Togetherness on Three by Kent Kober
My name is Kent Kober and I am one of six product development interns for Quicken, working out of the Menlo Park office. I am a rising senior at Northwestern University. I have spent the past six weeks working on the Quicken for Mac product.
When I accepted the offer to work for Quicken for the summer, I finally learned exactly what I would be doing over the summer. I learned that my job would involve building and debugging features in the Mac product. I learned that my code would ship to millions of users, or rather, my bugs would be visible to millions of users. Before Quicken, I had never worked on production code; my work had been mainly comprised of hacking together school projects until they passed the tests given. I made code that I was too embarrassed to show to my friends. People paying to use my code seemed laughable. Needless to say, I felt in over my head.
I know that “imposter syndrome”, the feeling that you’re under-qualified for your job, is quite common and especially prevalent in the product development industry. I knew that everyone feels this way, and that I should believe in my skills as a developer. I have coded iPhone applications, and spent three years at college learning how to problem-solve. Nevertheless, I was going into an internship, working with a language I’ve never touched, and on a well-known household product. I had a lot of studying and preparing to do.
At the beginning of June, I completed my junior year at college and started my internship at Quicken. On my first day, all of my worries and doubts melted away. My team was very welcoming and wanted to help at every turn. My mentor, Lane, helped set up my computer. Another team member, Matt, talked me through the development. Then a third team member, Eric, walked me through my first bug fix.
I learned quickly that software development at Quicken is treated as a team sport, rather than sectioned off into individual achievements. Everyone on the team is building a better product, rather than building their own personal portfolio of features. In college, it is easy to think that a group project is destined for failure. Working with a team is dreaded almost as much as waking up for an 8 am class. However, at Quicken, the team truly brings out the best in each individual.
The past six weeks have flown by faster than I could have imagined. I have met many amazing and smart people, and have learned more than I thought possible. I’ve learned that mistakes aren’t failures. Each misstep is an opportunity to improve and learn the product better. It has been a wonderful ride and I can’t wait to see what the final few weeks have in store!