March 20, 2014 - by Angie

Data nerd Zoe Kay, New Relic software engineer at work

Zoe Kay is a software engineer at New Relic's San Francisco office. She made basic webpages before going studying social science at Portland State. She spent time at Americorps and other good stuff before soul-searching, traveling, and dabbling in programming - and deciding it was her path. Zoe was in the first class at Hackbright Academy, which she started after completing several levels of Javascript on Codecademy's website.

Zoe Kay
Software Developer, New Relic

Zoe Kay is a software engineer at New Relic. Before becoming a developer, she studied social science at Portland State, worked at Americorps and dabbled in programming before deciding it was her path. Zoe is a graduate of the inaugural class at Hackbright Academy. Here is her story.

Building software never crossed my mind - until I started dating someone who did it as a living.

I saw some of the interesting projects they were working on and how they could make real world changes (health care software, etc).

While I couldn't understand the lingo when they were talking passionately, it seemed stimulating, challenging, and enjoyable - not at all the way I had pictured a programming job.

What's Your Favorite Part of Being a Software Engineer?

My favorite part of being a software engineer is the satisfaction of solving a hard problem: after working for hours and tracking down all the bugs, after many hours, finally seeing end-to-end success.

It's rewarding knowing that thousands of people will see/use what you've built at New Relic!

How Did You Get Your Current Job?

New Relic has been a partner of Hackbright Academy from the very beginning - I was in the first class at Hackbright, and I interviewed with New Relic at Career Day.

I was excited to work for them because developers I knew used/liked their product, they offer a real service, and I really like Portland, where most of their engineering team is. I interviewed at New Relic's Portland office and everyone was super nice - this was before their nice San Francisco office, so it was their attitude alone that got me. :)

I started working as an intern in Portland, moved to the San Francisco office as a junior developer, and have moved up to developer.

What's a Typical Day Like as a Software Engineer?

After getting in and eating breakfast, I go through the emails I've gotten. Then, I have standup meeting with my team.

I pick up where I left off the day before, which usually means coding Angular or Ruby on Rails. Sometimes it means:

- pairing with another developer on a hard problem we're both encountering
- writing up test cases to pass my work on to our QA engineer
- reviewing a pull request
- going to meetings for my project or with team

Best Advice?

As long as you keep learning, don't worry about how everyone else is doing. It is not a requirement to be obsessed with tech to be successful in it.


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