Bitly Summer Intern Wrap 2015

We’ve invited this year’s summer interns to share their experiences from working on our engineering team. Our interns worked on the same problems as our full-time engineers and made a difference to our product and business on a massive scale. They also appeared on the Bitly Tech Podcast which you should totally check out! If […]

We’ve invited this year’s summer interns to share their experiences from working on our engineering team. Our interns worked on the same problems as our full-time engineers and made a difference to our product and business on a massive scale.

They also appeared on the Bitly Tech Podcast which you should totally check out!

If you have an interest in making a difference on a massive scale then check out our job postings as we are hiring in both Denver and New York City!

Nathaniel

I’m Nathaniel and I’m writing this a few days before my awesome summer with Bitly comes to an end. I will be returning to Carnegie Mellon to start my 3rd year studying Computer Science but I have to say, I’m going to miss this place. I spent the summer interning with the extremely talented Frontend team here at Bitly. While here I’ve gotten to create a javascript AB testing utility and contribute to the soon-to-be-released BBT2 product. One of the best parts of working at Bitly was that even as an intern, I felt like I had voice at the company. This was extremely evident with my work on BBT2 where I got to contribute not just code, but also ideas and opinions. Oftentimes you hear stories about how interns get stuck in corners to work on projects that never get to see the light of day. Bitly does the exact opposite. We were given seats amongst everyone else, we were given projects that will actually affect the direction and success of the company, we got to (and were encouraged to) attend all meetings, and most importantly, we were made to feel like members of the team.

I also learned a ton this summer. The new BBT2 product is being built in React JS with the help of Immutable JS. I’ve gotten to fully immerse myself in these tools and I’ve fallen in love with them. Being a TA for a functional programming class, Immutable JS brings me as close as a javascript framework could to the Eden that is functional programming. Then React combined with JSX helped us write very clean and modular code, something any programmer can appreciate. Having previously worked in Ember JS, I have to say that React was a pleasant change from the rigidity of Ember. Although I worked primarily in javascript and CSS, Python is unavoidable at Bitly. Luckily, despite my love for functional programming, Python is my favorite language. Although I was only able to make one Meetup, I really appreciated that Bitly gave their space during the night to host events for the Python community in NYC. Even for an NYC native like me, the city can feel too big. Having a space to meet up with like-minded people can be really nice. Bitly does everything it can to make every employee enjoy what they do and this summer I truly did enjoy every moment of working at this great company.

Meina

My name is Meina. I am currently a graduate student at New York University, majoring in data science. In addition to data science, I have also focused my study on marketing at Stern. I worked with Bitly as a data science intern this summer. I decided to join Bitly because I was impressed by their innovative and collaborative culture. I wanted to utilize my knowledge of both data science and marketing at Bitly. I believed Bitly was a perfect fit for me because of Bitly’s ability to help its customers better understand and target their audience based on the results from data analysis.

I worked on two projects during my internship at Bitly. They were improving the MQL (Marketing Qualified Leads) Scoring System and understanding New York Times users’ browsing behaviors. For the MQL Scoring System project, I had the opportunity to work with the marketing team. I trained several statistical learning models based on Bitly’s historical sales data. I improved the accuracy of the MQL scoring system by 53.1%. Meeting with marketing team frequently helped me practice communication across departments. I also gained more knowledge about the marketing side of Bitly.

While working on understanding New York Times users’ browsing behaviors, I started to learn a new clustering framework, Apache Spark, in order to process large-scale datasets. Learning Spark was a lot of fun and provided me with many challenges. I really appreciated that my colleagues were very helpful and patient whenever I asked for their help. Instead of solving the problem directly, they inspired me by providing directions for me and let me explore the solutions by myself. I learned to solve the problems more independently. The collaborative and welcoming atmosphere here at Bitly encouraged me to work through those challenges patiently and helped me become more productive.

In addition to working on these two projects, I had numerous other unforgettable experiences at Bitly. I remember the time when I went rafting with all my colleagues for Q2 celebration. I remember the wonderful moments that I spent with my colleagues every Thursday during our cocktails and dreams events. We talked about our projects and enjoyed various special drinks. I remember my excitement when we moved into the new office. During my internship at Bitly, I not only gained valuables skills, including technical skills and communication skills, but also became friends with many of my exceptional colleagues. If I had the chance to choose my internship again, I would still join Bitly without any doubt.

Ben

I’m Ben, a rising junior at Columbia studying Computer Science. I was lucky enough to be selected to join Bitly’s application engineering (backend) team a couple of months ago, and it’s been a blast.

A big part of Bitly’s appeal is the scale it offers to its customers, and I was able to see firsthand what goes into creating and maintaining that. After a couple days of setting up, I was able to begin scouring the code for ways of tackling my first assignment, which involved addressing user search complaints. We use Elasticsearch to allow users to search through links they’ve created, so I spent about a week carefully combing through the relevant documentation, looking for and testing the right combination of queries that would address issues that users brought up, while keeping search lag low.

I realized that in order to fully improve search functionality, I would need to completely reindex our Elasticsearch database without interrupting user experience. It took a while to come up with a detailed plan of how I was to go about doing this; I first had to learn all about Bitly’s open source distributed messaging system which is largely written in Go. Learning about distributed systems and Go was hugely rewarding, as until then I was used to dealing with single-server applications. I now have insight into how companies like Bitly manage to deal with massive influxes of data every day – in other words, what it takes to scale.

At school, I’ve used agile development practices to build student-run applications for my peers, but seeing them as a part of a professional workflow was a whole new ballgame. Every morning we would state our goals for the day. Bi-weekly sprint planning meetings allow everyone to note progress and map out next steps. Department-wide meetings outlined goals for the company. Because the company isn’t too large, I knew of the goings-on of almost every division, even sales and revenue. I was always very impressed to hear about our latest partners and the ever-expanding scope of our product. At times, it made my task of migrating a massive amount of user data terrifying as I became acutely aware of the extent to which people relied on our services. I would simulate my procedure over and over, paranoid that any change I made as I worked on it might ruin the whole system. Yet there was an underlying thrill in the possibility of creating something that would be able to transform our data and make it more useful for everyone.

I enjoyed Bitly’s culture. Despite its growing size (as indicated by our beautiful brand new offices in NYC) it retains an easygoing, youthful energy which is evident in everything from our weekly “Lunch & Learn” meetings to the mid-year company outing at Lehigh River during which everyone went rafting People are very friendly, eager to explain the intricacies of something they worked on and how it is used throughout the codebase. I am incredibly grateful to have had such kind, engaging mentors throughout my time here. The experience I’ve gained here has been invaluable.

I still have a few weeks left here, so I’m excited to keep building!

Source: Bitly