1. What were you doing before you became a Software Engineer?
I graduated college with an Economics degree and a lot of student loan debt. I took a job as an Executive Assistant at a merchandising company in Los Angeles to focus on paying off my debt. The company produced merchandise for various music artists that were sold at retailers, online, or at concerts. It was interesting being involved in the entertainment industry, but I knew I didn’t want to do it forever.
2. Where are you currently working and what do you do?
I am currently working at Indeed as a full-stack Software Engineer on a team called Match. Employers give us a job listing and we find them qualified and interested jobseekers through a matching algorithm.
3. What’s your favorite part of your job?
I love being on a team that’s working on a brand new project. I feel great giving input into how our product should be built, and then seeing it actually happen! I’ve learned so much about data architecture, design patterns, scalability, and writing maintainable code. My team is invested in my growth and I am often encouraged to pick up tasks that might be a little more challenging for me. There is no shortage of work, so I get to spend a majority of my day doing what I love–coding!
4. Describe a typical day in your role.
Half my team likes to get to the office earlier around 8am, but the rest of us are in around 10am. Once I get into the office, I’ll get my morning tea, check my emails, check Slack, and look over code reviews if there are any. Then I’ll pick up where I left off on a task from the previous day or see what I have to work on next. My team will do a quick stand up right before lunch, which helps keep it pretty short. Indeed provides lunch every day, so most of the office will eat lunch together in our main kitchen area. The rest of my day will primarily be spent working on my task.
I don’t have too many meetings scheduled during the week. Our team will have our retrospective at the end of the week and occasionally will have a meeting to discuss any large architectural changes we need to implement. I also have a bi-weekly meeting with my manager and weekly meetings with a mentor on my team for skill development (going over CS topics, practicing whiteboarding, etc.).
5. Any advice you have for others looking to enter the tech industry as a programmer.
The one thing I struggle with the most is comparing myself to others. When you’re learning to program, it’s often frustrating to see other people breeze through something. Just because it “doesn’t come naturally” to you doesn’t mean that you can’t learn it! Learning takes time. If you’re having a tough day, don’t forget to look back and think about how far you’ve come and all that you’ve accomplished. If that doesn’t work, then maybe this video will help: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oweg154pMNU (S/O to my instructor Kari who showed our cohort video during one of the first weeks of class.)
Also, don’t overextend yourself. There are so many different domains in tech and you might feel pressure to learn everything about all of them. Do as much as you can, but don’t forget to take care of yourself. You just have to find your sweet spot between absorbing a lot of new information and burning yourself out.
TLDR; BE KIND TO YOURSELF!