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Interning at Knack

August 15th, 2019


For the past three months, I have had the pleasure of interning at Knack and as the summer is winding down, I can't help but reflect on how great of an experience it's been.

I worked on our new online sessions feature which allows tutors the ability to remotely tutor their participants via a video conference. This feature was integral to get contracts signed for the Fall, hence, there was pressure to create an MVP. For context, my past internship was at a larger public company and the difference was night and day, where at the former I consistently felt alone in my tasks, I always felt I had the support of other engineers and our CTO while developing this feature at Knack.

At the beginning of my internship I was only presented with a need and a little bit of research that was done. R&D still had to be done and proof-of-concepts had to be developed in order to convince David, our CTO, which was the most viable route.

We researched open-source projects to see if there were any libraries that expanded on WebRTC functionality and had infrastructure available that would handle room management, was proven to scale, and had the ability to work with our Javascript-based cross-platform stack. Through this, we found and ultimately decided on an ecosystem of open-source tools called Jitsi, a company previously owned by Atlassian and now owned by 8x8. What mostly caught our eye about Jitsi was their offering of a host-your-own pre-packaged videoconferencing solution called Jitsi Meet which was cross-platform, and the strong community that they had already built.

Researching through Jitsi Meet's open-source code, we found that their project structure was much different than ours and being able to simply rewrite their components and integrate them into our React project was not going to be an easy task and would not work well with the existing infrastructure. Therefore, it seemed as though building around their lower-level lib-jitsi-meet API was the way to go.

I am writing a technical blog post called, "Getting Jitsi With It: Using lib-jitsi-meet to add simple videoconferencing to your React and React Native apps." that talks about what we had to do to create a videoconferencing MVP for our users but since we are consistently learning how to do things better in our implementation I figure I'd save it for post-release.

Talking about my internship from solely a technical level would not do the team or the experience justice, as it was much more than just working on a feature. So, I've expanded on a couple of different highlights of my internship below.

Some Highlights:


  • During my stay in Tampa I lived with a fellow software engineer named Hans, who would code with me in the evenings after work. I became quite good friends with him and his pitbull, Chilly.
  • As interns, we had the ability to work remotely Mondays and Fridays and as someone who ultimately would love for a 100% remote job, this was definitely something I valued. It made me feel that the company not only respected me but trusted me to get work done in a remote setting.
  • David and Dennis are incredible bosses who always are transparent, accessible, and open-minded. Working with not only them two but everyone else on the engineering team was an awesome experience.
  • Weekly Hot Topics is an activity we do two times a week where a team member presents a topic of interest to the entire team. I found these to be really interesting as a whole, and each presentation gave hints to what things mattered to other team-members. Some topics of interests covered were on:
  • I get a kick every time I talk to the business team, they always have a sort-of kick in their step that is contagious and are ready to make you laugh. A big shoutout to the Doyle's, Will, and Samyr for the opportunity to work with them.

Photos


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This was a common post-work scene at Hans' house.

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Dog-O

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David with his favorite employee, Brevillé.

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The view the office had of downtown Tampa, FL (gloomy, nice-for-film day).

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Workstation for the summer.

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Team photo after final intern presentations.