Meet the TextNow 2022 interns: Paul Kokhanov
Editor's note: Every year we like to take time to introduce you to some of the incredible people who join TextNow as interns. We love to catch up and share how their time at TextNow is going with everyone. Read more co-op stories on our blog!
Hey everyone! My name is Paul Kokhanov, I am interning at TextNow as an Associate Android Developer and I’d love to share my experience at TextNow so far.
First, as a brief introduction, I am a second-year student from the University of Waterloo, currently enrolled in Electrical Engineering. In this program, I’m introduced to a lot of hardware related activities, but not as many coding opportunities. Personally, I felt it was very important to expose myself to the world of software engineering – so I began learning Android development with a small project in mind, and slowly learned bits and pieces of app creation in order to potentially land a coding co-op position.
As many students know, the job hunt is a tedious task that requires consistency and good time management skills. I applied for hundreds of jobs, had lots of rejections and lots of ups and downs, but luckily one of the jobs I applied for was TextNow. The interview process with TextNow was very neat and tidy, with all aspects of the interview being handled professionally. Most importantly, the interview itself was enjoyable.
One element of TextNow that immediately stood out to me was the emphasis on making everyone on the team feel included, from me to any other employee in the organization. I have never experienced an internship where there was so much significance placed on meeting everyone. This is a company that lives up to its core values. Having a strong relationship between the other employees and co-ops allowed me to ask any type of question without shying away and feeling isolated. I was intrigued by the idea of working together with others instead of banging my head trying to figure it out myself. Ultimately this environment improved my ability to learn and grow not just as an Android developer but as an individual starting their journey in the workforce.
As much as I enjoy my time at TextNow, being part of the intern program is my favorite aspect. As soon as I started in this role, endless opportunities began to arise. From meeting all the co-ops and networking with each other, to holding weekly meetings with our Recruiting and Learning & Development managers to discuss establishing yourself as a professional in your respective industry. In our meetings, we were exposed to creating your online presence, held Q&As with intelligent employees in different sectors, and even had a nice in person get-together, which was great after the previous year’s lack of social interaction.
What separates TextNow is how hard everyone works to live the company values in everything they do.
Right out of the gate of joining the Android team, I was graciously given tasks to learn best practices and the code base at TextNow. I enjoyed the fact that it was a stress-free onboarding experience in integrating myself with the team. The tasks were scaled for my level of experience, but would slowly increase in difficulty over time, giving me the satisfaction of accomplishing tasks without staring at my computer for days with no progress. Of course, this was due to the fantastic job my mentor and manager did in acclimating me to the work environment and introducing me to the team. I felt so well supported knowing that I could ask anyone for help without feeling like I don’t belong here.
Being an intern, I got the chance to explore various parts of implementing, testing, and maintaining different features of the TextNow app. One included Google’s new Bubble’s feature – it builds upon chat heads and is the more reliable, recommended notification system from Google. Learning how to debug, test, and support this feature forced me to learn how to balance my time wisely in order to continue taking on other tasks all while preserving the needed knowledge to sustain the feature.
Another contribution I’ve made as part of the Android team are my investigations into the application’s performance, specifically the startup performance. There are many ways in which we can test performance, from stack traces to benchmarking, and with user feedback. I’ve experienced all these methods and more while fixing issues and making everything from small changes to significant code alterations.
Throughout my analysis, I learned that one crucial part of maintaining a clean and efficient app is to make sure all code is up to date. This, of course, gets substantially more difficult as the application grows with new features. However, many performance issues can arise simply due to using outdated and deprecated code that no longer is supported. So a key opportunity to enhance TextNow could be converting code from Java to Kotlin.
While I have only worked at TextNow for less than 2 months, the people I’ve met, the code I’ve written, and my experience here has been more than wonderful – it has taught me lessons that I may not have learned otherwise, knowledge I will continue to use in my future endeavors.