It’s Women in Engineering Day 2021 and we sat down with Diana to find a bit more about what she gets up to at Snowplow.
How would you describe what you do in a nutshell?
I’m a Front End Engineer on the Data Workflow team. I only joined a few weeks ago so I’m still figuring things out, but I spend most of my time working on Snowplow BDP, where I help to build new features and deliver great user experiences.
What does an average day look like for you?
Everything is still quite new and exciting, and, so far, no two days have really been the same! I currently split my time between picking up and working on tasks from our board and getting more familiar with the codebase and technologies I haven’t used before. There’s a lot to learn, so I try to take advantage of my team’s experience by asking as many questions as possible.
How did you get into engineering?
I never in a million years imagined I would be pursuing a career in engineering. I studied International Relations, and, with plans to work in the foreign service, I then followed that up with a Master’s degree in Diplomacy. However, my last year in university was financially stressful and made me realize I was less excited about pursuing a career in the field, so I worked a few different jobs after graduation while figuring things out.
I had previously shown an interest in programming in high school and later in university, but I’d always been terrible at maths and figured I wouldn’t get far in engineering without it. But having an unexciting job meant I had more energy to try out new things, so I started teaching myself the basics and ended up doing several small projects and realized how much fun it was to design and build things.
I craved a more structured environment where I could work with and learn from others, so I decided to enroll in a bootcamp. That was probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It allowed me to explore different paths and find the areas I was most interested in, and propelled me into a career where I continue to learn and feel inspired.
How has Snowplow compared with other roles?
The comparisons have all been positive! Moving from a medium-sized company that’s been around for a while to a growing startup, it’s been quite refreshing to see how much attention goes into maintaining transparency as the company grows. Everyone I’ve had a chance to speak with so far has been incredibly supportive. I take a lot of energy from my environment, so it has been exciting to be surrounded by such talented and driven people.
I was working remotely in previous roles, and it’s often easy to feel like I’m missing out on things because I’m not in the office when the majority are. Working at Snowplow is the first time I’m part of such a geographically-distributed team, but I always feel like I can easily reach people when I need to.
What advice would you give to young women and girls looking to get into engineering?
Probably the same advice I wish I could give my younger self: if there’s a spark of interest, chase after it! It’s really never too late or too early to get started.
I wish I had started sooner. Nowadays, there are so many opportunities available in software that it sure feels like there’s a place for anyone who wants it hard enough and finds it interesting.
Like with anything else, there are times when learning something new can be challenging, but that’s what makes it worth it. I used to go over tutorials or book chapters many times trying to understand various concepts and thought they would never make sense. Eventually, they did. Even now, I still have days where things just take longer to click. When I get insecure, I look back at how far I’ve come and just keep moving forward.
Most importantly, you’re your only competition. You’ll only be disappointed if you keep comparing yourself to people who have been doing this their whole lives. Focus on knowing more than you did the day before, do things you truly enjoy, and surround yourself with peers who support you and push you to get to where you want to be.
If you could see yourself in the Data Workflow Team alongside Diana, or in any of our roles, check out our careers site.