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Pintern Life: Divya Karivaradasamy on her Pinterest summer internship experience

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This summer, we welcomed our largest intern class with over 110 Pinterest Interns (Pinterns). Pinterns drive our collaboration, innovation and growth. In this Life at Pinterest blog, you’ll get a sneak peek into the life of a Software Engineer Pintern. Meet Divya Karivaradasamy! 

Hi Divya! We’re excited to learn more about your life as a Summer Pintern. Let’s start with an introduction.

Howdy y’all! I’m Divya Karivaradasamy! I’m a senior at the University of Texas at Dallas, majoring in Computer Science and graduating in May 2023. It’s my eleventh week interning here at Pinterest. I’m on the Core Billing team within Pinterest’s Monetization organization, and my team spans the globe – with engineers from Canada, Brazil, Mexico and multiple states within the United States.

Guide us through your interview process. 

The interview journey started with a coding online assessment, and my recruiter was very transparent and responsive throughout the process. She even sent me a document with tips and technical prep resources! I prepared with practice exams for my coding challenge and studied data structures and algorithms. After I passed the assessment, I had an hour-long technical interview with a software engineer at Pinterest. My interviewer was super friendly – the interview felt less like an examination and more like a conversation as I asked questions and explained my thought process. 

A couple days later, I got a call from my recruiter officially inviting me to become a Pintern! Overall, the entire interview process, from chatting with my recruiter on LinkedIn to receiving an offer, took about three weeks.

Why did you ultimately choose Pinterest?

After the exciting call with my recruiter, I decided to accept my offer with Pinterest. Throughout the interview process, I could sense Pinterest had a transparent, welcoming and fun culture. I loved chatting with my recruiter and even my technical interviewer! I’d also heard great things about Pinterest engineering, and I felt like I could sharpen my skills and grow at the company. It wasn’t long before I signed my official offer letter.

Pinterest recently launched a new work model, PinFlex. How has that impacted your internship experience? 

I had a lot of flexibility deciding my working style for the internship. Pinterest assured me all meetings, onboarding, socials, etc. could be attended remotely. I could choose to work fully remote or in a hybrid capacity from my dedicated office in San Francisco. I took some time to consider what worked best and eventually decided to work remotely from my home in Texas. I wanted the flexibility to connect with my team, while also spending time with friends and family. Even though I’m working remotely this summer, I had the opportunity to meet a couple of my teammates during work trips.

While I was initially concerned about building relationships with my fellow Pinployees virtually, my manager and mentor ensured I felt supported from the beginning. Before my internship began, I video chatted with them to learn more about the team I’d be joining and what to expect. My team gave me such a warm welcome, and this made me more excited to be a Software Engineering Intern. Now that I’ve joined, I’d love to take you through a day in my life!

Go for it! Take us through a day in the life of a Pintern. 

9:00 AM: First, I eat breakfast, and then I log on and catch up on Pinterest news – Slack messages, emails and my trusty Google Calendar. After I get a sense of my commitments, I decide on a couple goals for the day, like: “Update an API endpoint”, “Check in with my manager” and “Clean up unit tests”.

9:30 AM: Today, I’ll be working from my favorite local coffee shop! I pack my bag with my laptop and chargers and drive over for an iced cappuccino.

9:45 AM: Ready for a solid hour of work! I love the “eat the frog” productivity technique, where I tackle my largest, most complicated and pressing tasks first – total focus and concentration. After a good night’s rest, I’ll sometimes crack a seemingly unsolvable bug or energetically start a new task.

10:45 AM: Time for a short stretch break and a moment to take my eyes off the screen.

11:00 AM: Back to coding…by this point, I’m usually untangling a new bug. I hop into office hours with my tech lead to update him on my status and ask any questions.

12:00 PM: Lunchtime! I walk over to the Thai restaurant next door to refuel.

1:00 PM: I head into a bi-weekly planning meeting, including our product manager and cross-functional team members. We first do a retrospective where we discuss accomplishments, questions and areas of improvement. I’m encouraged to voice my opinions! Afterwards, we prioritize new work and organize our upcoming tasks.

2:00 PM: I attend a bi-weekly check in with my recruiter and intern “pod”. We chat about milestones, challenges and questions we have at this point in the internship. My recruiter updates us on what to expect in the week ahead.

2:30 PM: It’s been a busy day already – time for a second stretch break! I take a brief walk outside, and I think through my remaining goals for the day.

3:00 PM: A large block of focus time. I use the pomodoro technique, which intersperses brief breaks, to make progress. As I code, I reach out to Slack channels or ping my mentor to ask questions. When I run into an unexpected solution, I share it with my team!

4:30 PM: In my last meeting of the day, I connect with my new grad buddy. As a former Pintern in my organization, she shares advice about intern life and points me in the direction of growth and networking opportunities, such as Makeathon (Pinterest’s internal version of a hackathon) and Pinterest Pinclusion Groups (internal affinity groups)!

5:00 PM: After driving back home, I wrap up my last few tasks and update my team on today’s progress. Then, I rest after a productive day with some dinner.

What a fun and eventful day! Can you share more details about the projects you’re working on? 

This summer, I’m interning on the Billing Team within Pinterest’s Monetization organization. I’m making improvements to an internal tool used to manage advertiser billing. For my largest project, I created an internal button to tackle a particular, recurring advertiser issue with a single click. We’ve had multiple issues this past month, each requiring back-and-forth internal communication and time to address. My feature directly improves our speed and efficiency in solving the problem for our partners.

I learned so much from this end-to-end project. I became comfortable with my team’s full tech stack and learned our architecture hands-on. I also had multiple conversations with cross-functional teams when we started testing the feature on real incidents. We iterated to perfect the UI, and I worked to understand their needs. The whole process was super collaborative, especially since I pitched my own ideas.

It seems like you’re having a lot of fun at Pinterest, what’s been your favorite memory so far? 

My favorite Pinterest memory was planning and hosting Pinterns Got Talent! In conversation with a University Recruiting team member a few weeks ago, I suggested doing a talent show to learn more about what Pinterns do outside of work. She loved it! We collaborated to bring this idea to life. On National Intern Day, I hosted the event! We had 25 participants and 50 audience members for this spectacular virtual show. We watched interns play musical instruments, dance, create 3D models, do taekwondo and more! I loved creating a space for Pinterns to share their interests beyond work and get to know one another better. It’s amazing that Pinterest allowed me to take initiative and lead an intern event. I find that Pinterest’s culture encourages employees to explore opportunities beyond their team. If an employee has an idea – they go for it!

All Pinterns have a manager and a mentor. What support did you receive from these two individuals during your internship? 

My mentor is a Software Engineer on my team. For the first two weeks, we checked in daily through Slack huddles for 15 minutes to go over any questions. Once I got more familiar with the tech stack, we started meeting more informally whenever I needed to discuss something. He helps me with technical questions and structures my project timeline. My manager and I meet every other week to discuss high-level topics. We talk career growth, Pinterest and feedback. I love asking my manager about their day-to-day and our team’s quarterly goals. This helps me get a bird’s eye view of my team and how my work fits in. In addition to my mentor and manager, I reach out to my teammates for questions. I often connect with a new grad on my team, since we’re both at the beginning of our career journey. We share tips and tricks with each other.

What social events did you attend this summer? 

In June, I attended Knit Con at our San Francisco office! Knit Con is Pinterest’s annual internal two-day conference for inspiration, with employee-led workshops, external speakers and activities. I learned latte-making and attended talks with guest speakers that shared career-building tips and comedy routines! This was my first week in the office, and I loved getting to know other interns and employees. On the last day of my trip to San Francisco, I toured Pier 39 and the Golden Gate bridge with my new intern friends! In July, the Monetization organization hosted an in-person collaboration week. In addition to whiteboard sessions and brainstorming, we had team offsites and socials like participating in an authentic pizza-making class! As part of the internship program, the University Recruiting team also hosted plenty of virtual social events, including trivia, to connect with fellow interns!

As a remote employee, what was it like being in San Francisco at Pinterest’s headquarters? 

I worked from our San Francisco office for two weeks this summer, and every morning, it continued to surprise me. The office is beautiful, filled with art, comfy couches and even video games! My favorite spot is our library on the top floor, complete with board games. Every time I entered the office, I headed to our coffee bar for an iced latte. Pinterest also provides free breakfast, lunch and snacks for Pinployees!

This is our favorite question to end with. What are you currently pinning?

As I enter my senior year of college, I’m pinning outfit inspo! I love how Pinterest has aesthetic filters I can use when searching for inspiration, such as chic, beachy or minimalist styles.

Interested in our internship program? Learn more about becoming a Pintern on our Early Career page.

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