What is your favorite thing about technology and coding?
My favorite part about technology is its potential to improve humanity. I'm not convinced that we're at a place where technology can save the world just yet, but... I think it certainly has potential to be very instrumental for meaningful change in the future. My favorite part about coding is that it's just another form of self expression. With code, you literally have the ability to create worlds (object-oriented programming!), and that power is one of the strongest ways to create things that are a reflection of your interests and yourself.
What is your favorite project that you have created with code?
I have two! Once for a hackathon, I made a Tweet sentiment analyzer that determined whether or not a Tweet was positive, negative, or neutral. It worked with over 100 languages, which was cool because you could determine the sentiment of a Tweet in a different language without necessarily knowing what the Tweet meant. And when I was in school, I made a Netflix tracker that told you what percentage of your life you spent watching Netflix, and what percentage of your Netflix time was spent watching which shows. That was cool.
Describe a typical work day at Twitter.
I get into the office in the morning, and usually grab breakfast. While I'm eating, I check Twitter and emails. The rest of my morning is usually filled with meetings with engineers, designers, and other product managers. These meetings will vary from updates on what everyone's working on, to checkins on current product development, to scoping out new products. Then I usually head to lunch where I'll eat and hang out with folks. After lunch, I like to put time aside to think through and scope out some problem or product, and meet with any specific stakeholders that I need input from. The end of the day is a bit more miscellaneous, where I'll have meetings or work quietly alone to make sure I'm moving as quickly and thoroughly as possible.
What is the most challenging part of your job? What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Well, I'm still new so there's a lot to learn. I'm trying to play catch-up and execute at the same time, which I guess is the most challenging part. I feel very honored and humbled to be in a position where I can impact a product I love so much. That's very rewarding.
What do you like to do in your free time?
As cliche as it is, I really love what I do so work and "free time" often kind of swirl together. For example, I spend a lot of time on the internet, particularly on Twitter. It's hard to tell if I'm doing it for work or recreation at this point. That said, I also love watching movies, talking to my friends and family, and I love love love eating. Oh, and sleeping. I love sleeping.
Who inspires you?
This changes a lot, because a lot of people inspire me for various reasons. Recently, I've been really inspired by Kimberly Drew. She's the social media manager at the Met and she started the popular blog Black Contemporary Art. Kim talks a lot about speaking only to improve upon silence. I think about this a lot, in my job, on in the Internet, and in political spaces, and appreciate how applicable this level of thoughtfulness is across contexts. Anyway, yeah, she just seems cool.
Why do you think more girls should be involved in tech?
There are countless systemic barriers that prevent women from being able to or wanting to join this industry. More girls would probably want to be involved in tech without these systemic barriers that shouldn't exist to begin with.
What advice would you give to girls who are interested in pursuing computer science?
I always tell people that are interested in computer science to give it a good, hard shot. I can't promise that you'll love it, I also can't promise that you'll hate it, but you'll have no idea unless you really give it your all.
Follow Terri on Twitter @tcburning and check out her website! 💥