine what I thought was the best way accomplish it, implement my idea, present a short demo of my work and brainstorm ways to improve.
My guidance for the project, however, was not limited to speaking with my supervisor. My demo meetings were with my supervisor as well as the CEO, CTO and Chief of Product! In addition to being able to present my work to them, I really appreciated talking with a group of people who actually understood what was going on. Because they all have backgrounds in Computer Science, they were able to ask me both general questions about UI and more detailed questions about the code, giving me a chance to practice communicating different ideas.
When people told me that startups had the coolest perks, I did not believe them. Luckily, Boomerang proved me wrong. In addition to a bunch of delicious snacks and beverages, we did a weekly company lunch that I got to play a role in deciding every so often. We even had two intern events. We went to the Exploratorium in San Francisco and attended a SF Giants game, two things I would never have thought to do on my own.
The best perk, however, was being able to have a positive and supportive relationship with my supervisor. In most companies, supervisors are there to assign and review tasks. While my supervisor took on those role, he also acted as a personal and professional mentor to me. Our bi-weekly check-in meetings always started with a quick chat about how I was feeling at the company. I was able to openly talk with him about my work, my time at Boomerang and the tech industry as a whole. This relationship played a huge role in helping me grow as a person navigating the industry.