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Ask an Intern with Theodora Chu (Front Team, Summer 2015)

This post is part of a series of Q&A’s with former Factual interns. Read more here.

Name: Theodora Chu
School: Stanford University
Major: Computer Science, Philosophy
Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

What made you decide on an internship at Factual?
After I got my offer, I had a phone call with the mentors I would potentially be working with. They genuinely seemed to want me to make the best decision for me rather than just trying to convince me to come to Factual. I really value that because it means I’ll receive open and honest mentorship and feedback. Factual also seemed to give me the most freedom with the type of work I would get to do. I specifically asked to work on a full stack team, and they were very accommodating.

Which team did you intern with? Tell us about working with your team.
I worked with the Front Team1. I absolutely loved working with Front. People knew when to be serious, but they also knew how to have a good time. Sometimes my mentor and I would have a jam session in his office or we’d all go out and grab a meal together. I also felt like everyone was really welcoming and really made an effort to help me get integrated onto the team. I never felt like I was asking a “dumb” question or being judged for not knowing something. Everyone was really willing to share knowledge and help each other learn.

What were some of the challenges you tackled during your internship?
I wanted this summer to be more than just learning about how to be a better software engineer. I wanted to learn how to balance work life and personal life and how to integrate into a workplace and learn from the people around me while still being productive. Fortunately for me, Factual made this pretty easy. It’s like a family here, so there’s a healthy amount of working hard, but there’s also a healthy amount of hanging out together. I also found that it was quite easy to continuously be learning from the people around me when they were all so friendly and passionate and willing to share. I still had to make an effort to reach out to people I might not bump into regularly throughout my workday, but it wasn’t difficult to get to know them.

How did your experience working at Factual compare to your expectations going in?
Going in, I expected to learn about a side of software engineering that I had never before touched and maybe also learn a little bit about professionalism or navigating the workplace. I never thought I’d have deep conversations with people hours after others had left, or find myself staying at the office until 11pm playing board games, or discover interests in non-tech fields that I never knew I even had. I never expected to meet such a diverse and fun group of people - quirky, witty, musical, athletic, passionate, intense, chill, sharp, welcoming, food-loving (but who isn’t?), and warm. I thought my expectations going in were pretty reasonable. My experience has far exceeded my expectations and then some.

Share a favorite experience from your time in Los Angeles.
I loved all the easily accessible, live music concerts in the area. There was almost always something going on every week, many of which were free and open to the public.

What new skills or technologies did you learn over the summer?
HTML/CSS, Ruby on Rails, Ruby, AngularJS, Javascript, Haml, and CoffeeScript.

If you have any questions or are interested in being an intern here, please drop us a line at recruiting@factual.com.

1. The Front Team is responsible for the public facing applications of Factual, including our APIs, customer facing products and tools, and our official company website.

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