1. What were you doing before you became a Software Engineer?
I came to the US at 17 and got an industrial engineering degree from the University of Washington. Not long after, I started working for a private company as a laser engineer. The bulk of my work was conducting experiments to qualify new manufacturing processes. I also worked closely with quality control to keep an eye on our defect rate. I enjoyed creating algorithms for our quality control department so much that I decided to pursue programming.
2. Where are you currently working and what do you do?
I am a Software Dev Engineer at Impinj. Impinj makes RFID readers and tags that are widely used in every day business applications. An example of RFID use is how someone might know their marathon finishing time. The runner is given a bib (which has a tag attached) and they’ll have a reader at each checkpoint to record the time the tag passes through. All this is done using radio frequency and the tags get their energy from the reader. My team writes the firmware that keeps our RFID readers running. I’ve mainly been working on the reader’s user interface and fixing a bunch of security loopholes in our code. With the next generation firmware scheduled to be released soon, we’ll be starting from scratch, so I’m excited to build from the bottom up.
3. What’s your favorite part of your job?
Aside from writing code, I’ve recently been sponsored to join a program available at work called WiRL that develops women in leadership roles. What I like so much about the program is that I’ve been introduced to a network of supportive and intelligent women in the company. Having someone to talk to outside of my team definitely helps I also LOVE my food, so the endless array of snacks they provide is a close second.
4. Describe a typical day in your role.
Get to the office between 8-9. Reply emails/slack before standup at 9:30. In between meetings, I’ll: 1)Write code, 2)build an image, 3)upload to reader, something breaks, repeat steps 1-3 until desired outcome. There can be a lot of waiting during step 2, this is when I sneak to the break room for some noms.
5. Any advice you have for others looking to enter the tech industry as a programmer.
Starting out fresh in the tech industry can be daunting at first. You will be bombarded with new information and sometimes your code will fail and you will feel stupid on a daily basis. But as long as you have the passion and belief in yourself, you will be just fine! Secondly, never be afraid to ask for help and always value ideas, feedback and criticism. Lastly, just have fun and get to know the community. You will meet people who share your experience and this will only help you grow your network. You can’t always do it alone and having a network is absolutely important before you go out looking for your new job.