Campus at Nextdoor Engineering

Experiences and insights from new grad engineers in the neighborhood

Written by Nicole Atkins

At Nextdoor, we understand that transitioning from a full-time student to a full-time employee can be challenging, however we strive to make this process as seamless as possible.

Working with us provides a unique opportunity for new grads — our close-knit team offers a supportive environment where new grad engineers can collaborate with a mentor and gain exposure to all aspects of our business. From improving code quality to working on innovative end-to-end features, we encourage our new grad engineers to enhance their skills while embracing some of our core values: “Experiment and Learn Quickly,” “Think Big,” and “Act Like An Owner.”

When a new grad joins our team, they are matched with a mentor and a supportive team to facilitate their professional and personal growth. During their first two weeks, they participate in an onboarding program that includes getting their development environment set up, check-ins with teammates, pair programming sessions, team stand-up meetings, and social hangouts. 

To give you a better idea of what it’s like to work at Nextdoor, hear from some of our new grad engineers, Aditya Mehta (UCSD), Aileen Pongnon (University of Central Florida), Alex Barkin (University of Waterloo), Irvin Samuel (Santa Clara University), Kevin Chai (UC Berkeley), Kurnal Saini (University of Maryland at College Park), and Sam Litwin (Georgetown), about their experiences and proudest accomplishments in the neighborhood so far.

What were you looking for in a new grad role?

“I was looking for a role that had a great mentorship program and the ability to make a large impact. I didn’t come in with well-developed technical skills and I was interested in iOS, an area that I had never worked in before, so I knew that I needed a role that would emphasize learning and help me build my skills from the ground up. At the same time, I wanted to be able to start working on real projects as soon as I was ready. I had heard from friends at other companies that a lot of new grads spend months, or even years, refactoring legacy code or doing other smaller projects, but I wanted to be able to look back at the end of my first year and know that I did really impactful work.” Sam Litwin, Software Engineer – Content Creation

“I knew I wanted to work at a company with a mission and values that I heavily aligned with. I really admired Nextdoor’s dedication to building communities and tapping into the potential of neighborhoods. Being scared to start my first full-time job in tech, I also wanted to be at a company with a supportive culture.” Kevin Chai, Software Engineer – API and Partnerships

“For my first role after college, I knew I wanted to work at a company where I would have the  ability to continue advancing my software development skills while making a significant impact on a product.” Alex Barkin, Software Engineer – Feed UX

Why did you choose Nextdoor?

“I chose Nextdoor because of the opportunity to build something new at a fast growing company that has a positive impact on the world. From the day of my first interview, the culture and passion for the product was apparent in everyone I talked to, and I knew I wanted to be a part of this team.” Aditya Mehta, Software Engineer – Ads

“I chose Nextdoor because of the incredible people, the company’s size, and its potential to make a difference in people’s lives. Nextdoor had the talent to rival any large company, but it was still at a point in its growth where there were huge projects to work on to improve the platform. However, what stood out the most to me was the chance to help people get more involved with their communities and make a difference in their lives. I wanted to feel good about the technology I was creating and I knew Nextdoor was the right place to do that.” Sam Litwin, Software Engineer – Content Creation

“I chose Nextdoor because my internship experience was super enjoyable, insightful, and fun. Nextdoor made an amazing summer for me and I knew I’d want to come back the second I had the chance.” Aileen Pongnon, Software Engineer – Organizations Growth 

How did you prepare for your interviews?

“I mostly brushed up on my coding skills using Leetcode.” Alex Barkin, Software Engineer – Feed UX

“I mainly prepared for the interviews by conducting mock interviews and practicing problems on Leetcode.” Kurnal Saini, Software Engineer – Experimentation

“On the technical side, it was all about practice. I had developed strong foundations in school, but I just needed to put in the hours to make sure I could answer any question that came up in the interview. On the behavioral side, I read a bunch of articles on the engineering blog, including the Engineering Principles, so that I could come up with in-depth answers about what appealed to me about Nextdoor engineering. And when it came time for me to ask my interviewer questions, I was able to have a real conversation about what it’s like to work there since I already had a lot of knowledge of what they were working on.” Sam Litwin, Software Engineer – Content Creation

What project are you proud to have worked on?

“I most recently finished working on a feature called ‘Share to Nextdoor,’ which is a way for users to share content on other websites onto the Nextdoor newsfeed. Even as a new grad, I was chosen to own the project and the development process. It was such a rewarding experience and I’m thankful for all the support I received from my teammates and other employees while building it. The project is live and the content shared varies from helping owners find their lost pets to getting signatures on local petitions.” Kevin Chai, Software Engineer – API and Partnerships

“I’m super proud to have worked on the ‘tagging closed businesses’ project. We implemented a banner across business pages on all platforms signifying whether the business was closed or not. We also implemented functionality allowing business users to modify the status of their business, whether they want to be represented as open, closed, or temporarily closed. It was something very simple but provided our users with insight about our business pages, allowing users to have more trust in the data we share with them.” Aileen Pongnon, Software Engineer – Organizations Growth

“Recently, I worked on a huge project to add awards to Nextdoor. We created a framework that would allow users and businesses to get publicly recognized for their contributions to the platform and to their communities by completing tasks like reviewing businesses or planning events. It was by far the biggest project I’ve ever worked on and it was a really cool opportunity to work on fun things like animations or haptics. Now, I love to scroll through my feed and see all the awards that people have chosen to show off on their profiles.” Sam Litwin, Software Engineer – Content Creation

“So far my favorite project has been helping build our in-house, next-gen Ads stack. It’s been such a great experience working with so many talented teammates and I can’t wait to see it launch!” Aditya Mehta, Software Engineer – Ads

Favorite memory with your team.

“Even though much of our team is distributed across the country, we still make time for us to gather at social events. Some of my favorite examples are playing Codenames virtually and meeting up during Traffic Week to go bowling!” Irvin Samuel, Software Engineer – Sponsored Content

“My favorite memories with my team are always changing! Every other Friday we have a game session where we get together and play a game virtually for an hour. Sometimes, if we have no games to play, the time is spent catching up with one another and chatting about our weekend plans. It’s such a nice time to relax with my team and crack a few jokes during our gameplays, just to break up the stream of work.”Aileen Pongnon, Software Engineer – Organizations Growth

“I live in San Francisco, but the majority of my team is based in Toronto, so we have a lot of fun moments virtually, but my favorite in-person memory  is when my team came to San Francisco and we went on a hike in the Marin Headlands!” Alex Barkin, Software Engineer – Feed UX

“I have so many great memories with my team, but one of the highlights is randomly making banter during our stand-ups.” Kurnal Saini, Software Engineer – Experimentation

What do you love most about our engineering team/engineering culture?

“I love that there is a genuine feeling that people have your back and are willing to help answer your questions! As someone who likes to get a deep understanding of how all the moving parts work together in a codebase, I’ve had a lot of people here who have helped me learn more and make me a better engineer.” Irvin Samuel, Software Engineer – Sponsored Content

“There are a lot of opportunities to grow, exciting challenges to solve, and projects to own. Although this sounds daunting, it actually isn’t because of the collaborative and supportive culture that is embedded within Nextdoor. I’ve never felt alone in any of my work and can confidently say that everyone at the company is willing to help you out. I feel blessed to have been able to learn and grow so much since joining in late August.” Kevin Chai, Software Engineer – API and Partnerships

One piece of advice for fellow new grads.

“One piece of advice I have for new grads is to accept changes with open arms. A couple months into being at Nextdoor, I got moved from my original team to a new one. At first, I was saddened to be moved from the team I did my internship with the year prior, but after just a few days in my new team I realized it was a much better fit for me and I’ve enjoyed the work I’ve done so much everyday. Change is definitely scary but it can catch you by surprise and be totally worth it in the end.” Aileen Pongnon, Software Engineer – Organizations Growth

“Don’t be afraid to jump head-first into any problem or challenge that comes up, even if it seems like it might be too hard for you. You might not always know the answers right away, but you’ll really accelerate your development by exposing yourself to new things. It can be tempting to stay within your comfort zone and only tackle problems that you feel confident in, but it’s way better to push yourself and take on new challenges. Eventually, you’ll learn how to do those new things and become a better engineer in the process.” Sam Litwin, Software Engineer – Content Creation

“I think one of the most important things to keep in mind as a new grad is to cherish and enjoy the learning process. There was so much I didn’t know when I first started at Nextdoor but I was able to slowly accumulate knowledge. Also, talk to and befriend your coworkers! I love  hanging out with my fellow Nextdoor new grads and they make going to the office so fun!” Kevin Chai, Software Engineer – API and Partnerships

Interested in joining #TeamNextdoor? Check out open roles here! For more information on internships at Nextdoor, check out our Campus page.

Theme is edited