Name: Derek Showers
Return Path position and team: Software engineering intern on Data Tools team in Broomfield, CO
Education: Computer Science Major with a Psychology concentration, Colorado State University (Fort Collins, Colorado). Expected Graduation: Spring 2016
Walk me through your typical day at Return Path.
Like any productive day, a day at Return Path starts with a cup of coffee, which is brewed fresh from the one of the company’s automatic coffee makers. A short while afterward, the Data Tools team gets together for what is known as a standup. A standup is where the team will go review what all team members did the previous day and then plan out what everyone will be working on for the current day. We call it standup because everyone stands while the discussion takes place, keeping the meeting short and sweet. This is probably the most important meeting of the day; it gives everyone on the team an understanding of what is going on while allowing teammates to express any concerns or road blocks they are facing.
After standup, the productivity begins. Everyone opens up their computers and goes to work in their development environments. Every week we have certain meetings that keep us on track, and make sure that we are looking toward the future. Perhaps one of the most challenging parts of working as an intern is trying to decipher all of the different acronyms and terms that people use during these meetings.
Specifically, my team is in charge of the feedback loops that Return Path operates with email service providers, as well as maintaining the Global Trap Exchange. We are one of a handful of teams at Return Path responsible for obtaining and storing the data that feeds Return Path’s Email Intelligence business.
My responsibilities for this team lie all over the spectrum. Some days I am working on what is known as product support—the technical work that is required to get new partners signed up for our services—to software engineering, where I am designing and implementing features on future products. The day usually carries on like this, with lunch and occasionally a quick ping pong game, until it is suddenly five o’clock and it is time to head home. (The day goes by quick!)
What is your favorite aspect about being an intern at Return Path?
My favorite perk about Return Path has to be the free food. As a college student with a fairly limited budget, the Colorado office’s three-times-a-week catered lunches let me experience all different kinds of food that I normally would not splurge on. (I’ve definitely found some new favorites.) But on a more serious note, I would say one of the best parts about being an intern at Return Path is the ability to explore all facets of the company. As an intern, you are not just limited to the team that you are assigned to. For example, in addition to software engineering, I am very interested in User Experience and this internship gives me the opportunity to shadow and explore these other teams.
What type of advice would you give to future interns looking to work at Return Path?
My advice would be to not limit yourself, talk to everyone around you, and ask questions. There is always someone in the company who has something interesting to say.
What is one item on your bucket list?
To backpack around Europe.