May 28, 2017 ~ 6 min read

Life as an intern in San Francisco (Week 0)


Sunset over Ocean Beach on my first night

For the next 10 weeks I'll be living in San Francisco while I intern at Braintree.

In the days leading up to my departure I began to feel the rush of anxiety and excitement that comes with moving across the country to start a new job.

This summer marks two important firsts for me: living in a city, and my first job working as a (kinda) professional software developer.

Naturally, I spent the last few days prior to my departure frantically searching for blog posts from past interns trying to figure out what the heck I've gotten myself into.

Oakland Bridge from above

Passing over Sierra Nevada

Surprisingly, I found very little. As a result, I have decided to document my experiences over the next ten weeks. Hopefully my writing can serve as a healthy mix of entertainment as well as source of useful information.


If you're not aware of how crazy the housing market is in SF right now, I'm here to clear that up. I spent hours over christmas break searching through listings on Padmapper, Craigslist, & Airbnb before finding a place with one other roommate that I thought would meet my needs.

Unfortunately, a few days before I left I found out that there was a slight mixup with my Airbnb and that I would be staying at a different location with more roommates than originally planned.

Yikes. I haven't even made it to San Fran yet, and I've already made my first mistake.

bunk bed

Hopefully the most expensive bunk bed I'll ever pay to sleep in...

Luckily, my hosts were gracious enough to admit their mistake and offer me a slight discount. For the sake of transparency, I'm paying around $1100/month for a spot on a bunk bed (I even have my own bed!).

On the plus side, the apartment is super nice and my hosts and roommates have been extremely welcoming so far.

alt text

Did I mention we have a balcony?

Keep in mind that I chose to work in a prime location close to downtown. If you value personal space or sharing a bathroom with 4 other people is not your idea of a good time, commuting from Oakland or somewhere further away from downtown is probably your best option.


My new home! Trader Joe's is a 3 minute walk...

Is it really worth it to pay this much to live in SF? How are you going to survive sharing a small space with so many other people? I have no idea, but I'll keep you updated!


I don't have much to report in this area considering I haven't started yet, but my first day of work is this Tuesday!

What I do know is that I'll be working on the Core Disputes team. The team is in charge of building tools that help merchants maximize their chances of winning payment dispute cases filed against them, and to help support teams that deal with fraud to work more efficiently.

Realistically, I have no idea exactly what I'll be doing, but hopefully I'll have a better idea by this time next week.


Outside of work

Here's my (short) current bucket list of things I HAVE to do in SF this summer (hit me with suggestions that I should add if you have any).

  • Bike across the golden gate bridge, have lunch in Tiburon and take the ferry back
  • Do the audio tour of Alcatraz
  • Swim in the Pacific Ocean
  • Climb to the top of Coit Tower
  • Walk the labyrinth at Land's End
  • Bonfire and Sunset on Ocean Beach


My host took me to Ocean Beach for a bonfire with friends just hours after my arrival.

I'm also looking to buy/rent a bike while I'm here to make getting around a little easier. More on that to come.


If you've examined the ratio of food:life pictures on my instagram, it's probably no surprise that I like talking about food.

I'm lucky enough to have free breakfast and lunch at Braintree during the week, but that still leaves plenty of time to explore the local food scene and do some cooking as well. There's a Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and Safeway all fairly close to my apartment, and I'm hoping to take advantage of the plethora of farmer's markets around as well.

A quick search of the nearby farmer's markets yielded:

  • Civic Center Farmer's Market (Wednesday and Sunday)
  • Alemany Farmer's Market (Saturday)
  • Grand Lake Farmer's Market in Oakland (Saturday)
  • Stonestown Galleria (Sunday)

Here's a few restaurants I'm eying as well:

baked goods

Vive La Tarte

I'm also hoping to experiment with home curing meat this summer. I'm planning on following the method outlines in this video. I'm still scouting out quality butchers nearby but I'm pretty excited about it...hopefully my roommates won't mind.


Those who know me know that I love podcasts, and naturally I've always wanted to try recording my own. Recently, one of my favorite podcasts, Software Engineering Daily opened up to allow others to work with the owner to host an episode.

I'm still fleshing out a lot of the details but I'm currently working towards recording an episode about Alexa Skill Development. There's a lot more work that needs to go into this but expect to hear more in the future...unless of course work gets a little too crazy.

Interview Prep

This is the point where you might start to think I'm a little crazy (you're not wrong). If you're not interested in Software Engineering, feel free to skip this part.

I'm planning to spend ~5 hours a week preparing for technical interviews so that I'm not cramming come the fall. Besides, interview questions can be fun!


My general plan is to do at least one Pramp interview per week, and then spend another four hours working my way through questions in Cracking The Coding Interview (CTCI) and Leetcode. I plan to work through CTCI until I finish it and then grind questions on Leetcode for the rest of the time.

I could try to make a detailed outline of what topics I will cover when, but the truth is I wouldn't follow it. I'll probably ramp the amount of time I spend studying up or down depending on how I'm progressing.

For more details on the strategies I'll be using to study, check out this fantastic article.

That's all for today. Thanks for reading and check in next Sunday to hear about my first week in San Francisco!

Maxi Ferreira

Hi, I'm Taylor . I'm a software engineer/maker/amateur chef currently living in San Francisco. You can follow me on Twitter , see some of my work on GitHub , or read about my life on Substack .