April 11, 2022

Continuous learning as a TextNow Co-Op

Written by shubh


Continuous learning has become an integral part of our lives as engineers. Now we’re witnessing the doctrine of continuous learning become an economic imperative.

With the current onset of the pandemic, long gone are the days of travelling to a location to make an addition to one’s professional skills. Courses have been made available remotely with just the click of a button.

Here at TextNow, the philosophy of continuous learning is baked into the company’s culture.

When I first joined, in January 2022, I was taken back by the support and encouragement provided by higher management for practical learning on the job. Unlike any other company that I have previously worked with, a co-op student at TextNow is held in the exact same regard as any full-time employee.

My greatest experience of learning on the job at TextNow started with my first project as an iOS developer on the Monetization team where I was assigned with implementing SSV (Server-Side Verification) for GAM (Google Apps Manager). Many of you must be thinking, what does that even mean? So was I when first given the task. A high-level explanation is:  SSV is a way of identifying when to reward users for watching Google rewarded ads. I was completely unaware of the use of SSV and GAM, and had little idea of how to implement it all together, as I was new to monetization of any applications.

While keeping in mind my sprint deadlines, my manager and mentor both supported me in the journey of first understanding my task and then assisting me throughout the process, starting with a quick zoom call to understand the application of SSVs and how to go ahead and implement the new feature. Moreover, they also encouraged me to use any resource at my disposal in order to understand the concept fully before starting work, whether it was asking for extra time, or asking for help. In short, they provided full support and allowed me to educate myself about SSV despite knowing that this would push back some deadlines.

This is the culture at TextNow, where every member of your team is there to support your professional growth and help in any way possible along the way, or as we like to say it as part of our values, “No Brilliant Jerks.”

This may seem like a very small thing when looked at from outside TextNow, however when onboarding at a new company, everyone gets nervous. At the time when you are nervous about meeting new people and whether or not you will live up to expectations, even small actions matter. Throughout my term I have found support from my manager, my mentor, and my peers, who have all made it their responsibility to make me feel welcome.

A new start is rough for anyone and comes with a lot of adjustments that need to be made in the new environment, but when you have the backing of your team, that changes a lot of things. It’s a clear representation of TextNow’s belief in collaboration. For the duration of my work term, I have yet to feel like a co-op student and have only felt like any other employee in the company.

Aside from technical support which was provided by the team, I also received plenty of help from members of the People and Culture team during a personal emergency. I was in a situation where my family needed my support and with no questions asked my manager and members of the People and Culture team sprung to my assistance. I was offered paid vacation as well as the option of ending my term early after conversing with my university (University of Waterloo) about my co-op credit. At any other company I was just a student who was available for a four month work term, there to work on a few side projects and eventually leave to re-attend school. TextNow went above and beyond as a company to facilitate me and my family, allowing me to shift my focus from work completely. I will always stay grateful for the support that I have found at TextNow, despite just being a co-op student.

Editor’s note: If you’re a co-op student, or are looking for a company whose culture puts people over product over profit, come check out our current open positions here!