My Winter Internship Experience at HackerRank, Banglore
The Interview Process
First, let’s talk about the Interview Process.
Let’s go back to November 2019, when I came across a LinkedIn post about winter internships at HackerRank (Jan — July). At that time I didn’t really pay much attention to it because of my past bitter interviewing experiences. I have spent my college years building projects and contributing to open-source; not being able to talk about it at all during interviews is honestly frustrating. I don’t want to go through an interview process where the interviewers are not really interested in learning about what I know but rather focusing on what I don’t know.
Naturally, HackerRank being synonymous with Data Structures and Algorithms made me reluctant to apply! Ironically, the core requirements for SDE interns at HackerRank are development skills (though if you intend to apply for TCE positions you will have to go through rigorous DSA rounds). That’s when I sent my resume in! After the initial resume screening (which I later got to learn was done by human eyes), I had my first interview call with the CTO of HackerRank; where we discussed my past projects/internships and the tools and technologies I had worked with. After a couple of days, I had my second interview call with a Sr. Engineering Manager; the structure of the call was pretty much the same as the first one. I got a chance to showcase what I had worked on in the past as well as areas interested me.
So if you have contributed to open source before, and/or have worked on awesome personal projects, and are interested in working at HackerRank you can apply here. There aren’t any CGPA requirements and it doesn’t matter which school you attended.
After a couple more days, I received my selection call. The entire process was wrapped up within two weeks (high praise for the recruitment team) and I was ready to move to Bangalore for the next 6 months and start my internship in January!
Our interns batch was the largest HackerRank has had. Every intern batch is supposed to make an “Intern Website” and here’s what we came up with.
We were divided into teams and were assigned projects on which we were supposed to work on for the next quarter. My team worked on adding a new question type in HackerRank For Work and the candidate site (the tests you must have taken while applying for a software engineering job). Later I worked on Role Based Assessments (Projects); when I also got to write some customer emails!
On the first day of the internship, we had some orientations, an office tour, and were assigned our desks with welcome notes taped on top along with some goodies :).
We were given accommodations near the office for the initial two weeks. The Internship and the New Year began with the annual Kickoff party (where we ate a lot and drank a lot, also gave a dance/singing performance 🙃).
On Fridays, we volunteered to mentor kids in the Kids Who Kode program and helped them build a simple coding game in Python for their graduation ceremony.
I also learned how to balance? walk? hover? on a hoverboard among other skills.
There would be frequent nerf gun battles among the interns which would result in some interns wearing helmets inside the office!
We had weekly catchups where we talked about what we worked on throughout the week, specifically what code we pushed to production. Also, there would be a mandatory feedback session where we got to complain about anything and everything at HackerRank but would mostly end up talking about food or making insane requests (someone even suggested hiring a cow for fresh milk every day)!
Now let's talk about the technicals. Some of the things I got to work with during the internship are —
- React and static typing with Flow. I hadn’t worked with Flow before this.
- Unit Testing with Chai, Jest, Sinon an Enzyme. Learned about mocks, stubs, and spies and snapshot testing in React.
- Tinkered a bit with Ruby on Rails and rspecs.
- Struggled with integrating React components inside their legacy Backbonejs codebase.
The Internship During Quarantine
The office was closed after the lockdown was announced. I personally didn’t feel working remotely being any ineffective than working in the office since we were assisted with any home setup requirements that we had.
We also had a remote hackathon (over Discord!) in June where my team worked on exploring possible WebAssembly use cases at HackerRank. It was exciting to see the engineers come up with so many amazing ideas!
In conclusion, it was a great opportunity for me and I am grateful for it, all thanks to the team at HackerRank :) I got a chance to interact and learn a whole lot from the engineers as well as my fellow interns. My internship ended in July (never thought that we would not be coming back to the office for the rest of the internship). I have joined HackerRank as SDE I. Nowadays, I am working with React and some Golang and Ruby on Rails. You can find me on LinkedIn here.