My Redfin Internship: Chengtao Ji

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I learned about Redfin through its advertisement 7 years ago, which was chosen as listening material for my high school English class. I believe it is truly destiny that leads me to finally join the Redfin family.

At first, I thought as a Real Estate Brokerage, technology might be valued less than typical internet companies here. To my surprise, Redfin applies cutting-edge technologies and is very serious about it. As buying and selling homes is one of the biggest financial decisions made by people, they might be experiencing difficulties or major life changes. By making this experience smoother and more enjoyable, we are really helping people and make their life better.

One thing that I appreciate most strongly at Redfin is code ownership. When I am responsible for a project, people will all come to me for related questions and ideas. It encourages me to explore every aspect possible of my project and learn as much as I can. Through this process, I learned a lot and felt good about it knowing my opinion will be of great importance. I really appreciate Redfin allows us to have this level of authority on our projects.

I also learnt the importance of communication and coordination during software development. In addition to producing code of good quality, communicating with others to gain more information and perspectives is also crucial. At the same time, sometimes people might disagree. The ideas I learnt are 1.it is hard and not worthwhile to make everyone happy, 2.given the authority on what you work on, sometimes you have to say no to someone. Bearing these in mind will make sure you focus on the things that you deem most instead of going back and forth while making compromises the you don’t feel right about.

My project this summer is migrating the Tour Insights Management off the listing detail page (the page that provides detailed information of each property), which will improve the performance of pages and make the testing and maintenance simpler. I dived into React.js and Java Spring MVC, which are the technology that we rely on to serve our pages. Not only I created a new page, I also refactor all the front-end components and the backend validation logic & data flow. It is my first time working on full-stack project. In addition to researching myself, I also received a lot of guidance from my colleagues. People here are very patient and helpful. I also worked on Selenium Automation testing. Redfin really exposed me to different aspects of the engineering stack.

I also participated in the Redfin Hackathon, which is a company-wide week-long event that all the engineers are gathered in the Seattle office and work on ideas that come out from ourselves. I worked on the project Poke Score, which is a score that evaluates how likely people are going to catch a lot of Pokemons in Pokemon Go at Redfin listings basing on the density of PokeStops nearby. It involves creating a new component on the listing detail page and place PokeStops on Redfin maps. I really enjoyed the experience of working with a small group of energized engineers and designers toward a very clear goal. We had a really good time and made a lot of new friends.

During my Redfintership, I learnt abundant technical knowledge and skills. To me, more importantly, I contributed to something that really matters to people. At the same time, I got to befriend and work with many brilliant people. It is my most valuable work experience and I highly recommend Redfin as the place for you to make a difference in the world.

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