My PM Internship Experience at HackerRank

In May 2021, I joined HackerRank as a Product Management intern for 3 months. Here’s what my experience was like. Lookout for the FAQ section at the end if you are thinking of applying.

How It All Started

In April 2021, while searching for a PM internship, I was reminded of the 2020 winter interns page I had seen. HackerRank seemed to be an amazing place to work at. I didn’t waste any time and looked up if they had any product intern openings. Sadly, at the time they didn’t. Having used HackerRank products in the past, I was inspired by the impact made by the company and wanted to leave no stone unturned to get myself a chance to work there. That’s exactly what I did. I messaged the product team to give me a shot, interviews happened and I was in, in 14 days! Kudos to the recruitment team for speeding up the process. You can apply for the position here.👇

The interview process was one of the best I’ve ever had. It was based entirely on the deck I had made suggesting improvements in the HackerRank product. We discussed why I chose the particular pain points and how I would work on those pain points if I were a PM for that product. It was more like a conversation where we discussed ideas instead of me just being questioned left and right. I was also very lucky to get actionable feedback towards the end!

The Work

Since the work of a PM varies depending on what stage the team is at, I will summarise what I did in the entire internship generally.

  1. Each task started with a problem statement that my manager shared with me. In my case, I worked specifically on the Interviews product and the problem statement was usually related to user experience, user interface, adoption or expansion.
  2. If the problem was based on UI or UX, I spent time discussing the problem with the design team and how we can solve it with minimal effort. Once we came up with a solution, we would finalise designs. The best aspect of this was that we always tried to make data-driven decisions.
  3. Then came the part where I collaborated with developers and looked into the feasibility and execution of the ideas. This is where solutions saw the light of the day.
  4. If the problem statement was based on adoption or expansion, I worked with the product analysts, to get the required data to make the right conclusions for the root cause and the solutions. This kind of problem statement also involved understanding the users better and looking through their perspective.
  5. I took part in calls where we got feedback directly from the users. We discussed how they use the product and how we could make it better for them.

I also got a chance to be a part of the half-yearly product strategy discussions which gave me more insights into the future plans of the company. This was a 5-day long stay (strict Covid prevention measures were taken) with the team where we worked during the day and at night we attended awesome presentations. It was quite a memorable experience since I was able to meet everyone and know them personally.

Overall Experience

For me, the whole internship was a good learning experience. I learnt a lot by making mistakes, having hours and hours of discussions with my manager and attending meetings. The simple act of attending, listening and contributing in the meetings taught me so much about the product and the company. HackerRank was kind enough to let me learn things the hard way and I really appreciate this.

A unique thing was that Hari (The Co-Founder and CTO) spent hours at length every week on Friday to chat with the interns. It was a fun interaction where all interns shared their progress over the week and discussed how we could move faster with things.

Another engaging part of the internship was the weekly product interns meeting where we discussed the solutions to interesting product problem statements. We discussed problem statements based on product strategy, product suggestions and market entry. This was also a fun way of learning and getting feedback from the experienced folks.

Overall, I had an AMAZING experience working at HackerRank and I am extremely grateful for it. The work was something I was excited to wake up for everyday. I don’t think I can describe it any better. 😄

Frequently Asked Questions

Ever since I joined HackerRank, I have been getting a lot of questions about the internship. So here are the most frequently asked ones along with my answers:

When to apply?

Keep an eye on the HackerRank careers page.

How to apply?

The application process is quite simple: Read the entire job description ➡️ Make sure you align with it ➡️ Upload your resume along with other personal details ➡️ Wait. The resumes are reviewed by the teams and not by an algorithm, so be patient.

What is the interview process like?

In my case, the interviews were entirely based on the product I was going to work for if I got selected. This might change over time.

What is the work like?

I have already described that in the preceding paragraphs.

How is the work culture?

TOO GOOD. The people are amazing. Everyone is motivated to learn and execute which is extremely inspiring. The best part is how open everyone is to feedback and questions. Interns (in fact, everyone) are encouraged to ask as many questions as they can and the saying “No questions are stupid” is taken quite seriously.

What does the learning curve look like?

It is VERY steep. HackerRank genuinely cares about their interns and makes extra efforts to make sure the interns have a worthwhile experience whether it is regarding the learning or the workload or the fun aspects of the internship.

Hi there! Thank you so much for giving this blog a read. You can reach out to me via LinkedIn for any queries or for a small chit-chat. 💬

I love to explore a lot of different things | milonimittal.github.io