A Week at Marktplaats

It has long been stated that the things you learn in school prepare you for life in the working world. Work experiences and internships bridges the gap between the real world and academics. For many, work experience is also a way to explore career opportunities and learn more about the field of work they are interested in.

This past summer, I had the opportunity to do work experience (a short, unpaid internship) at Marktplaats, part of the eBay Classifieds Group. I want to share some of my experiences and the things I've learnt.

About Marktplaats

Marktplaats.nl is an online auction and classified advertising site based in the Netherlands. It is a subsidiary of the eBay Classifieds Group with around 1000 employees. The site provides a place for buyers and sellers to list their own items for sale, either new or used. Here is the description of Marktplaats listed on the eBay Classifieds Group website.

A pioneer in online classifieds, Marktplaats was founded in Emmeloord. The idea was to recycle castoffs and help customers find things they needed at reasonable prices. People loved the friendly community focus, and Marktplaats soon became the most popular e-commerce site in the Netherlands.


The Goal

I've always been intruiged by the process of creation, and have always interested in working in a field of engineering. I aim to get a feel of the working environment in the field of product and technology development through this work experience.

As a member of the product and technology team, I would get experience in developing apps and coding. Additional expectations include being cooperative and professional, identifying what I'm looking for and an evaluation of the workplace.

Activities

The duration of this work experience was short, so every day was filled with workshops and projects.

I was introduced to the many roles in product and technology development. Software engineer, frontend and backend developer, data scientist, project manager, product analyst, etc. are all important jobs for the development of products. I also had the experience of working in some of these teams.

App and Frontend Development
The app development team was where I spent most of my time. I learnt the basics of making an Android app by working on an app of my interest. I used Java with Android Studio and learnt app developement guidelines from my mentor, Tamara, to make the app.

The Marktplaats team holds internal hackathons twice a year. Coincidentally, the summer hackathon would take place during my work experience. I had the amazing opportunity to be programming alongside the development teams in the hackathon, which took place on a canal boat that cruised around the city center! With great weather that day, learning to code in the picturesque summer views was truly an unforgettable experience.

Backend Development
I learnt about the basics of backend development from the team. Touring the process was interesting because it is similar to the usual portrayal of developers. I was tasked by Ilya, one of the backend developers, to get familiar with Github and Golang, the main tools used in the day to day work of the team.

Data Analytics
Although I didn't work with the data analytics team, I got the chance to get insight into their workflow and tasks. I learnt a lot about the amount of work behind product development. A method I was introduced to was A/B testing, a process where variants of a webpage is shown to users at random. Data scientists then use the statistical data to determine the best variation to achieve the goal of the product.

In addition to all those above, I also did other activites such as presentations and workplace interactions.

Through one of the workshops, I was introduced to the AGILE development process. The SCRUM framework was especially used by the frontend and backend development team during their morning updates. It is useful for communication and to keep things on track.

What I Learnt

This experience has given me new insight into the world of a developer. I really enjoyed the work environment in product and technology development. Many areas in this field stoked my interest, especially frontend development and data analytics.

Learning about the product development process and the different tools used in work has inspired me to experiment more while coding and to do it more efficiently. I also understood the importance of learning new things and to be able to adapt to change while working, especially in the tech field.