Why Intuit?

Musings Sep 9, 2016

Like many aspiring Software Engineers in college, I have searched for and have had the privilege to work for several internships across various tech companies. All of this was done in service to hopefully landing a great career. Since....you know, after I was done with school, I had to become an adult (well at least, an adult that wasn't a brokeass)! Right after graduating from my undergrad with a B.S in Information and Computer Science, I joined the professional industry as a Software Engineer at Intuit! I've been with Intuit for a little over three years; as a result, I have learned a crap-ton. I have had many great opportunities to lead and tackle challenging problems and I've worked with some of the most talented, intelligent, and amazing people.

However, like many folks who are very early in their careers, I decided it was time for a change. So I decided to pursue a new opportunity and take my talents elsewhere to tackle new challenges. But before I close my Intuit chapter, I want to first tell you why I chose Intuit to start my career. It's important to wisely pick how you choose to begin your career, so this will be useful for others who are also looking to or about to start their first full-time gig. Why do I feel this is necessary to talk about? Well, it all started last Christmas...

Last Christmas

"I gave you my heart. But the very next day you gave it away~" Sorry, that was the first thing my brain thought of when I typed that in, I am easily distracted...Feel free to skip this part and go straight to the next section if you live a sad life and don't like story-time.

Every year I try to hold a big get-together with my group of friends from high school. They may not all be my closest friends per se, but it usually involves folks who I haven't seen a while, plus it's a great opportunity for everyone catch up and be together. It's always a load of fun and it's always nice to hear everyone's shenanigans over the years.

At this event, one of my friends arrives, goes around the room to say her hello's, and she arrives at me. For the sake of privacy, she will be known as Danielle (because my good friend's name is Daniel and I don't really know any Danielle's...). So Danielle works as a non-engineer at a very prestigious tech company, you've probably heard of it. It has something with faces and books or such and such. Anywho, she loves working there and doesn't hesitate to talk about all the amazing perks there. I haven't seen her in over a year, so when she approaches me, I expect a friendly exchange of greetings, small talk, you know, the usual adult small talk dance. However, this is how the conversation went instead:

  • Danielle: Hi Kelvin!
  • Me: Hi Danielle!
  • Danielle: Are you still at Intuit?
  • Me: Yep!
  • Danielle: Oh... WHY!?
  • Me: Uh..... iono.....they um.... pay me well I guess?

Whoa, granted I've only been adulting for like 2.5 years, but I don't think that's how small talk works! She broke the rules! Is that how you are supposed to start a conversation? How am I supposed to respond to that? How am I supposed to wrap that up in one sentence?! How do I even follow that up? It was at that moment when I realized that when it comes to starting your early career, people have different priorities, perspectives, and motives when choosing where to work. So let me now answer that question in a situation where it was more appropriate to ask that kind of question. "Why Intuit?"

Product focused

Intuit, at its core, is a product focused company. Intuit has always been known as a "house of brands". People may not necessarily know what Intuit is, but they will have at least used or heard of some of our products.

Intuit Products

If at this point you were reading this post and still had no idea what Intuit was, well, I'm sure one of the products above looks familiar. And if you still don't know.....well, I guess it's time for you to get out from under that rock and take control of your finances!

So what does it mean to be a product focused company? Well, what this means is that Intuit has a suite of consumer products that drive its revenue and growth. These products are the forefront of their priorities and are what Intuit's employees primary focus on, whether its building new features, fixing bugs, making enhancements or creating brand new consumer products.

And what does it mean to you? The work you do will have a real impact on customers. As an engineer at Intuit, you are responsible for all the pieces you are building, you will constantly write code that goes live in production, and you will have ownership on everything you do. Because Intuit is a product focused organization, you will also have the opportunity to work on any piece of a product and are encouraged to not be pigeonholed in a particular role.

This may not seem like a big deal, but you'd be surprised how many top engineers wind up working for some of the most prestigious companies and still never push a line of code to production or see their code put in the hands of their customers.

As an engineer at Intuit, you are responsible for all the pieces you are building, you will constantly write code that goes live in production, and you will have ownership on everything you do.

For any engineer early in their career, it's important to build stuff, ship things often, break shit, and learn quickly. Intuit's product focused culture can help provide all of this and more.

Staying technologically relevant

Intuit is an "old" company by Silicon Valley standards. Its stock price is growing, it's still considered one of the most admired tech companies, and it's been around for over 30 years!

So how is this all still possible? Intuit understands what it needs to thrive in the tech world, and makes the investments necessary to migrate to the new age. With mobile and migrating to the cloud becoming more and more imperative, Intuit has been able to stay relevant by adopting some of the latest bleeding edge tech. Parts of Intuit are revamping their entire front-end architecture to React/Redux/GraphQL, we have parts of Intuit running Node.js in production, and Intuit as a whole is making big bets on AWS.

Migrating Geese

By staying technology relevant, Intuit can continue to keep up with fast-paced startups whilst attracting top talent. Albeit, Intuit still has a WAYS to go in this journey, but acknowledging these gaps are key. Intuit's willingness to make big bets in their technology will have long-lasting positive impact. After talking with several startups and established tech companies, I've grown to appreciate some of the things that Intuit does right. I've had the opportunity to work on some of the latest tech, and this is why Intuit will continue to grow. There are only a handful of companies you can name that has continued to stay technologically relevant despite not being around as long.

People first

This is probably one of the most overlooked aspects when you are trying to find the right place for your career, especially as an engineer. Before you decide where to work, you have to make sure that you aren't working with assholes. Seriously, don't work with assholes! No matter what opportunities are presented to you by a prospective employer, if your boss or your peers are total jackweeds, you'll dread coming into work. Intuit is not that place. In fact, it's the complete opposite.

Intuit puts its people first. It cares for its employees and that is reflected throughout the culture. Intuit has some of the kindest, smartest, and friendliest people that I've ever had the pleasure to work with. Of course you may run into some stragglers, but for the most part, everyone tries their best to help one another.

Intuit was the only place where the employees saw and treated me as an equal, even before I joined as a full-time.

The company constantly asks for feedback and consistently tries to improve based on these feedbacks. You may disagree and feel strongly differently, but based on my personal experiences and observations, it is one of few companies that I genuinely feel try to do right by both its employees and its customers. There's a reason why it's rated one of the best places to work at least 15 times. Intuit has a high rate of boomerangs - there are a high percentage of folks that leave and then wind up coming back.

Intuit Building

As mentioned earlier, I've had the opportunity to work for and intern at various tech companies. However, Intuit was the only place where the employees saw and treated me as an equal, even before I joined as a full-time. I was given a lot of responsibility, ownership, and given a lot of leeway to learn and grow. I've built such impactful, lasting relationships here, and it's the people that have enabled me to become the engineer that I am today. There's a strong sense of a community here, and that's truly unique. For these reasons, Intuit will always be special to me.

Closing the chapter

This was a long post and answer to the question: why Intuit? I hope these aspects are values you also consider before you decide where to work next. Sorry Danielle, but I do not make decisions based solely on the perks. It's not always about the free food + activities, although I will admit, it does help! However, I made the choice to join Intuit because my internship experience with them helped me realized what really mattered.

If there's one thing I hope you take away from this, is that you should never have to justify to anyone how you choose to start your career.

Different people have different priorities, different goals, and different motives. It is important that you do not start your career somewhere that everyone else thinks may be the right choice, but to start your career that's the right fit for you. Granted, Intuit is not perfect, it has its own share of issues. But for me, Intuit was the best place for me to start my career for the reasons listed above. If there's one thing I hope you take away from this, is that you should never have to justify to anyone how you choose to start your career.

And on that note, as a professional in your early career, you also have to be mindful of never sticking with anything for too long. As soon as you feel you aren't hitting that hockey stick growth, it may be time to explore other opportunities, whether internal or external. I don't even want to think about where I'll be 10 years from now. Will I have a little shit-booger for a kid? Die from my nut allergy? Live in a new city? Because of these unknowns, your youth is the best time to experience other ventures, take risks, learn new things, and explore what else is out there. This is why I've decided to close my Intuit chapter, however, I'm sure this won't be the last time I give it a read.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of Intuit.