RC INTERN TALK: From Carnegie Mellon to RedCarpet for Mehar

4th Sep 17

She was one of the few who exceeded our co-founder and tech head’s expectations, in the tasks she was given as a part of the interview. This bright kid with a happy-go-lucky demeanor from Carnegie Mellon University spent about 2 months working closely with the tech team and has a lot to say. Read on to find out how Mehar Sawhney’s experience of working at RedCarpet was.

RedCarpet: Hey Mehar! Hope you are doing good today! For starters, why don’t you tell us a little something about yourself and your career goals?
Mehar: Hey! So I am doing my undergrad at the Mellon College Of Science, at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh. I’m mostly still trying to explore my career options but leaning towards a technical job in the future. I’ve switched majors between Physics, Chem, etc quite a few times now. Most of my friends are convinced I’ll graduate with a self defined major at this rate.. haha, but ideally i’ll be more sorted in some time.

RC: Why RedCarpet? What made you want to intern here and how did find out about us?
Mehar: I found out about RedCarpet from internshala. I remember seeing RedCarpet and I found the work description pretty interesting so I applied. Sandeep just told me on my last day I applied four times, I was completely unaware I did that.. haha. But mostly I was intrigued by the way my interview was held, I found that quite different and interesting. Most importantly the work seemed like it was going to be challenging and professional is what pulled me in the most.

RC: And what was the process of actually landing the internship?
Mehar: The process was sort of like what I said above. It was a coding interview with three tasks, I finished the first two on the first day, and did the last one on the second day. I was super proud when later Sandeep told me a lot of people don’t even get through the first two :P ! Other than that he also said the idea is to test how fast people pick new technologies versus how well they remember things they’ve already learned, that was a cool concept too, very cut to the chase.

RC: Did you like the work? What kind of projects did you work on? Was it what you wanted to do?
Mehar: I enjoyed the work, I had some amazing mentorship. I worked on transitioning the Bank Reconciliation System from manual Excel sheets to a Python version, which directly communicates with the database. I got through most of it, and some of the automation of matchings of the transaction, I was pretty happy with it. I learned not only a lot about my project, but also from Sandeep from observation of how he helps other people, manages everyone’s code, tracks progress, constantly checks for new and better technologies, believes in solving the harder problems rather than moving to an easier solution, but also getting things done. It was pretty much exactly what I wanted out of my internship because the knowledge, real life experience and skills gained are what really count for me.

RC: What were the most valuable takeaways for you, from your stint at RedCarpet?
Mehar: Everyone has something valuable to teach you and that nobody can help you if you don’t help yourself. I learnt how to learn something I’ve never knew before using a bunch of videos, and some experimentation to get it to work. I also learned when it’s important to think about and solve your own problems, but to also realize at what point you’re wasting time and just need to ask for help. I learnt that as much as we’d like, it’s impossible to think of all edge cases and possibilities for ways to break the code, but it’s important to try and account for as much as possible, and be willing to solve and undaunted by problems as they arise.

RC: There must have been some challenges as well? Can you tell us a bit about those?
Mehar: The biggest challenge was, when I got the code, I was supposed to get straight onto the matching bit. To understand the code, I decided it would help to run everything and optimize some stuff here and there. While doing so, when I ran the first bit of the code on the actual database, after a week of playing around with it, I found the uploads were happening incorrectly. This meant there was a problem in the code. As I went through it, logical changes needed to be made and I ended up re-doing nearly all of it. Similar issues came up with the rest of the code as I manually checked it. So I had to backtrack and rewrite big portions of everything. Rewriting code was not the most fun part, but I think my lesson was definitely about how much harder it is to anticipate different scenarios in real life than in a classroom, where you know only a given number of things could go wrong. I also did my best to preserve the old code, and used it as baseline because I know a lot of effort was put into it, and after testing those bits I reused them.

RC: What about the work atmosphere here?
Mehar: I think the work atmosphere is very professional. People are focused and very invested in what they’re doing. They don’t hesitate to stay late and work from home too. The guidelines on coding are also well maintained and progress is constantly tracked. People work because they want to be doing the work they’re doing and that’s the most inspiring part, that really pushed me as well. Since my objective was to work somewhere that teaches me how real life work is, I think Red Carpet provided me a better environment than what most of my friends at very big companies experienced, and I'm very grateful for that.

RC: Did you have fun working here? Any favourite moments that you can share with us?
Mehar: I had a great time working here, partly because I love the intense work at RedCarpet. The fun parts were definitely random things like featuring in the in-house ad and acting like an angry girlfriend... haha. I also really enjoyed the occasional latest tech updates from Hipchat and discussing cool stuff with Sandeep and other people. It was also very interesting to me how I’d get really confident and asked Kartik if it was ok to run the code and in an instant he’d come up with like 5 edge cases I didn’t consider and I’d be back to making my code as idempotent as I could. I learned a whole lot from Kartik’s way of thinking as well. I was just stunned by how fast he thought of things half the time...haha. So yeah these were the fun parts.

RC: What is next on the cards for you, now that your internship has ended? Tell us a bit about your future plans…
Mehar: I’m back in college now, I have two years more for my undergrad degree to finish. I have some plans about where I’d want to be but let’s see if that works out. Probably going to be in America for a while, but I hope RedCarpet keeps growing the way it is and maybe I’ll land up here again!

Thanks Mehar and all the best for your future. It will be great if you joined us in future as well! ss