Expedia has been one of several prominent companies looking to coding bootcamps like Coding Dojo to find entry level developers to fill their talent needs. The travel company has even gone above and beyond by expanding their Early Career Program to onboard bootcamp grads and help transition them into junior developer roles.
Recently, Aisha Mathews, Expedia’s Early Career and Programs Recruiter and Deepthi Kondapalli, an Engineering Manager at Expedia, walked a short distance to Coding Dojo’s Seattle campus to share more about the Early Career Program, what they look for in interested candidates and what life is like as a developer at Expedia.
To kick off the Tech Talk, Aisha and Deepthi shared some fun facts on the quickly growing company:
- Expedia is one of the world’s largest full service travel sites, helping millions of travelers per month easily plan and book travel.
- Started in 1996, Expedia will be 20 years old next year – and the company is still growing.
- Expedia takes on new hires and ha them start working on their own projects and positively changing the company in just 3 months.
- Challenges all employees to think in an innovative way and really pushes for each person to add their own value to the company.
- Promotes a culture of openness and sharing between senior and junior developers.
They mentioned if you have any of the following traits, you should consider Expedia as a career choice:
- Passion for tech
- Enjoy variety/changes
- Like evolving environments
- Love to travel
Sound like you may be a fit? Read on to find out more!
Recap: Expedia Q&A with Aisha Mathews and Deepthi Kondapalli
What does Expedia look for in new developer hires?
Expedia does not expect new hires to know everything when they first start out, and offers several resources to help with the onboarding process. There is usually a mentor that guides them through their first three months, along with the team they are supporting. No new hire is going to be given a task they are not able to do, but they will be expected to give it their best effort and have the curiosity and motivation to persevere.
Additionally, each development team works with different languages and different styles each day. It is far more important for junior developers to be flexible than to be an expert in just one language. Expedia is not a fan of standardization (aka, one language fits all). They have a firm belief that if one language would work better for something than another, use it. Engineers are problem solvers and those that can pick up any language and run with it. They need to be able to be flexible with what they are working on and not expect too much consistency.
Q What is the value Expedia expects new hires to add to the company? What are the expectations of them?
Expedia’s Early Career Program has been reignited and is seeking out passionate developers. We have especially been supportive towards students onboarding the program through alternative education, such as coding bootcamps. It is not uncommon for someone to be working here who has not even attended college. For example, some of our principle developers didn’t take the formal education route.
Expectations are that new hires should have curiosity, eagerness to learn, and a drive for problem solving. Within three months they will hopefully be working on their own projects with their teams and making a direct impact for the company. One of our mottos is “fail fast and fail forward”—meaning, it’s ok to fail if you learn something and quickly course correct.
Q What is a typical day in the life of a software developer at Expedia?
It is hard to describe a typical day for developers. They are all doing different things even within the same team. Web UI, web dev, flight search, advertising engineering, etc. Most teams use agile terminology rather than following a strict terminology. Everyone is constantly contributing to all parts of a project. One thing is for sure, it is not your typical 8 to 5 job. It is usually by task and project or up to the team to decide. It is definitely a new, but welcomed experience for many.
Q Is there a certain curriculum the Early Career Program looks for in non-CS grads?
The important thing we focus on is the way we interview. We want to know that you can apply what you have learned and have not just memorized curriculum. We worry less about what happens after the hiring process because if they are the right fit, we are going to be willing to assist them through their first couple months. We check out the curriculum for each school and how the students are brought on.
Q What are Interviews for the Early Career Program like?
During the interview process you are allowed to whiteboard and bring in laptops for the first coding assessment. It is to your benefit to be a great communicator and walk the interviewer through your thought process. Being able to convey your ideas is more important than if you get the right answer. That is why we consider problem solving skills and other options in the interview, beyond just a whiteboard, just because we worry less about getting the correct syntax, like you would worry about while using a whiteboard and more about your problem solving skills.
Q Who assists new hires in their first couple months?
Expedia has advisors that work with new hires, along with a formal mentorship program. There is always somebody more senior who will be there to serve as a mentor. There is also an Expedia Learning Center and a Personality Development Center.
Q What is more important while I’m at school— solving algorithms or building applications?
Both –but learn each one only to the extent of how much it can benefit you. We want to know what languages you are using and if you can explain your thought process thoroughly enough when using them. We worry less about solving algorithms and more about your thought process. You will write code and you are expected to know what you are writing and understand the underlying technical aspects. But we would not give you an extremely difficult algorithm and judge you on pass/fail basis. We recommend having a few algorithms on your portfolio where you show how to solve them and explain each step in your process. It would be helpful to show the applications you built while you were a student as well.
Why does Expedia want students from Coding Dojo? Expedia, along with many other companies recognizes that we set high standards for our students and truly equip them with the skills necessary for the job world. If you want to learn more about Coding Dojo employee partnerships click here.
If you would like to learn more about the Early Careers Program feel free to contact Expedia at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.