Once upon a time, I found myself having a crisis of identity about whether Computer Science was really for me. It was my Junior year of college and I had just finished up back-to-back internships at Amazon and Google. Some detached part of me reasoned that I was destined for CS to have played with the biggest players in the tech industry. And yet… what confused me to no end was that I never really truly enjoyed my time at either place.
Enter stage left: Redfin. I am rather relieved and glad to say that working at Redfin this last summer was a completely different experience. Simply put, working together with my co-workers on my team’s biggest project made me feel like a Real Person: I was suddenly entrusted with the sacred responsibility of Getting My Shit Done (pardon the language) in concert with the rest of my team. With deadlines looming and teammates counting on me, for the first time in my internship career I regularly found myself falling into that fabled state of ‘Flow’ as I worked. More than once I found myself at the office past the janitor hour pumping away at a particularly pressing problem.
But beyond the work, what ultimately defined my time at Redfin was that the people here strive to make the office a fun place to work. This is by far Redfin’s greatest Secret-that-shouldn’t-be-a-Secret. Let me provide a few examples: I participated in a office chair sit-a-thon to have our rear ends choose the new chairs for the office. I shamelessly conspired with co-workers to game my team’s regular bug stomp competition (and still lost). On the pretext of someone’s birthday, I organized an ill-fated Nerf gun assault on our rival team. There’s more. But, even after accumulating so many anecdotes, I’ve still found it difficult to put into words exactly what sets Redfin apart. So I’ll leave it at that.
The moral of the story? That an internship with a good team and an even better company has restored my conviction that Computer Science is where I belong.