Working at Leanplum: The Intern Perspective, Pt 2

2018 has been a year of incredible growth for the Leanplum team. We officially opened our sixth global office in Amsterdam, expanded our New York office, and moved into a new award-winning office in Sofia, Bulgaria. In June, we completed the acquisition of Connecto, a conversational marketing startup based in Bulgaria. Last but not least, we added a total of 90 employees to the Leanplum family — fifteen of whom were interns.

Interns are an invaluable part of Leanplum and critical to the company’s success. While some interns stay for just the summer months, others join the team full-time to take on long-term projects that enrich their experience.

We sit down with a few of our current interns across multiple departments to hear their unique perspective about working at Leanplum (be sure to check out part one of our series, and our original intern blog post, and visit our Prod Dev blog for more great content.). 

Meet Simeon

leanplum internship

Hey Simeon! Tell us more about yourself.

I did an internship at Leanplum Omni-Channel Insights Pod. I’m just about to start my second year studying Computer Science at the University of Cambridge. I was first introduced to programming at the age of 13 on extracurricular classes in Informatics. That’s about the age I started participating in programming competitions, which I’ve been doing ever since.

Of course, I’ve made a bunch of pet projects in High School, like an Android app which helped me memorize words in English and prepared me for my IELTS exam. However, being an intern at Leanplum is my first official job ever. The closest thing I’ve had to this is a product I made for my parents’ accounting firm, which records the workload and offers useful statistics.

Another passion of mine is playing the piano. I’ve been playing since I was young, and I used to go to competitions as well. Currently, I’m trying to learn Chopin Etude Op 25 No.1, but it might take a year or two.

Why did you choose an internship at Leanplum?

A friend of mine (Momchil Peychev), whom I know from the programming competitions, strongly recommended Leanplum as a place with great opportunities and lots of smart people, who can be a precious source of experience to learn from.

I also preferred to have my first internship in Bulgaria, so Leanplum matched my preferences perfectly.

What project have you worked on during your internship?

The first one was implementing a new API method. It was a simple one: the user enters an app ID and a date, and my solution outputs the number of sessions and events. Under the hood, however, the implementation included a number of components – the API service interacting with our Reporting infrastructure, which reads the results from a Redis Cache, then communicates it back. On the other hand, when data is ingested, an Apache Spark Job computes those counts and saves them in the cache. Getting familiar with all those components down the pipelines was challenging at times, but it was a good onboarding project due to the same reason.

I then had to implement data duplication monitoring, which I found easier with the knowledge I had gained from the first one. I had to export Prometheus metrics in Grafana, which was also a useful thing to learn (and visually satisfying).

My last project is concerned with an optimization in the backend, which can speed up certain report types twofold. For my previous projects, it was more or less clear how to implement them, but this one wasn’t as straight-forward. I had to test a few different approaches, then evaluate them in terms of performance and ease of completion.

What is it like to be an intern at Leanplum?

From the moment I started, I have always been considered as a part of the team. Even though I was an intern, I worked on real projects, making an impact on real people.

My coworkers are motivated, and always willing to help. In the first weeks, I was often lost in the code trying to figure out how to do something. I have to thank Ivaylo Toskov and my mentor Alex Delev for always taking the time to explain things. Working at Leanplum is being part of a team — you are all moving toward a common goal, with a lot of professionals to mentor you. You work together and you have fun together, be it playing table tennis or going on a picnic.

Meet Encho

software internship leanplum

Tell us more about yourself.

My name is Encho Mishinev and I am just starting my second year at Cambridge University studying Computer Science. I first encountered programming through programming competitions when I was in sixth grade and I immediately felt that this is what I want to do. I’ve been actively competing ever since, achieving some great results. In my spare time, I enjoy playing chess and learning new languages. I already know a little bit of Romanian and am currently learning Spanish.

Why did you choose to do your internship at Leanplum?

I know some people that have worked at Leanplum, and some that still do. Everybody strongly recommended it as one of the top places to work in Sofia. I applied to a few companies, but as soon as the communication with Leanplum began, I knew that’s where I want to be. It was definitely a great decision.

What project have you worked on during your internship?

My internship was focused on one large project of replacing a component that is managed by Google with one that we support fully ourselves. There were numerous reasons why the project was necessary and it was definitely not an easy one. I had the opportunity to work with many state-of-the-art products for big data and learn a lot about the latest trends in the field.

The project was very interesting as I learned something new every single day. It was of course quite challenging, as I had no serious prior experience in working with such a large product and no experience with big data whatsoever. Fortunately, the atmosphere in Leanplum is very friendly and it is extremely easy to ask for help whenever you need it.

What was your favorite part of interning at Leanplum?

I would say that my favorite part of interning at Leanplum is how much I’ve learned. Not only regarding programming, but also about teamwork. This is something you cannot learn from theory only.

What is it like to be an intern at Leanplum?

Being an intern at Leanplum is great! When choosing the project you will work on, your preferences are taken into account, which guarantees that you will work on something that you enjoy. Additionally, the team is amazing — everybody is very friendly and you quickly get comfortable enough to ask all kinds of questions, so you start learning rapidly. There are often different kinds of teambuilding activities which further help you get comfortable.

The office is also very nice and has a lot of perks, such as free food and drinks, a foosball table, table tennis, etc. This ensures that whenever you have a bad day and get stuck on a problem, you can always take a short break and regain the energy you need to tackle it. The company’s flexible work policy is another great thing as you can figure out which times work best for you and be much more productive.

Meet Paolina

software engineer sofia bulgaria leanplum

Tell us more about yourself.

My name is Paolina. I am in my second year of studying computer science. My love story with computer science began early in my high school years. I used to participate in every programming competition in my country. A few years later, I found out I enjoy solving programming problems, but I enjoy working on open problems even more. And so began my journey in the research world.

One of my recent projects required the creation of a genetic algorithm for one of Karp’s 21 NP-hard problems. In another one, I had to examine a generalization of a dynamic-cell process which mimics predator-prey relations. I appreciate this time of my life, as I developed a big part of myself. The abilities I gained working on these topics are currently helping me as a student.

Outside of programming, I run a food blog specially designed to help students cook tasty food on a budget. Check out some of my recommended recipes here.

Why did you choose to do your internship at Leanplum?

When I decided that I want to be an intern this summer, I started looking for companies with interesting problems. After all, nobody wants to work on a mundane job which anyone can do. Leanplum got my attention, as I found I have a lot of friends working here and they were all very happy with the place.

What project have you worked on during your internship?

Rate limiting is often used to limit the amount of traffic going to a particular system. There are a number of well-known algorithms designed for this purpose. However, they all work with a fixed number of requests and thus they don’t scale as the system to which the traffic goes scales. My task was to design and implement an algorithm which scales as the system scales. We call this a dynamic rate limiter.

As my background is mainly related to algorithms, I found this project very interesting. I had to create a new algorithm altogether, and this was my first encounter with Java. I learned a lot about how real-life projects go to production and I encountered new technologies and concepts. If that is not enough, I had an amazing mentor.

What was your favorite part of interning at Leanplum?

As a former Leanplum intern has said, when the product is still relatively young, the things you build actually matter and you can see the immediate impact. It is super exciting to work on a real project and seeing immediate results.

Leanplum is a very energetic place. Most of the problems are really interesting and there is no boring work. Being part of that massive scale is great.

I think Leanplum culture is really unique. Not only the little things that we do as big talk dinners, sharing highs and lows, Friday unwinds but also the people in the team.

Meet Aleks

leanplum internship opportunity

Tell us more about yourself.

Hi, I’m Aleks. I’ve had a curiosity for computers from an early age, which led me to start programming in 8th grade. I was instantly hooked. I spent all my days and nights the following summer reading theory, writing code, and asking every programming question possible on the forums. I attended the maths and science high school in my hometown Kyustendil and during those years, I participated in various programming competitions, including the finals of the National Olympiad in Informatics.

Afterward, I went to the UK to attend the University of Bristol where I graduated with a BS in Computer Science. I had just graduated from university when I was presented with the opportunity to do an internship at Leanplum, which I happily took and later translated to a full-time job.

Why did you choose to do your internship at Leanplum?

I heard from a friend that the team was really strong, which turned out to be absolutely true. Moreover, there are some really interesting engineering challenges you can solve in the realms of developing highly distributed systems and machine learning at a large scale.

What project have you worked on during your internship?

I worked on using Machine learning techniques for automatic discovery of interesting user segments for our clients. A segment is a group of people that have some common characteristics, e.g all males living in Los Angeles, that are between the ages of 45 and 65 that have bought an item in the last week.

Such a feature is very helpful to marketers, as it relieves them from the burden of manually going through analytics to see the segments of users that have responded well or poorly to a marketing campaign.

What was your favorite part of interning at Leanplum?

Two things! First, the great people, who made the whole experience lots of fun and were there to share their knowledge whenever I needed guidance. Second, the provided ability and trust to work with interesting technologies that scale in the hundreds of millions of users to ship important features for the company while having a great sense of ownership.

Leanplum is hiring! Explore our career opportunities here.