As a college senior graduating with a computer science degree, the most daunting decision I faced was which company to join. Although I’ll probably end up working for several companies throughout my career, this first step into the real world will have an outsized impact on my career.
Ultimately, after many interviews and a few offers, I chose DoorDash. Influencing my decision was the fact that I liked DoorDash’s consumer-facing services and had used them myself. I also felt that the fast-paced engineering organization would help me make an impact.
After a smooth onboarding process, I found a few key differences between my college experience and the day-to-day work on my team. For example, unlike most of my college class assignments, not only were my projects at DoorDash much more complex, but they typically have involved multiple team members and at times have been a cross-team effort.
Hopefully by the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding about why I chose DoorDash, my experience working here, and why it would be a great fit for any new grad interested in software engineering!
Although I started working at DoorDash in the second half of 2019, the entire process of applying, interviewing, and onboarding began almost a year in advance.
Going back to October of 2018, I was a typical senior studying Computer Science at Purdue University looking for a full-time software engineering role. One of the things I really looked for in a company was a product or service I use myself, and being an avid DoorDash customer, I was intrigued by the possibility of working there. I researched DoorDash and learned of the company’s rapid growth in 2018. Taking part in that sort of hyper-growth seemed like it would be a really cool experience.
I contacted a recruiter to express my interest in DoorDash and scheduled a quick call so I could learn more about their new grad software engineering opportunities and to go over the interview process. The interview process included an initial HackerRank coding challenge followed by technical interviews with DoorDash engineers, and then a final round which consisted of another technical interview as well as a cultural fit interview with an engineering manager.
Each of my technical interviews were an hour long session with an engineer, with every engineer being from a different team at DoorDash. All the technical interviews consisted of solving a coding question in my preferred programming language. The interviewers were really helpful throughout the interviews and always made sure to answer any questions I had about the coding problem. At the end of the interviews, I was able to ask the engineers a few questions about DoorDash such as what team they work on, what they like about working at DoorDash, and what’s been the most challenging or interesting project they’ve worked on so far. Throughout the interview process, I learned a lot more about DoorDash as a company, the workplace, and the various engineering teams.
A short time after my final interviews, I got a call from the recruiter letting me know they wanted to move forward with an offer. At that time I also had an offer from a much larger tech company, so I was faced with an important decision. After putting in a lot of thought and research as well as getting advice from friends and family, I accepted DoorDash’s offer because the company checked off all the boxes for what I wanted in a full-time software engineering role. Most importantly, I wanted to work on an interesting consumer-facing product in a fast-paced environment while making a meaningful impact.
Onboarding and Dashing
On August 5th, 2019, a date I will never forget, I officially began my professional career as a software engineer at DoorDash. My first week was filled with nervousness, excitement, and just a ton of information as DoorDash did an amazing job in educating new hires all about the company, the various engineering teams, and what it’s like to be a Dasher, the drivers who use our platform to make food deliveries. As part of our company culture, DoorDash highly encourages engineers to make actual food deliveries using the platform; by doing so, we can help to discover friction points or opportunities to improve how deliveries are made.
On my second day of orientation, all the new hires were put into groups and got to spend an hour Dashing around San Francisco at lunch time. My group and I drove around the city as we tried to hit as many hot-spots, areas with a high order frequency, as possible. We were able to get a better understanding of what it’s like to be a Dasher as we got to experience the differences in picking up an order from a small, local restaurant where we had to wait in line and place the order ourselves versus picking up something from a large chain, which had the food already prepared and on a table waiting to be picked up by us.
Life and work at DoorDash
For over a year now I’ve been working as an iOS engineer on DoorDash’s Affordability team, a sub-team under Consumer. We implement business initiatives and incentives that can make DoorDash deliveries more affordable for end users. For example, our team performed the software work that lets consumers sign up for DashPass, our monthly subscription service. Similarly, we recently implemented the DashPass and Chase partnership, an incentive that rewards certain Chase credit card customers.
One thing I really appreciate about the engineering culture at DoorDash is that, even though I joined right after earning my degree, I’ve been able to work on meaningful projects and deploy new features. While I worked on a number of cool projects during my studies at Purdue, there’s something remarkable in knowing that the code I write finds its way into the hands of millions of people. And even though I joined DoorDash fresh from college, I’ve been given the same opportunities to work on meaningful projects and make an impact as any other engineer.
At DoorDash, the projects that I’ve worked on have always involved working with several teammates or people across different teams, whether they are engineers, designers, or product managers. This wasn’t always the case for my projects assigned in college, which for the most part were assignments that were meant to be completed individually by students. I really believe that the emphasis on teamwork at DoorDash has allowed me to grow as an engineer, as I’ve been able to learn something new from each person that I’ve worked with.
Lastly, one of the best aspects about DoorDash’s engineering culture is the freedom we are given. Software engineers at DoorDash are given full ownership of the features that we work on, and we are able to come up with implementation plans as we best see fit as well as suggest modifications to the overall feature during meetings with product managers and designers. This workflow is vastly different from what I’ve experienced in college classes, where we were usually just told to do assignments which had to be done in a specific way.
My first year at DoorDash has been an exciting journey, and I can’t imagine starting my professional career any other way. While we may have been all working remotely for the past nine months, one thing that hasn’t changed has been the amount of opportunities I’ve been presented with to make an impact. Whether it's getting to work on new features for DashPass or helping out the University Recruiting team by interviewing interns and new grad candidates, there’s never been a dull moment. That said, I can’t wait to get back in the office sometime next year and see everyone again! If you’re like me and are looking for a place where you can learn and grow a ton as a software engineer in your first job out of college, DoorDash is definitely the place to be!