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Interning at Bench

By Jeff Ling on
Interning at Bench

For the summer of 2014, we invited Josh Conley, a talented developer from Toronto, to be our intern. At the time, since our team of developers was quite small for the amount of things we had on our plate, we needed someone who could hit the ground running and contribute from day one.

In four months, Josh helped completely rebrand our main webpage, created a new beautiful new signup process in AngularJS, wrote an internal node service for sales team tools, and more. He did everything himself with minimal supervision - we had regular code reviews and chats, and that was it. Josh definitely surpassed all expectations and over delivered for us, with his amazing eye for quality and his complete lack of fear in using new technologies. 

Josh kindly volunteered his time to share his experience as a summer intern with us. Below are our questions and his answers. 

What was your role at Bench?

I interned as a Front-End Engineer. I took site and interface mockups and turned them into working web pages and interfaces.

Tell us about the projects you worked on at Bench and the technologies that were most useful in your role.

When I arrived at Bench, I worked on the markup of the new pages for the marketing site. It was an exciting project as the site was taking on an entirely new brand and visual direction. I worked closely with Kyle, Bench’s Product Designer, refining the layout and styles to ensure a consistent design throughout the site. I also had the opportunity to create animations using both CSS and Javascript. When a call to action changed or a new layout was added, I created A/B tests and worked closely with the Product and Marketing departments to measure the effectiveness of each change or addition.

When the main pages of the marketing site were implemented, tested, and finalized, I moved on to a new project that was part of Bench’s main application. The signup form, or Funnel, as we called it internally, was being redone to match the new brand direction of the public facing site. In addition to the new branding, I also rewrote the entire app from Backbone to AngularJS. This project required a variety of animations and transitions from page to page, which presented a unique challenge. Each animation was different and had to be optimized using the most fitting technology. I had the freedom to test and implement different animation techniques, from CSS animations to frame-by-frame image animations.


Tell us how you got here. What drew you to development work, and how did you wind up working for Bench?

I’ve always had a passion for website design and development. Though my current area of study is film, I have worked on numerous web side projects. My latest side project, which I started on before working with Bench, is called Typewrite (http://typewrite.io). I showed this project to a friend in Toronto, and she told me she was friends with someone who works at a startup in Vancouver. She connected me to Jeff Ling, a Software Engineer at Bench, and he told me all of the cool projects he was working on there. When a front-end developer position opened in the summer, I applied as an intern.


How would you describe your day-to-day while working in a startup? Did you settle into a routine, or was it constantly changing?

I looked forward to every day at Bench because there was a variety of challenges and a fast paced environment. Despite this, after my first couple of weeks I felt settled and comfortable working in Bench’s trendy office. I’ve always wanted to work at a startup to see if it’s really all it’s made out to be: modern, fun, challenging, fast paced, and constantly evolving.  As soon as I arrived, I could immediately tell that Bench fit that description. I spent the majority of each day working on a single task, but often would work with the Product and Dev teams to improve smaller projects.

What was the culture like amongst the Dev department?

Despite being small, the Dev team plays a central role in the development of Bench as a whole. The team is focused, hard-working, intelligent, and most importantly friendly and open to discussing any ideas or challenges. Being a part of such a talented group of people was inspiring and rewarding. I’d learn from them, and I’d use that knowledge to develop the Bench website and main app.

What did you like most about living in Vancouver?

Vancouver is awesome in so many ways. The hikes in the mountains, fresh air, friendly people, and incredible scenery were just a few of the things that made Vancouver a great place to live.