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November 16, 2012

Day in the Life of a Yelp Engineer

From trampoline dodgeball to debugging issues, a day in the life of Kyle M., aka K-Money or Vanilla Thunder to those in the know, is never dull. This ping pong enthusiast has been killing it at Yelp since April 2011. He lets us in on his favorite part of the job, Yelp camping trip adventures and his advice to anyone looking to join the Yelp engineering team. Interested? Check out our careers page for open positions!

What did you do before coming to Yelp?
Before Yelp, I was studying Systems Design Engineering at the University of Waterloo in Ontario.

How did you first hear about Yelp and the job opening?
I’d seen it posted off and on during internship terms at UW, but I first took notice when applying for jobs after college. The job descriptions all sounded really cool, but when I saw the TC Cribs episode on the Yelp San Francisco office the deal was sealed.

What's your title at Yelp and how long have you been with the company?
Software Engineer? I will also respond to K-Money and Vanilla Thunder. I’ve been here since April 2011.

What comprises a typical day for you?
Oh dear. There isn’t really a typical day. Every day starts with a morning stand-up, but after that all bets are off. On any given day, you need to be ready for designing new features, trampoline dodgeball, debugging issues, tea time, cranking out sweet code, ping pong, reviewing your team’s work, or watching Face/Off. Every day is different, so you have to roll with the punches.

What's the BEST part of working for Yelp?
The people, every time. Not even close. I love the people I work with.

To pick a second-best, non-cliche answer, I feel like I have learned so much working at Yelp, and I keep learning more every day. Every week I feel like I’m better at what I do.

What is your favorite perk at Yelp?
I really like playing ping pong. Despite the fact that it makes me sweaty and gross during work, a good half-hour session of ping pong really helps me refocus in the afternoon (more than a sixth cup of coffee ever could).

What has been your favorite memory at Yelp?
Probably the Yelp camping trip...or the Roaring ‘20s offsite... maybe the ski trip? Line! Let’s say it was the Yelp camping trip, where I was too timid to ask anyone for a tent and ended up sleeping outside for a while. Turns out I don’t really care for raccoons, and I would say that feeling is mutual. Of course, there was no reason to be shy: everyone was really nice, and several of them had extra tents. With the lodging secured, the rest of the trip was amazing.

What separates Yelp from other places you've worked?
Yelp does a really great job at ramping new people up. I’ve been on both ends of the mentorship process, and there’s a lot of care given to making sure the things you work on help build your bridge to success.

Last, but not least, what would be your one piece of advice for someone interested in your role?
Personal projects. They show an interest in technology and a fascination for making things. Even better, they are proof positive of natural curiosity. These are things we look for at Yelp.