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A Peek into the Tech Intern Experience

A Peek into the Tech Intern Experience

Ever wondered what it’s like to be a software engineering intern at Robinhood? We recently met with Matthew Murray, an intern on our Crypto Engineering team to hear all about his technical internship experience. Matthew Murray is a student at North Carolina State University majoring in applied mathematics and electrical engineering. Now let’s get to know Matthew’s experience as a software engineering intern!

Why Robinhood?

I wanted to find an internship that would allow me to combine my interests in finance and technology. After doing some preliminary research, I found Robinhood and several other companies — what separated Robinhood from the others was my experience with my recruiter and the excellent conversations I had with my interviewers. My recruiter was a delight during the entire process; she allowed time for me to ask her questions about her experience at Robinhood and gave me tips on how to be successful during the interviews. I felt supported and valued as an applicant in every interaction with her. The interviews are what sold me on wanting to work at Robinhood. In addition to learning about Robinhood’s positive culture, I learned about some of the teams and projects I would work on. Robinhood seemed like the perfect way to unite my interests in finance and technology.

What does the mission of democratizing finance for all mean to you?

Democratizing finance for all means providing everyone financial market access. In particular, it means giving Black and other minorities access to economic opportunities that they historically have not had access to. Growing up in a traditionally underserved community, I didn’t know much about stocks or investing. One of the best parts of this internship has been learning more about finance and discussing it with my friends and family. Robinhood’s mission statement means solving this problem for everyone by providing a safe and accessible way to participate in the stock market and learn more about finance.

How would you describe the technical internship experience at Robinhood?

My internship has been informative. I’ve learned so much about crypto, web3, and software development in the last few months. While working on my projects, I’ve learned about different types of cryptocurrencies and transactions like swaps and transfers. As for software development, I’ve learned about new tools like Phabricator and a new programming language: Golang.

My internship has been relevant. The projects I have worked on are crucial to the successful completion of the Non-Custodial Wallet build. For example, I worked on the part of the notification feature that allows users to get push notifications when their crypto transactions complete or fail. I’ve learned a lot from working on that feature and appreciate that my team relied on my work.

Lastly, my internship has been engaging. Even as an intern, I am treated the same as any other software engineer on the team. My manager and mentor encourage me to share my opinions on product design, code, and team productivity. For example, during a one-on-one meeting with my mentor, I discussed a way to improve code readability in one of the projects we were working on. Sharing information like this has helped me become a productive team member and gain more knowledge about the product.

What is one project you have enjoyed working on the most this summer?

My team is building Robinhood’s Non-Custodial Wallet, a web3 wallet that lets users trade crypto with no network fees. The project I’ve enjoyed working on the most is the transaction history feature. Transaction history is essential to the wallet experience because it gives users a clear historical view of transactions on their wallets. My project was to build an API that the frontend engineers could use to display the transaction history using two kinds of input arguments. The first input argument is the transaction address, which is unique for each crypto transaction. The second input argument is a combination of the transaction address and coin type.

I started working on this project by looking at examples of what the transaction history looks like for other crypto wallets. I learned more about the lifecycle of a crypto transaction by making my first trade. After I understood what the transaction history should look like, I started designing the API. First, I worked on the API request and response data models. Next, I worked with the frontend engineers to determine what data they needed to display the transaction history. Then, I worked on learning more about the internal service containing this API, so I could understand how I would begin the implementation.

After I finished the design document, I got to present my work to the rest of the team. I liked sharing my choices about the data models and hearing feedback from others on how I could improve the document. Finally, I implemented the changes, tested them, and pushed them to production. Since this was my first project, I learned a bunch about software development at Robinhood such as designing a feature, writing better code through code reviews, and testing my changes. These skills have helped me become a better and more productive engineer.

Why did you decide to go into the software engineering field?

I decided to go into the field of software engineering because I liked math and computers. In high school, my parents got an engineer from MetLife to teach me about binary numbers (base 2). By the end of my lesson, we were talking about numbers in bases like octal (base 8) and hexadecimal (base 16). Number systems were so interesting to me! After I learned that math, I went down a rabbit hole into the world of computers. I learned that you could build simple computers called 8-bit computers that could do a lot of the kinds of calculations I was doing but faster.

Building an 8-bit computer was one of the hardest things I ever did because I didn’t understand why nothing was working, but following the textbook instructions and videos online helped tremendously. By the time I finished, I learned a lot about computer parts like memory and the CPU. Around the same time, I began learning how to program in Python, where I learned how to develop arcade games like Pacman and Asteroids. These experiences are what made me study engineering in college. In college, I learned about software engineering as a career and knew this was the field for me because it combined my love of math and computers. Today, I’m using my technical skills at Robinhood to impact the crypto world positively.

We are always looking for more individuals who share our commitment to building a diverse team and creating an inclusive environment as we continue in our journey in democratizing finance for all. Stay connected with us — join our talent community and check out our Early Talent roles!

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© 2022 Robinhood Markets, Inc.

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