Leyla Yazdan

  • Bachelor of Computer Science student at the University of British Columbia
  • Spent 12 months at Hootsuite (September 2016 – August 2017)
  • Worked on our Dashboard and Self-Serve (aka Volume) teams
  • Worked with React, Redux, Go, PHP, JavaScript, React Native, and a bit of Scala
  • Helped with Product Management tasks
  • Connect with me on LinkedIn

My Contributions

  • Contributed to our Notification Center through building React components and integrating them with a Go backend
  • Implemented a number of experiments (A/B tests) into the codebase and Optimizely. Including experiments on the new plans pricing, a scheduled messages paywall, reskins to our plans page and create account billing pages, free trial offers, and guide downloads on our blog pages.
  • Contributed to our new Billing Account Management and Downgrade Flow through building React components and spinning up a new Go service
  • Wrote up an engineering guide on setting up a new Go service from experience
  • Contributed to integrating Instagram Business into our product
  • Worked on moving LinkedIn users to OAuth2 token
  • Helped with our Pre-Populated Streams feature
  • Worked on Mobile Random Coffee during a Hootsuite Hackathon and Friday hack time
  • Spearheaded adding Interana tracking and making Interana boards for new features, experiments, and functionalities
  • Conducted a presentation/workshop on utilizing Interana
  • Worked closely alongside Product Manager and helped with Product Management duties, which included: writing stories for product and experimental initiatives, leading backlog grooming sessions and sprint planning, leading meetings with stakeholders to discuss design, product initiatives pipeline and product implementation strategies, and ensuring backlog of tickets on JIRA was organized in terms of priority.

My Experience

I am so lucky and grateful to have had my first application for a Software Developer position land me a job at Hootsuite. It’s been an amazing year where I have developed immensely as an engineer and in my career. I started here not knowing any of Hootsuite’s core platform languages: React, Scala, Go, and PHP. However, I quickly started picking up skills in these new languages from doing some tutorials, picking up tickets and working in them, and getting help from my colleagues. I started here on a great team, the Dashboard team, and we got straight into building a new key feature for the product, the Notification Center. This was an amazing experience to be a part of because I got to witness firsthand the software architectural and database schema decisions that go into starting a new feature. The fact that I was trying out Go for the first time alongside the rest of my team also made me feel more comfortable about my lack of knowledge and experience. Because of that I got to quickly learn about the benefits and drawbacks of different programming languages from my colleagues. I also significantly increased my frontend development experience while working on this feature. I built reusable React components from scratch in a Redux framework. Building these components was super rewarding because not only did I learn a lot and enjoy it, but I can easily point out to people what I worked on and built on the Hootsuite product. As we launched the Notification Center to 100% of our Enterprise users today, I felt immensely proud to have been a part of that and have some of my code facing these users.

After my first term here, Hootsuite had a re-org and with that I moved to a new team where I would be working on quite different things in several areas of the product. Though I was sad to say goodbye to the Notification Center and some of my team members, I was excited to be a part of a new Hootsuite team and gain more exposure to new skills and experiences. It was like starting a new Co-Op but in the same company. Our new team, Self-Serve (aka Volume), worked primary on billing features and on conducting experiments that would generate more revenue, promote user activity, and encourage our free user base to upgrade to paid plans. Unlike the Notification Center that was primarily built for our Enterprise users, this new team concentrated on our Self-Serve user base. Having this different experience was greatly rewarding because I got to witness two areas of the product’s business and the differences between them. On this new team I got introduced to the concept of A/B Testing, which involves conducting experiments where we display different variants of product changes to our user base and examine if any of the variants push the needle in terms of revenue, activation, or engagement. Some of the experiments I worked on was our new pricing for our paid plans, the scheduled messages paywall, the reskin on the plans page, the reskin on the create account billing page, a 60 day free trial offer, and the changes to our blog pages that encouraged users to download a guide. Working on experiments is thrilling because you get to see the immediate results of your work. It was great to see that this new feature or change I contributed to brought in this amount of revenue or sparked this much more activation. I am grateful to have experienced that instant gratification of contributing to Hootsuite’s business. On this team, I also worked on incorporating other new features into the product, including a newly improved and user friendly Downgrade Flow, Pre-Populated Streams, and the integration of Instagram Business as a Hootsuite supported social network type, amongst other things. I got to spin up my first service in Go with the help of my colleagues. Since Go is relatively new to Hootsuite, there was no guide or direction on how to spin up a Go service. As a result, I decided to use that experience to write up a guide that now lives in our Confluence pages, which you can find here.

So overall, I’ve been given the opportunity to work on a vast set of different engineering projects and product initiatives at Hootsuite. I’m grateful that the work here has continuously challenged me, enhanced my skills and learning, and enabled me to create awesome features in the product that contribute to our growth. Many companies, especially ones at at the size of Hootsuite, normally don’t have interns push a lot of code on to production but that’s something I got to do multiple times a week. I got to work on the same tasks as everyone else in my team, including our senior developers who have been amazing mentors to learn from. As a result, I recommend Hootsuite as a great company to work for to any engineer.

Hootsuite also really encourages career growth, even if you’re a Co-Op! In one of my 1-on-1’s with my Engineering Manager, I expressed interest in Product Management and potentially wanting to move into a PM role in my future career after spending a few years as a developer. Upon hearing this, he immediately got me working alongside my team’s Product Manager to enhance my knowledge of and experience in the field. As a result, my role at Hootsuite expanded to working on product management duties on top of my engineering ones. These tasks included: leading meetings on new product initiatives with different stakeholders, leading sprint planning and backlog grooming sessions in my team, writing up complete user stories, and ensuring my team’s product backlog in JIRA was organized in terms of priority. Having this experience has reaffirmed my desire to move to Product Management in my career after being a Software Developer for a few years, and it is amazing that I attained this reaffirmation during my Co-Op. I couldn’t have done it without the support of my Engineering Manager, my Product Manager, my team, and the culture of Hootsuite that promotes career growth and stretch programs to try different roles, on top of treating Co-Ops the same as every other full-time employee.

Speaking of Hootsuite’s culture! I can’t even begin to describe how rewarding it is to work here just because of the great culture. I’ve experienced both the Christmas retreat and HootCamp in the summer, both of which were amazingly fun and enjoyable. In addition, we have Social Friday events every Friday. Lightning Talks. Team lunches. Team events (my team went Go-Karting for our event!). Board game nights. Ping pong. Fussball. We are bombarded with so many food treats every week that we have a slack channel just for treat alerts. So be prepared to gain a few pounds while working here. In general it’s an incredibly fun and enjoyable environment to be a part of and work in.

(TL;DR) In conclusion, Hootsuite has been an awesome place to work at and grow. I’ve immensely improved my development skills and reached new heights in my career in software engineering and product management. On top of that the culture is amazing, the people are friendly and extremely helpful mentors, and even the CEO is really down-to-earth and great to talk to. I’ve been here for a year and I would stay longer if I didn’t have to complete my degree. So I highly encourage anyone who wants a great Co-Op experience and a great company to work for to apply to Hootsuite.