The Interns Speak! Inside A Summer Co-Op At TextNow
Hi, I’m Lindsay! I’m a co-op student on the backend team here at TextNow. I study Computer Science at the University of Guelph, and I’m currently finishing up my fifth and final work term. And believe me, that means I’m no stranger to the bittersweet feeling of finally getting used to a place and having my work term come to an end. Before the summer is completely over, I wanted to write a blog post to let people know just how rewarding and beneficial a summer at TextNow really is.
Let’s start with my team — my unique, and not-so-little team. Since joining, we’ve grown so much that we have made a game out of racing each other to meeting rooms in order to save a chair. (You know that saying “you snooze, you lose”? This is more like “you snooze, you stand”.) When the right joke comes along, we race to see who can create the most hilarious and relatable meme. We work closely, collaboratively, and competitively — but most of all, we challenge each other, which allows each person on the team to thrive. My team plays a big role in why I’m so excited to come to the office every morning.
I’m one of two engineering co-ops at TextNow, and also one of the only female engineers. I often feel like because I am a woman in tech I have to mention that I am a woman in tech. I am — and I’m proud of it. There aren’t many of us. What I love is that my team doesn’t care, they treat me like the backend-dev-in-training that I am. Everyday I get to work in an environment that encourages me to grow into the best developer I can be. When I’m not learning, I’m laughing. As the quality of my code improves, the quality of my jokes decline — dad jokes are very prominent on the team.
TextNow puts a lot of trust in its co-op students. Case in point: they let me build an end-to-end production micro service this summer. It’s called Carrier Messaging Monitor, aka CMM (please hold the applause), a Rails application that I built to ensure the messages sent through all the carriers that we partner with are delivered as expected. The micro service runs on a scheduled task in Amazon’s Elastic Container Service (ECS) and sends a text message to test phones that are set up with each of our carriers. Those test phones are also running an android application I developed which listens for incoming text messages and notifies my CMM service of a successful delivery. When we get a response from the device, we know all is well along the entire pipeline.
What is really exciting is that I got to help drive the entire process from inception to production. To summarize, this is a Rails application that’s Dockerized and using a Jenkins Blue Ocean pipeline to build and deploy a Terraform profile to ECS. (Now you can applaud.) Did I use any of these technologies prior to working at TextNow? No, but I sure did learn… with the help of my team of course.
My current project involves assisting in the planning and development of a pretty big re-architecture to prepare for the implementation of some sweet upcoming messaging standards. We want to be a leader in any new messaging platform and we need the right architecture to do it. My piece of the puzzle is to write a new micro service in Golang that will act as the SMTP gateway for the new TextNow platform. Many of our newer micro services are written in Go, and I’ve been looking forward to learning and working in Go for so long!
When it comes to non-engineering perks, I could go on all day. It is easy for someone to get caught up in all the benefits while working at a company. As a co-op, I often fear looking back on a work term and realizing I didn’t learn anything concrete and permanent (other than my foosball skills) because I got distracted. I still get a game of foosball and beach volleyball in about once a week but I am a sponge when it comes to absorbing the feedback I get in order to maximize the improvement of my development.
At TextNow, I can honestly say not a day goes by that I don’t learn an entire grocery list of new things. I challenge myself on a technical and personal level everyday. This is my fifth co-op term and the place I have felt the most myself is right here, so a big thank you goes out to TextNow for fuelling my thirst for knowledge and spoiling me with opportunities to learn.