Engineering Romance At Zoosk – Meet 4 Women In Tech

zoosk

This Friday, join Women 2.0 for Founder Friday San Francisco at Zoosk’s office in San Francisco – hosted by Ruchi Sanghvi (Co-Founder, Cove – acquired by Dropbox) along with special guest Beth Budwig (UX Manager, Zoosk).

By Kristin Bradley (UI Developer, Zoosk)

“A Zoosk engineer promised me I would learn more in my first year than in the previous four years of my career… and it turns out he was right.” – Beth Budwig, Zoosk UX Manager (pictured, right).

Here are a series of short interviews with some of the great women working in Zoosk’s Engineering department.

Beth Budwig – UX Manager

What is your background?I was an art major with a focus on painting, and was then a jack-of-all-trades web designer for years before I became a UI Developer at Zoosk, and then eventually a User Experience (UX) Manager.What do you do at Zoosk?I’m the UX Manager – that means I protect designers from chaos!What convinced you to join Zoosk?

A Zoosk engineer promised me I would learn more in my first year than in the previous four years of my career… and it turns out he was right.

What most excites you about working for Zoosk?

Hiring people and watching them grow into their roles.

What has kept you at Zoosk for 3 years?

I’m never bored.

What do you like most about the working environment?

The difference between working for a competent and engaged CEO and most CEOs is like night and day. The way our CEO and our president care about quality trickles down to all the different departments.

Is there anything you would like to change?

Sometimes I think I’d like to change Zoosk to be more predictable… but then it would be a bit boring.

Kristin Bradley – UI Developer

What is your background?I graduated with a degree in Fine and Applied Arts. After college, I got a job designing books at a publishing company in Tokyo. I created an English language web site for the company to help promote their products. After that, I got more and more interested in web design and frontend development.What do you do at Zoosk?I work as the primary UI developer for Zoosk’s Touch team, which is responsible for building the mobile version of the Zoosk web application optimized for devices such as Android and iPhone.What first attracted you to working at Zoosk?

I was initially attracted to Zoosk due to the strong emphasis placed on collaboration, valuing employee contributions, and respecting team member’s ideas as described in the recruiting section of the company’s web site.

What do you like most about your job?

It’s been a great learning experience working at Zoosk. I’ve been able to use and experiment with a lot of new coding techniques such as responsive design and am also able to make much greater use of HTML5 and CSS3 than previously, especially after joining the Touch team ,since we don’t have to worry about supporting older IE web browsers for our product.

What do you like most about working for Zoosk?

I really appreciate the working environment here at Zoosk. There’s a strong culture of respect and valuing ideas including the importance of keeping up with tech debt and optimizing the development environment to make developers’ jobs easier and more efficient – things which can get overlooked in companies too dominated by marketing departments or pushing things out quickly without regards to quality or maintainability.

I also appreciate the strong commitment to diversity. Zoosk has employees from all over the world and has had the greatest number of female engineers of any company I’ve worked for. They’ve also been very supportive of the Women’s JavaScript Study Group I founded together with my co-worker, Beth Budwig.

Sue Anna Joe – UI Developer

What is your background?

After deciding not to pursue a degree in graphic design, I completed my college career with a Bachelor’s in Communication and Journalism. In the early 2000s, however, I returned to my creative interests and began my career in graphic and web design as a freelancer. I eventually accepted a position at a web agency as creative director. In that capacity, I expanded my skill set to include work with content management systems, project management, customer training and search engine optimization.

What do you do at Zoosk?

I build the DOM structure and CSS for new web platform features, fix layout bugs, and offer feedback on new features. I also suggest ideas for improving the existing user interface. Each quarter, I report customer usage of browsers, operating systems and screen resolutions as well.

What first attracted you to working at Zoosk?

The culture at Zoosk dovetails well with my own values. Among these are open communication, a customer-centric approach, high standards and a work/life balance.

What do you like most about your job?

I love building a product used by millions of people worldwide. Our customers deserve a fun and engaging experience, and I love playing a part in their enjoyment of our product.

What do you like most about working for Zoosk?

My favorite aspect about Zoosk is the people. Our teams are comprised of outrageously smart, professional, and dedicated nerds who take their jobs seriously but still know how to enjoy themselves.

Sara Navidpour – Software Engineer

What is your background?I studied Computer Science in my undergraduate studies and then got a Master’s degree also in Computer Science in which I researched automated software verification.I began working on a PhD degree in the same area of research but half way through I realized I was more interested in Web development and that’s how I ended up working for Zoosk.What do you do?Frontend development, mostly with JavaScript.

What first attracted you to working at Zoosk?

Three things: It’s a successful startup. The people working there were mostly younger. They had a small but capable and productive team.

What do you like most about your job?

I enjoy developing features and seeing people actually use them. It’s great being able to see new features implemented in only two weeks.

What do you like most about working for Zoosk?

The fun environment – we have great lunchtime conversations. It’s also great knowing you are working for a successful company.

Women 2.0 readers: What is your favorite part about working in a startup’s engineering department? Let us know in the comments!

About the guest blogger: Kristin Bradley is a UI Developer at Zoosk. Prior to Zoosk, she worked for Involver as a frontend web developer for custom Facebook social marketing applications for brands including Levi’s, Nike, Lilith Fair and jetBlue. Before moving to San Francisco, she lived and worked in Japan for 6 years. Born in California, she grew up mainly in Oregon and graduated from the University of Oregon in Eugene, majoring in fine and applied arts with an emphasis on visual design. Follow her on Twitter at @kristinlb.