Code With Geektrust: Intuit Exclusive Edition
Saturday, 04 June 2022 | Zoom Online
Last November, we teamed up with Intuit India for their first-ever dedicated hiring event. Eleven hours of coding and a flurry of interviews later, we found new engineers to join the already 1000-strong community of engineers building products and platforms that help consumers and small businesses overcome their most important financial challenges.
This month, we’re back with a new hiring challenge whose successful completion will guarantee you an opportunity to be part of a global technology platform company that’s powering the prosperity of more than 100 million customers around the world through their AI-Driven expert platform strategies.
The event will recruit engineers for the Consumer Group and Platforms team, focused on building world-class products and platforms that help millions of customers make smarter financial decisions. They deliver innovations in a SaaS, connected and mobile environment for their flagship product TurboTax, a leader in the do-it-yourself tax filing category serving 50 million consumers; and Mint which is helping 20 million customers track their personal finances; as well as building AI-driven platforms that power lines of business such as TurboTax Live.
Intuit’s reputation precedes itself – their vast and progressive technology stack, inclusive and impactful teams, collaborative and integrity-focused culture, and industry-leading compensation, perks and benefits all contribute to them being one of the most aspirational tech companies to work for. They employ over 14,000 employees across 20 offices worldwide and have clocked $9.6 billion in revenues to date.
We spoke to a number of Intuit employees, from new joiners to team leads, staff software engineers to talent acquisition specialists, to uncover the inside story of why Intuit is an undisputed Great Place to Work.
If the Shoe Fits
What kind of developer does Intuit look for? Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist, Rissey Babu, says that the right engineer is one who is a close fit to our Intuit values in addition to their technical prowess.
The latter is fairly straightforward, according to Rissey, “A candidate should be able to demonstrate a strong understanding of the technicals, skilled at problem-solving, able to communicate their ideas effectively, and write clean and methodical code. If the fundamentals are in place and the candidate demonstrates a willingness and ability to learn, then they are a good fit. At the end of the day, tech can be taught, mindset cannot.”
The former is more nuanced, he says. “Intuit places huge importance on a value system that is in line with the organization’s ethos and this is often the main differentiator for successful candidates.
Our values keep us grounded in the most important areas that define who we are and how we operate – internally and in the outside world. We have five core values.
- Customer Obsession. We fall in love with our customers’ problems and sweat every detail to deliver excellence. It is at the heart of everything we do and pertains to not only the end-users of our products but also our internal teams and departments – we consider them all our customers. A keen understanding and empathy of their needs should be the backbone upon which every decision is made.
- Courage plays a key role as well. We want our engineers to be bold and fearless in their thinking and actions. While holding a high bar for performance, we value speed and have a bias for learning and action. However, this is not to be misunderstood as a “my way or the highway” approach; flexibility and an ability to listen also demonstrate courage to us. It is an ability to defend your ideas with data, push back when justified, as well as be flexible and open to other approaches and opinions.
- Stronger Together relates to how we thrive on diverse voices to challenge and inform decisions. Because we champion a diverse, inclusive and respectful environment as part of our core values, we’re able to work together, across geographies and deliver exceptional results. Every individual is important at Intuit and it’s integral that each person’s value is recognised and nurtured. Success can only be arrived at collectively and the ability to work alongside each other, during both agreements and conflicts, is of paramount importance to us.
- Integrity without Compromise is one of our foundational values. We value trust above all else – doing what is right even when no one is looking because it is the right thing for the company, our fellow team members and our customers. We expect our employees to speak the truth and assume best intent.
- We Care & Give Back is our other foundational value. At Intuit, we are committed to being the stewards of the future and strengthening the communities in which we work and live. It is deeply rooted in our culture and is reflected in the many ways in which our employees give their time, talent and resources to further their passions.
While the company is consistently lauded for its technology, culture, and work-life balance, Dishi Mittal, a Software Engineer 2 with two years at Intuit, says what has really stood out have been the growth opportunities she has been offered since day one.
“I joined as an intern through Intuit’s Women Who Code program and was part of a four-member team, three of whom were interns. We were tasked with exploring ways to unify the company’s product-to-user communications that, at the time, were being handled by each product team individually. Intuit wanted us to speak with the various teams, understand their customers’ needs and figure out how this could be done in one unified voice across all their products.”
This led to her and her team members interacting closely with colleagues across teams and seniority, eventually leading to OINP – the One Intuit Notification Platform.
“We were asked to speak with all our clients – which for this requirement were the product teams for whom we were designing this unified platform. So, TurboTax, Mint, QuickBooks… We sat down with them, ideated, explored their individual use-cases, even wrote code, tested, took changes into production, and iterated. We got to be a part of the entire process alongside each product team. It was such great exposure because we got to interact with so many different teams and also connect with their PMs and VPs – and we were just interns!
I knew then that I just had to work at Intuit full-time. Having watched it grow and evolve has been incredible. OINP is quite special to me now. ”
Today, OINP is a forty-person strong team and operates all of the communications that Intuit sends out to customers across products and via a range of different channels.
Rissey adds that another lesser-known reason why Intuit is such an empowering place to work is the impact that engineers drive out of their Bangalore office, “Often candidates wonder if the Indian office of a global tech company will be leading development – at Intuit the answer is a firm yes. We take full ownership of design, development and deployment while, of course, collaborating with product lines and teams across our various geographies.”
Shekhar Dokania, a Staff SE who’s been with Intuit for over three and a half years, says that the company’s mentorship culture has been what was most rewarding to him. “Both receiving mentorship when I first joined and being a mentor today has been a real eye-opener. It taught me how to scale beyond just my work and become a force-multiplier for the organization. I’m a pure tech guy and mentorship is what really helped me understand and integrate into the culture here.”
Shekhar also explained how his approach to problem-solving has changed since joining the organization, “My prior experience was in start-ups, where the primary focus was on speed – how fast can you solve a problem and just get it out there. Here at Intuit, it’s not about just getting it done but getting it done right. Getting it done in a way that delights our customers. We’ve got a loyal customer base and they expect a certain standard of quality and operational excellence from us so delivering an optimized experience with clean code is vital. This was definitely a huge mindset change for me.”
Intuit During The Pandemic
We wanted to find out how Intuit handled the last two uncertain years and what policy and operational changes they implemented to deal with the situation.
Rissey speaks to both the pros and cons of an entirely virtual hiring process, “It has been a constant process of evolving and adapting to the situation. Previously all interviews were in-house and face-to-face. The candidate had the opportunity to visit our office, meet their new colleagues, view the campus, get a coffee in our cafeteria – small but important ways for them to feel comfortable. So there are aspects to the old way that we miss, no doubt about it.
However, there are also many areas where technology has done a good job of filling the gaps and, at times, even improving the experience. The process has become much more accessible and allowed us to connect with more candidates – there’s no need to travel vast distances and brave Bangalore’s infamous traffic for your interview anymore. Today, you could interview with us from Mars!”, he laughs.
“So, it’s about making the best of a difficult situation and the fact that we’ve been able to hire over 250 people in the last two quarters alone shows we’ve been successful at adapting to this new paradigm.”
Danish Ahmed Ansari, Senior SE (iOS) and Bangalore’s Tech Lead for Mint – the financial platform and marketplace that uses data science and ML to generate insights into your financial behaviour – joined during the pandemic and has worked virtually the entire time. On the efforts the company makes to ease the transition for new joiners, he says, “Unlike many other companies that just sent their employees a laptop, Intuit wanted to replicate the office set up as closely as possible. We were given a budget to go out and purchase what we needed to work from home without impacting our health. A proper desk, ergonomic chair, if we had a physical condition that required specific accessories – it was all available to us, no questions asked. I have friends in other companies that work in bed or on their sofas and it really blurs the line between work and non-work, along with being terrible for their physical health.
The inclusive and empathic culture at Intuit also helped tremendously. The work-life balance is the best I’ve experienced in my career. The management cared about the impact virtual work could have on our mental health and were considerate towards our specific challenges. For instance, WFH has been particularly difficult for team members with kids who are also attending virtual school during work hours, this was taken into consideration immediately.
As a team, we also try to get together informally a few times a week on Zoom. We call it the Tea Bar and catch up about our lives outside of work – like if we were physically at the office. It’s the little things like this that make a difference and allow us to connect with our colleagues beyond work”
The Perks of Being Part of the Intuit Family
This is one of their key differentiators from other organizations in tech, according to Rissey. Apart from being “highly competitive and in line with the top players in the market” in terms of their compensation packages, Intuit also provides a range of other benefits to their employees. 4.5% of all base salaries are contributed to the National Pension System by default, regardless of whether the employee chooses to contribute themselves. Their health offerings are also industry-leading, with best-in-class insurance co-pays, a vast hospital network, and covid-specific coverage that include vaccinations and reimbursements.
“We try to think beyond basic expectations, especially during turbulent times such as these. For example, the standard approach in the industry is to cover the employee and their immediate dependents – spouse, parents and kids. We realised that, in the case of households with one earning member and one homemaker, there might be one set of parents left out. We felt that was inexcusable and ensured that our program covered in-laws as well.
We’re always trying to understand our employees’ needs so that they are empowered to deliver the best possible outcomes for themselves, the organization and all our stakeholders.”
This phrase came up a lot during our conversations with the folks at Intuit. Like when Dishi explained GED – Global Engineering Days, where for a week Intuit engineers across all sites dedicate 100% of their time to “pure engineering”.
“Bring your engineer out – pick a problem that needs fixing and dedicate a week to finding a solution. You’re then given an entire month to put it into production. A lot of great projects have actually emerged from GED.
No sprint work is allowed. It’s forbidden, so if you have to do your regular work, just make sure no one catches you!”, she said with a laugh.
Intuit is also well-known for its various communities around tech, social responsibility and sustainability.
One week per year is dedicated to their We Care & Give Back initiatives where they collaborate with NGOs for activities like making toys for impoverished children and turning fairy tales and textbooks into audiobooks for visually impaired children.
Dishi co-leads a Sustainability Charter that drives awareness about carbon impact reductions, RRR and explores ways the organization can optimize their use of energy-intensive cloud resources.
Danish does similar work for a Mobile Community Chapter that provides learning materials, boot camps and brings in external trainers to teach teams new and niche technologies.
The company also provides access to learning platforms like Udemy, and a variety of other courses and programs for free to its employees.
Why You Should Sign Up for Our Next Event
By this point, it’s amply clear to us why Intuit is ranked #3 in India’s Best Companies to Work For – 2021 list and has been in the top 3 for the fifth consecutive year! We’ve tried our best to outline them here, but to really cover everything we would end up writing a novel, and it would take you so long to read that you might miss the event!
Santosh Patil, a Software Engineer II who landed a job at Intuit during the November event and has just completed his first month (congrats, Santosh!), says, “Using Geektrust to find a job turned out to be very fruitful. Because in 11 hours of coding, I could demonstrate all my skills which is not possible in a one-hour interview. It allowed me to present myself in the best possible way. The whole process was very smooth – the problem statement was clearly mentioned with examples, the submission process was easy too, and any other queries during the challenge were answered very quickly through Whatsapp!”
Rissey adds, “It was an amazing experience! It was our first-ever code-a-thon dedicated to hiring, previously these would trend toward branding and awareness. It was also entirely virtual and public – open to anyone. So, definitely a first for us, and the amount of participation and good code we received has really created a buzz within the organization. We look forward to taking our learnings to the next event.”
On Constantly Growing With Intuit
We’ll end with Shankar speaking on the culture of growth at Intuit, “Before Intuit, I changed five jobs in seven years. I get bored quickly and would hit these growth and learning ceilings eventually. But despite being here for three years, I feel like there’s still so much more to do. I’m never bored, never feel stagnated.
I recently completed an internal mobility transfer to a new team because I felt like I had contributed all I could to the previous team and was starting to feel comfortable. I went to management and explained why the new team excited me and what I thought I could bring to the table. They agreed and made it happen.
This is why I never feel like I’ve reached the end of what I can learn at Intuit. The landscape is huge and we’re always encouraged to explore.”