What I learned as a Crowdcast intern

This week we say goodbye to our summer intern, Luke Chui. (You might recognize him from our weekly Q+A events.) Since we like to share what we're learning, we thought we'd ask Crowdcast's first intern to do the same.

Over the past 13 weeks, I had the opportunity to live independently in San Francisco, work closely with the startup/tech community and work at what the CEO himself calls an “anti-startup startup.”

I was hired as a backend engineer to work on a variety of technical tasks related to server architecture. But I was also fortunate enough to touch the entire code base, product-related tasks, marketing, and at times, even customer support. Working at a small-yet-extremely diverse company has given me insights far beyond engineering. Here are some of my biggest take-aways from my internship.

Engineering

I already had one prior internship before Crowdcast. But, frankly, I was still a very junior engineer. Luckily my boss, Dylan Jhaveri, was kind enough to roast me about 300 times and bless me with knowledge of JavaScript tricks, proper coding practices and overall, full-stack development.

The technical skills I picked up as an engineering intern were some of the largest take-aways—but I also learned a lot about strategy and workflows.

Working for a small, flat organization allowed me to work closely with the product itself and engage with the whole code base. That taught me more than just the languages and frameworks. I also learned the reasoning behind why I was building a certain feature and the market-driven decision-making process behind each feature's design and functionality.

Crowdcast follows an efficient Slack + Git + Trello workflow—so efficient that I have actually started to implement the same workflow in the development teams at Bruin Entrepreneurs and LA Hacks (organizations I am part of at UCLA, check them out ;)

For those who want to know exactly what I was working on: I dealt a lot with Promises, building a structured Node-based server architecture, modularizing and improving my testing, to name a few. Many of my projects (expanding event host analytics, password-protected events, REST endpoint development and a few others in the ChangeLog) required me to build out pieces on the front end, too—which allowed me to pick up AngularJS/Jade and work on the design for some user-facing features.

Culture

Crowdcast has a flat hierarchy and family-like atmosphere, unlike most startups in the industry that follow the tech-startup stereotypes of being a little fratty, corporate and “agile.”

The flat hierarchy allowed me to connect with everyone in the company, which is something that you can't do as easily at a larger company. For example, I can look across the room and ask Cy about some design changes, or turn my head to the right and ask Julia about her thoughts on this blog post.

No one was more excited to get Crowdcast's first hoodies than Luke.

Conversations

The Crowdcast team, although small, is comprised of a very diverse group of individuals. Since everyone on the team comes from such different backgrounds and has different perspectives, the conversations I had with members of the team were not the typical conversations you have with people from Silicon Valley (where I grew up).

Therefore, I think it's about time for me to give some shoutouts to the people of the Crowdcast Team:

Cy - Shoutout to you for giving me insight on how to build Crowdcast, and for teaching me different methods of building companies for different markets and many core design principles.

Dylan - The entire Engineering section, aka too many roasts to get a shoutout.

Ryen + Julia - Shoutout to you two for showing me the ways in social interaction with customers and proper usage of marketing techniques and tools.

Math + Christophe - Shoutout to you two for the fun team jams and working on some features together.

Laith - Shoutout to you for being a dope designer and talking about finance with me.

Hardware

Now, before I finish this article, there is one last thing I need to say:

For the people hosting a crowdcast, always check your camera and mic set-up before going live to protect yourselves from all potential hardware issues.

For those of you reading who are looking for summer internship, I highly recommend you apply to Crowdcast. I can say with conviction that working at Crowdcast will make you a better developer and a better person. — Luke

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