We asked a few questions to some of the SurveyMonkey 2016 interns about their experiences. Here are their responses..
Catherine Johnson, Rising Senior at University of Washington
How did you find out about this internship?
I first found out about this internship at my school’s internship fair when I talked to some employees at the SurveyMonkey booth. After having a pleasant conversation with someone at the booth, I gave them my resume and a day later they contacted me for an interview. The interview process itself was very straight forward. My future manager and I just sat and talked about my experiences, what I knew about the company, and solved a few problems such as constructing a method that converts ascii characters to integer values. The interview even went a little over time because we were having such a great conversation. In the end it was a great experience for a process that tends to be surrounded in anxiety.
Machine Learning at SurveyMonkey
SurveyMonkey collects around 3 million responses each day, which has amassed into an extensive treasure chest of structured and unstructured survey data over the years. While the raw data has been analyzed and processed for the SurveyMonkey data businesses—Benchmarks and Audience—we’ve only just begun to perform more sophisticated statistical machine learning on the data. More specifically, some of the problems we are currently tackling are in the area of natural language processing (NLP) such as:
For those of you interested in what’s under the covers here at SurveyMonkey, here’s an overview of our tech stack and architecture.
For most of SurveyMonkey’s 16 year life, the website was a monolithic application written in C#, sitting atop a single SQL Server database. Six years ago, for reasons that were as much logistical as technical, we realized that we needed to re-architect the system. We decided to replace the monolith with a Microservice Architecture. This bought us a couple of nice benefits:
Three big events have set the course of our company, SurveyMonkey, and with it, our long strange trip in Engineering. The first event occurred in 1999 when our founder, Ryan Finley finished the 1.0 version of SurveyMonkey. 7 years before Fred Wilson and Jarid Lukin popularized the term “freemium”, SurveyMonkey was born and became one of the “freemiums” best case studies. Ryan and his employees doggedly pursued our customers with a simple model: build features that customers want, tweak, brush and polish until it’s easy to use, and then rinse and repeat.