“We liked what we saw today and we’re ready to make you an offer.” I still remember hearing Yuri, one of the co-founders of AeroFS, tell me that after a grueling full day of interviews at their office this past January. A lot has happened since then, and now I’m almost finished with my summer internship there. But looking back on my experience I can now confidently say that I know I picked the right company to intern with this summer.
My first day at AeroFS was a flurry of activity. In the morning I had a meeting to figure out what I would start working on, at least for the next few weeks or so, and after that I spent the day getting my computer set up and beginning to sift through the code base. I remember feeling completely overwhelmed; I was thrown head over heels into a new codebase using a framework I wasn’t familiar with and given a task to do using that framework within that codebase. But all the other engineers were very understanding as I got up to speed and were always willing to answer any questions that I had. After a few days that feeling of being overwhelmed started to fade, and as I began to feel at home in this new codebase my productivity went up.
AeroFS has a lot of different perks that I’ve able to take advantage of during the time I spent here. By far the biggest perk though, in my opinion, is that lunch is provided for us every day. We generally eat lunch as a group which leads to a lot of interesting conversation, and our group lunches are a great midday break that we all take together. We’ve gotten to do a lot of fun activities outside of work too, like spending a day renovating a house in East Palo Alto for Habitat for Humanity or going to barbecues together at Yuri’s place.
I think my favorite features of AeroFS as a company to work for are the people who work here and its flat organizational structure. All the engineers here are absolutely brilliant, and in every conversation I have with them about technology I feel like I learn something new. The other day, for example, a few of us were talking about old desktop processors, and one of the other engineers explained to me why branch misprediction on the Pentium 4 was so costly compared to other processor models (to keep you from having to look it up, it’s because the processor’s pipeline was much longer than it was in most other processors at the time). Because the people here are all awesome, the flat organizational structure in use works really well too. From interns to the CEO, everyone’s voice is heard and everyone is free to join in on discussions about any aspect of the company. This structure is great for a company the size of AeroFS, and I think it allows us to stay nimble and make better decisions as a whole.
My experience at AeroFS was very different from the experiences most of my friends in software engineering internships had at the companies they worked for. I was given real responsibility throughout the summer to build something important. If my work began to slip the company would suffer because the ship date for the product I’m working on would be pushed back. And while this was a little bit stressful, it replicates what working at a startup would really be like and was probably my favorite part about this internship. Because the interns are all working on projects that are critical to the company I always felt like we were treated with the same level of respect as the full time employees at AeroFS, and for me as a 19 year old working with people who are much more experienced than I am this was a pretty big deal.
I went with my gut in picking AeroFS. I liked the people here the best of anywhere I interviewed, but I didn’t know a huge amount about our product or our market going into the internship and had no objective way to compare what my experience here could be compared to what it could be at another company. But looking back on the past three months I spent here I think my gut was right.
Roneil Rumburg is an incoming sophomore Stanford Student and interned at AeroFS this past summer. He asked us whether he could blog about his experience, and we were happy to oblige