How did you get involved in tech?
I was working at a small music management company & part of the job required that I know a little bit of HTML to update our artist's websites. My friends & I used to make websites in middle school as an extension of our AOL profiles so I knew a bit from that. I studied for the interview, got the job & then just continued to teach myself from there. I started taking on freelance work & then eventually decided I wanted to focus on development full-time.
What did you major in during college?
Art History with a minor in Dance.
Describe a typical work day.
I get in to work & check Pivotal Tracker - a website we use to keep track of our open "stories" or projects. I select whatever story is highest priority from the current sprint (the scrum term for current work cycle, which for us is two weeks). If it's a bug, I spend some time investigating what could be causing the issue & fix it. If it's a feature I write code to implement the new functionality for our site. Mid-day we have standup, a short meeting in which my team, the web team, get together to quickly regroup & check-in on what we did yesterday, what we're working on today & if we have any blockers preventing us from doing our work. From there I continue to work on stories. When I'm done with a project I put the code on a staging environment, a replica of our site, for quality assurance review. This is to make sure any changes I want to make don't have unintended side-effects on production. I also make a PR (pull request) for my changes in Github. PRs require a code review from another developer - this is to ensure that we are writing readable, maintainable code. Github allows you to see line-by-line differences between the new code & what's currently on production. If it's a Friday we end the day with a company-wide demo. If my team has just released a major update we'll show it off.
What is the most challenging part of your job? What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I think fixing bugs can be the most difficult task because it means something wrong is hiding in our code & slipped through our checks. Often there's not a clear path to determining what it is. I enjoy problem solving so it's very rewarding to figure out what caused a bug & then determine what the solution to the problem is. Another very rewarding part of my job is the act of building something, putting it out into the world, seeing the number of people who use it & realizing that total strangers are using a product I helped make.
What is the best part about working at Giphy?
GIPHY is a really excellent company to work for. The people are smart, talented & kind. Management genuinely cares about their employees & puts that sentiment into practice. I love the product & used the GIPHY api in a personal project before joining the company. We're also still small enough that an individual can have an impact on the product without all the red tape of a bureaucracy.
What is your favorite thing about technology and coding?
I like that it's a field that values learning & that I'll never stop learning. You also don't need to wait to be taught something or have another person's approval, you can teach yourself or make something yourself & distribute it relatively easily. There are a lot of free resources to anyone with an internet connection. I like that self-sufficient, DIY aspect to it.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I read a lot of non-technical books. I watch YouTube videos to learn new things. I love music, fashion, art & I'm a pop-culture junkie.
What are three words that you would use to describe yourself?
Creative, enterprising & resilient.
What is your favorite social media app/website?
I didn't realize it until now but I think Twitter might be my favorite social app! I check it obsessively during major events to read reactions from a weird mix of strangers & celebrities.
Why do you think more girls should be involved in tech?
Diversity brings with it the best kind of "disruption." I think it will breed innovation & help us all think differently. This kind of inclusivity benefits the user, the product & the business. Working in tech is fun - if you're interested in it & have access to a computer you have nothing to lose by giving it a try.
Follow Emily on Twitter @Emily_0Brien and check out Giphy 😎