January 18, 2019
In the fall of 2018, I had the opportunity to do an internship at Wish. I worked as an Android developer at their San Francisco HQ. As a part of our onboarding process, we were given $100 USD in Wish Cash to get familiar with the app. So I was in the unique position of being both a user and a developer for Wish.
The app is really easy to get into. Simply make an account, select your gender, and bam you're in. Your feed is initially just a bunch of items that are popular for your gender and geographical area. Then, it's customized to what you like based on what you see, what you save, and what you buy (I think).
Wish is really good at generating recommendations on things that you would like. Within a couple days of casual browsing during downtime at work, it already learned that I like looking at phones, watches, and cool tech gadgets like magnetic chargers. This made it really easy for me to buy stuff that I liked, as well as discover cool gadgets that I didn't even know I wanted!
Buying is pretty standard. Just enter your address and credit card information, and with one click, the order will be placed. Depending on the item, there is regular shipping (that takes approximately a month), and there is express shipping (that typically takes 2-7 days). Express shipping is much more expensive though, so I usually opted for the regular shipping.
The only thing that I didn't like about the app is that you can't delete your browsing history. I accidentally clicked on a questionable item, and then those kinds of questionable items kept popping up for a week or so until the algorithm figure out that I don't actually want that kind of stuff.
I've read online from a few blog posts and social media that Wish items sometimes don't arrive, or that their customer support is terrible. Because I bought so many items (over $150 USD worth of small orders), I got to experience the customer support first hand.
As for the shipping, almost all of my shipments came on time (or even ahead of time). The only missing one that I can think of is my girlfriend's dermaroller. I'm confident that that was because it was shipping to Canada during their postal strike, which wouldn't even be their fault.
As for the customer support, it was really easy to get a refund! I refunded 2 items: my girlfriend's dermaroller, and a duffel bag that had a loose D ring. In the case of the dermaroller, I just opened up the support chat bot and stated that I didn't receive it. It instantly refunded me in Wish Cash, and said that if the derma roller does end up coming that I can keep it (spoiler alert: it ended up coming the next week). The duffel bag was just as easy. I just sent support a picture of the bag, and they sent me a new bag that arrived surprisingly quickly.
The Wish app is a great time killing shopping app, since it recommends you products based on the ones that you show interest in. It's really easy to sign up and buy stuff, and I've always been happy with the delivery and customer support. My #1 recommendation is to add a button of some sort that lets you remove a type of item from your recommendations.
I'll split the internship portion of this post into 2 parts: work culture, and the work experience.
The first 2 weeks of the job were dedicated to onboarding and learning how to navigate the codebase. My mentor assigned me small tasks in different parts of the app so that I would have to go through the app flow and see what the corresponding files were. As we got more familiar with the codebase, they assigned more and more complex tasks to us. By the end of the work term, I worked on things from simple bug fixes, to UI revamps, to new features.
During one of our 1-1's, I told my mentor that I was interested in learning backend development. Sure enough, he assigned me tasks that touched the backend more. I ended up learning how to create MongoDB Documents, write large MongoDB aggregates, create API endpoints, and send push notifications. All in all, working at Wish was a great learning experience where I was given lots of independence.
The culture and the people that I met at Wish were the highlight of my 4 months in San Francisco. My team (product - android) was absolutely amazing, and always made us feel welcome. Each and every one of the full time employees were quick to answer our questions and give us the mentorship that we needed. We were also each assigned a mentor, who assigned our tasks and checked up on us to see our progress. Wish also hired over 30 interns, many from which are from Waterloo.
The culture is very laid back. One of the full times would come in at 8am and leave at 4pm. My mentor would come in at 11am and leave at 6pm, while working from home once a week. I personally worked from 11am to 6pm, and had free dinner and then played pool till 7:30pm or so. There wasn't any pressure for us to work overtime on my team. Any overtime that I did was because I was just really interested in the problem that I was solving. Oh yeah, they gave us free lunch/dinner every single day as well as $200 a month of crepe credits. Every other friday we have a happy hour with an open bar. We also had a kickass holiday party which included an open bar and delicious snacks. I'm surprised I stayed the same weight over the 4 months!
As I mentioned earlier, Wish hires many interns each term. This made it really easy to make friends! Over the course of the term, the interns went on many trips together. We visited iconic places like Land's end, Angel Island, Golden Gate Bridge, and many more. I also met many friends and did things like driving to LA, skydiving, hiking in Yosemite, etc...
Overall, I had an amazing experience. I learned lots of new things on the job, met lots of new friends, and just had a great time in general. If you're looking for a challenging and rewarding internship experience where you can make friends, I highly recommend working at Wish.
I want to give a big shout-out to my mentor Jeff, who did an amazing job of helping and guiding me. Here are some quick highlights: