Building Mobile Apps at an Apartment Rental Startup

Building Mobile Apps at an Apartment Rental Startup

Welcome to another Student Showcase. A series where we talk about the experiences of our remarkable interns we have helped connect with our long list of companies. By the end of the article, we hope to give you an insight into the opportunities that you may encounter after joining the Techintern.io community.

This week, we are passing the microphone to Qiyue (Cheery) Wang. She is currently taking her Master’s Degree in Computer Science at UCSD. Cheery is proficient in Java and Python, and she is also skilled in working with data structures, algorithms, and statistics. Her long list of experiences includes building an Android pedometer application and doing an internship at a Speech AI Startup. In order to satisfy her insatiable quest for improvement, Techintern.io helped her connect with Zumper an apartment rental startup with a mission to make renting easier, faster, and more human across the USA and Canada. The company features a mobile app where users can easily find good deals on rental properties in different cities in USA and Canada.

Internship Experiences

  • What did you work on over the course of your internship?

Cheery worked on the launch of Zumper’s new messaging platform on iOS and Android. She was in charge of redesigning the messaging cell UI, which is something she was given ownership of. She worked on many different features and fixing bugs, and was involved with the launch of the messaging platform as well as the upcoming mobile app redesign.

  • What was unique about the company and role?

At Zumper, all mobile engineers need to work on both iOS and Android instead of just delegating teams to work exclusively on each operating system. It is something that is not done by many other companies.

For the intern role itself, Cheery felt like it was unique in the sense that she did not do an intern project. She just did whatever that full-time engineers do, which are things that are very important to Zumper’s business value. For example, immediately after being onboarded, she was involved with making sure that the messaging platform was launched on both iOS and Android platforms. This involved understanding the intricacies of both the renter and property manager sides of the messaging platform, testing and fixing bugs. Soon after the messaging launch, Cheery was contributing to the upcoming mobile app redesign. The mobile app redesign was a unique experience since it was an AB test that required Cheery to redesign the messaging cell experience while also maintaining the recently launched “control” variant design so that both variants can be shown to our user base. This introduced additional engineering challenges and brought insight into how AB tests work.

In addition to being a core contributor on the engineering side, Cheery was also involved in the product side of Zumper as she participated in and contributed a variety of ideas in Zumper’s messaging program Q4 roadmap planning meeting. This shed light onto the product planning practises of Zumper that allows every member of the team to put on their product/design/engineering hat and be involved in the features that Zumper builds.

  • What did the company do to mentor and support you during the internship?

Instead of an engineering manager, Cheery’s mentor is a senior engineer. This meant that her mentor was more available to answer numerous questions both about the project and the company. To further improve as a team member, she attended biweekly meetings with her mentor to discuss internship learning goals and to accomplish tasks that would help her learn specific frameworks. In addition to that, she was able to easily jump on a call with other coworkers to discuss technical issues and her mentor usually replies within 15 minutes.

Daily standups as well as weekly sync meetings were held so that Cheery was always involved with product, eng and design updates, and that she had the opportunities to clarify unknowns and questions that she has.

Internship Advice

  • Do you have any tips/advice for tech resumes?

You should prepare different versions of your resume. Cheery advised that resumes should be tailored according to the role that you are applying for. In her case, since she applied for a mobile position, her resume highlighted both her collaborative course project and personal projects in iOs and Android platforms. By doing so, she was able to stand out among other applicants. The same thing could be done for other positions.

  • Do you have any tips/advice for tech interviews? What was your interview process like?

Interviews at big companies usually require you to answer leetcode questions so you should prepare by answering as many leetcode problems as possible. On the other hand, smaller companies will ask you to talk about personal projects and your knowledge specific to them. With Zumper, Cheery said that it was very straightforward. She only had one interview where she was asked one coding question and needed to implement it in any of the three: Java, Kotlin, and Swift.

  • What did you hope to gain from your internship? What did you gain?

Cheery did not have specific hopes before she started because this was her first paid internship. Having said that, she still fleshed out goals during her first few weeks. At first, she found the codebase daunting because it was the largest codebase she had seen so far. With the help of her mentor, she eventually learned shortcuts that made it easier to quickly locate what is needed, which was mostly using the search function of the IDE, and to look for usages of specific functions, types, or variables. Cheery was also able to learn more about git. Specifically, she learned how to squash commits locally using cherry-pick when the feature branch’s base branch has diverged too much from the production branch. Lastly, she also became more proficient in using the IDE’s debugger.

Some of the goals she came up with are getting more familiar with the codebase and learning commonly used frameworks. Due to her enthusiasm and eagerness and with the help of her mentor, she managed to achieve all of her goals in the end, which included getting a full-time job offer.

  • Do you have tips for future interns? (Making the most of the internship, networking, learning curves, etc)

In order to make the most of your internship, Cheery suggested that you should try to be more proactive in doing tasks. Pursue other tasks that you think will better fit your learning goals. Being transparent to your higher-ups will also improve your internship experience. If you feel stuck on a task that is above your ability and you do not think you can realistically finish the task by the deadline, try to voice out your concern early on so you can maybe get a more manageable task. Lastly, try to take on projects that will give you a more meaningful learning experience.

  • Anything else interesting happen over the course of the internship?

Being an intern is not all work. Random, interesting things can also happen. In the case of Cheery, her manager went on a 4-week paternity leave and showed them his newborn son when he came back.

Conclusion:

  • Cheery is currently taking her Master’s Degree in Computer Science at UCSD. We helped her connect with Zumper, an apartment rental startup with a mission to make renting easier, faster, and more human across the USA and Canada.
  • She worked on the messaging part of Zumper’s Android and iOS app. She was in charge of styling messaging cells, which is something she was given ownership of.
  • Prepare different versions of your resume. Resumes should be tailored according to the position that you are applying for.
  • Close communication with your mentors and being proactive is vital to learning and making the most out of your internship.

If you're interested in hiring a tech talent like Cheery, we'd love to have you join us at Techintern.io! Sign up at https://www.techintern.io or feel free to reach out to kingsong@techintern.io if you have any questions.

If you’re a student looking for your next internship, check out Techintern.io! Our common application process is designed to make applying as easy as possible, so you can find great internships like Cheery did. Sign up now at https://www.techintern.io/student/signup.