1. What were you doing before you became a Software Engineer?
My previous career was in clinical research compliance, which involved a lot of reading research studies to make sure they complied with federal regulations and were ethical. Compliance is a rather small piece of the clinical research industry, and the technology used to process research is often outdated. In a few of my roles, I worked closely with software engineers to test software updates and even acted as a project coordinator to help develop new software for my team. At the time, I thought this would be bad for my career because it took me away from the work of coordinating research projects, but when I wasn’t working with the software engineers, training staff on how to use new software, or developing new electronic processes, I found I didn’t enjoy my work. Eventually, it became clear that what I really loved doing was staring right at me for years.
2. Where are you currently working and what do you do?
I’m a Software Developer at Hulu, building the app experience for the Roku! The Roku team is a small team on what we call the Living Room Team at Hulu. The Living Room Team works on the front-end of the application for most of the devices you might use to watch Hulu in your living room (Roku, XBox, Playstation, etc.). I get to work on all parts of the application, including login/sign-up, the browsing experience, playback and the watchlist. Working on devices is really fun and introduces complexities that aren’t usually found in typical front-end web developer roles, and I really love the challenging problems I get to work on.
I also took a position as a new chapter leader for the Seattle chapter of Girl, Develop It! and I’m super excited to engage more women in the Seattle community in tech!
3. What’s your favorite part of your job?
The people! I work with a terrific bunch of engineers on the Living Room Team. As a junior developer, having engineers around who make me feel comfortable and welcome my questions makes Hulu feel like a really great place to start and grow my career. No one wants to step on others to get ahead, and there is a ton of collaboration and sharing of ideas and information across the team. I have a lot of opportunities to make a big impact and take ownership of large features, which isn’t something junior developers get to do very often at other tech companies. Hulu also just launched live stream TV on a few platforms, and being a part of such a big release, with everyone’s energy and excitement around me, has been awesome to see and be a part of.
4. Describe a typical day in your role.
I usually get in around 10-10:30am, and I’m most often the last person on my team to get in. I like sleep. Stand-up (daily update on what everyone is working on) is at 10:30am and even though I’m on a larger team, we get through it in about 15 minutes. I also like not being in meetings, so I’m really glad our stand-up is as long as stand-up meetings are supposed to be. After stand-up I am either picking up a new feature or bug or continuing to work on something I have assigned to myself. We work directly on the Roku and everyone has TVs and Roku devices scattered around their desks. I spend most of my day trying to reproduce bugs, debugging, and reading/writing code! In between all of the code reading and writing I’m bugging other devs to get their help understanding a problem.
5. Any advice you have for others looking to enter the tech industry as a programmer.
You have a place in this industry! The industry needs diversity – we need your ideas, your passion, and your dedication. This industry is not an easy one to be in, especially as an underrepresented person in tech, but if you enjoy programming I encourage you to stick with it. It’s empowering to use code to solve really interesting problems every day. If you’re wondering how to break into this industry, I think networking is huge. Knowing people who work in the industry and letting them see what you enjoy and why you want to be a programmer will help a ton when you’ve got the technical skills for the job.