Hello! Welcome to our 2-part blog where we’re excited to share our reflections as former interns at Gusto. Part 1 of the series will feature Jessica and Joey who interned at the San Francisco office. In Part 2, you’ll hear from Bryce, Christine, and Dean who interned at the San Francisco and Denver offices. Read more to learn about their intern experiences, professional development, and what it means to build with Gusto.
Why Gusto? A Personal Journey Back to Familiar Grounds
Gusto provides engineers with many opportunities to grow. These opportunities, mainly tailored project opportunities, strong mentorship, and emphasis on community, not only empower an engineer to quickly learn and develop his/her skills, but also create an environment where one feels welcome and enjoys their work.
As someone who values impact and social good, returning to Gusto, if given the opportunity, was an obvious decision for me by the end of my internship. Coming from a family whose livelihood depended on a small business, Gusto's mission resonated with me and provided an opportunity to give back in a way that felt personal and important. It's evident that Gusties care deeply about their product, its impact, and genuinely want to help small businesses thrive. Moreover, Gusto fosters an environment where I can grow, learn, and collaborate with other like-minded and passionate engineers while contributing to significant, user-facing projects.
The Significance of Mentorship and Diverse Expertise at Gusto
Gusto places a significant emphasis on mentorship, valuing the transfer of knowledge and skills as a core part of its culture. When an engineer mentors an intern, they dedicate nearly half of their time to teaching and collaborating with them. This practice underscores the belief that educating others is often more impactful than completing tasks independently. This philosophy not only fosters the growth of new engineers but also enriches the mentor's own professional development.
The key to Gusto’s successful mentorship program and growth mindset is its people! The mentorship program provides a means to connect not only with those within your domain but also with those working in other fields. This allows you to choose to hone your technical skills, learn new skill sets, or seek professional development mentorship (or all of the above!). Everyone is an asset, and all are more than willing to support you in your career growth in a way that best suits you and your goals. Different communities within Gusto also offer opportunities to connect with people outside of those you directly work with—whether through guilds, affinity groups, or community channels, there are always opportunities to challenge yourself and make new connections. In my experience as a new grad, I was welcomed with open arms and given the resources I needed to hit the ground running. Along with my team members, multiple people outside of my team reached out to me to make sure I was up to speed and offered me their support and mentorship which is a true testament to the collaborative nature of Gusto!
Choosing Projects and Crafting a Career Path
As an intern, I was given an initial project that was not only impactful but tailored to help myself learn the ins and outs of that portion of Gusto’s codebase. The project gave enough knowledge so that I could branch out and work on projects with my team meant for full time engineers. Gusto rewards being proactive, branching out, asking questions, and there’s always something to do if that’s what you’re looking for.
Gusto is growing along with you, which means there is always room for new ideas and opportunities for you to own projects that you genuinely believe would improve the platform! During my first few months, I was able to identify some issues with the product and initiate the discovery process for how we could improve. This ownership mentality allows me to work on projects that I find meaningful and helps build the discernment for prioritizing which features and projects would be the most impactful, which is an important skill to have as you level up. It is also a rewarding experience to deep dive into your domain and gain the expertise to know what works best for the goals Gusto strives to accomplish and how you can best serve the people who rely on us to make running their businesses easier.
Had it not been for Gusto, I would not know half the things I know about benefits and the nuances and complexities of making an effective platform for managing them! Because of what I’ve gained, I am able to play a role in helping small businesses provide their employees with benefits!
The Importance of Continuous Learning and User Engagement
Gusto has so many different codebases, and there’s always something new to learn. I thought I’d learned a lot throughout my internship, but returning as a new grad, I was given projects that were completely different from what I’d done, and once again was given projects that do a great job of onboarding my engineering abilities. Great learning experience.
There are teachers around you everywhere! I am constantly learning new things from my peers, mentors, and fellow engineers. Whether it be technical skills or knowledge about the business domain, I have gained so much during my time at Gusto. Projects at Gusto are often very intersectional, so I find myself collaborating with people of various backgrounds and skill sets. Surrounded by so many brilliant and talented individuals, I have not only become a better engineer but also a teacher myself. Sharing what I have learned is rewarding and helps foster the same environment for all Gusties to grow.
Reflections and Advice: The Path to Gusto
Like everyone else said, the backgrounds of Gusto’s engineers are very diverse. Many people majored in something completely unrelated. Someone on my team became an engineer after years of being a hiring manager at Gusto! Building the discipline to learn different engineering techniques, actually learning these techniques, along with plenty of Leetcode will more than likely land you the job you want!
Software engineering is unique because it’s accessible. Given access to the right tools and the discipline to learn, anyone can gain the skills necessary to create something through code. For those who have their sights set on Gusto, my best advice is to approach it with a positive attitude, a willingness to learn, and, of course, a solid grasp of your fundamentals. Speaking from personal experience, I’ve grappled with confidence and imposter syndrome, like many other college students. For new grads specifically, a piece of advice that always stuck with me is: It's not about being the most experienced and skilled engineer in the room (because, in most cases, you won't be). It’s about whether you can become the type of team member needed after being given the resources and training to help you succeed. Can you learn and grow? Are you willing to?
Have confidence and work ethic! Gusto is a special place to be, and we hope to have you join us! Continue to Part 2 of this blog, where you’ll get to hear from Bryce, Christine, and Dean!