Learn how professionals in the tech
industry got to where they are today 
and what a day in the life looks like.

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Career Path: Orlatha Duffy, Software Development Manager at Chewy banner image

Career Path: Orlatha Duffy, Software Development Manager at Chewy

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What do the career path and the day-in-the-life look like for a Software Development Manager at Chewy?

We connected with Orlatha Duffy to find out!

Click here for a list of job openings at Chewy, or check out the right side of this page!


Where did you grow up? What did your parents do for work?

Belfast, Northern Ireland. My mother was an Irish step dancing teacher and my father was a professor in mechanical engineering.

Where did you go to college? What did you study and what were some of your initial jobs out of school?

The University of Ulster, Coleraine, Northern Ireland. Computer Science, I did an internship for 15 months during the third year of my degree at Microsoft and went back to work there after graduating.

What has attributed to your success thus far and has helped propel you to the position you have now?

A strong work ethic instilled by my parents at a young age and a belief that everyone deserves a chance if you are willing to work hard.

Can you share the high-level responsibilities of your current position as a Software Development Manager at Chewy?

I currently manage the technical CMS, Accessibility and SEO teams at Chewy.  We work in an agile environment and I manage all ceremonies as well as all projects for my teams.  I work closely with the product and business teams on our initiatives. 

Any tips for someone considering a career in Engineering?

Keep an open mind, learn as much as you can from the people around you and always strive to do your best.  Never be afraid to ask questions or listen to other's advice/opinions.


Day in the Life

Coffee, tea, or nothing?

Tea all day, every day!!

What time do you get into the office?

Between 8-9am

What are three things that motivate you in your role?

Team members and striving to do the best that I can for them.  Helping people and being an integral part of our A11Y (accessibility team) making strides to make our site accessible for everyone including people with disabilities.

Every day is different, but can you outline what a typical day looks like for you?

Every day is different, stand up’s, roadmap discussions, 1 on 1’s with team members, working through issues that arise, never a dull moment, we work in a very fast paced environment.

What time do you head out of the office?

Between 5-6pm

Do you log back in at night or do you shut it down completely?

Typically log back in at night or follow slack but I like to shut it down completely when I can.

Any productivity hacks?

Learn to multi-task and do it well….

What are the 3 apps that you can’t live without?

Chewy, Music & Whatsapp (connecting with family)

Who do you admire or call upon for professional advice?

I have a few bosses from previous roles that I now call friends and consult with them for advice.


Want to learn more about Chewy? Check out their BIZZPage

About the
Company

Chewy's mission is to be the most trusted and convenient online destination for pet parents everywhere. 

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Career Path: Jack Downey, Enterprise Account Executive at SmartBear banner image

Career Path: Jack Downey, Enterprise Account Executive at SmartBear

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What do the career path and the day-in-the-life look like for an Enterprise Account Executive at SmartBear?

We connected with Jack Downey to find out!

Click here for a list of job openings at SmartBear, or check out the right side of this page!


Where did you grow up?  What did your parents do for work?  

I grew up in Framingham Massachusetts, about a half-hour away from Boston. My Mom is a school teacher and my Dad is also in Sales like myself. Specifically HR Benefits. 

Where did you go to college?  What did you study and what were some of your initial jobs out of school?

I went to college at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. I studied “Management Engineering” which combined some science with a core business degree. I actually had a sales internship at the Mathworks during school, and always wanted to pursue B2B sales once getting into my degree. After graduating I immediately started here at SmartBear, June 2015.

What has attributed to your success thus far and has helped propel you to the position you have now?

Having a routine and taking value in your time is the number 1 catalyst to being successful in sales. Time is your most important asset. I attribute learning these concepts from the leaders I had in my life both personally (my dad) and the people I met at SmartBear (manager-level, director, peers). Being open, curious, and coming in with a positive attitude has made climbing the “success ladder” feel almost effortless. 

Can you share the high-level responsibilities of your current position as Strategic Account Manager at Smartbear?

The “SAM” role at SmartBear includes being an account manager (main point of contact) for a set list of SmartBear’s highest spending clients. I have 15 accounts whom I maintain relationships with and help build out SmartBear’s technology portfolio (17 different tools!) where it fits best through my clients. It is my job to grow and maintain our top customers.  

Any tips for someone considering a career in Sales?

Don’t be afraid of failure, embrace it, do your best to reflect why, and then quickly move on. Everyone fails at some point in Sales, it's part of the game

From the previous answer; Time is your most important asset. Always assess how you spend your time on a day-to-day (build a routine)

LISTEN. Listen to your peers, Listen to your management, most importantly listen to your customers. Customers have full control nowadays, all information at hand. You will build trust from being able to understand exactly what a customer is saying, and providing your best recommendation (which should inevitably lead to a sale)


Day in the Life

Coffee, tea, or nothing?

Coffee at least 2. But lately I have been enjoying Yerba Mate tea.

What time do you get into the office? 

7:45 - 8:15

What are three things that motivate you in your role?

Money (duh), Competition, and learning something new every day. Being in the tech space, always something new around the corner, and specifically with our top clients.

Every day is different, but can you outline what a typical day looks like for you?

- Sit in seat and open email for 5 minutes

- Coffee, eggs, cereal/banana

- Mentally walk through the calendar for the day

- Comb through any leads

- Comb through internal expectations I’ve set for different deals

- Maybe gym around lunch

- Complete a goal set for day (open opp, get a cold meeting, etc)

- rinse, repeat.

What time do you head out of the office? 

6-6:30

Do you log back in at night or do you shut it down completely?  

Definitely depends. I am an email addict and have it on my phone, so I am always tapped in in that regard. Typically I leave my laptop in the bag, unless it's EOQ  :) 

Any productivity hacks?

Eat breakfast, set a consistent routine,  end your day with planning tomorrow. 

What are the 3 apps that you can’t live without?

Uber/Lyft, Robinhood, Reddit

What professional accomplishment are you proudest of?

Consistently being able to visit customers and do large presentations with no longer being nervous. I’ve now done over 12 Customer visits the past year, which was brand new to me. Also being able to close the largest deal in company history this past September, but who knows how long that will be “the largest” (We’re blowing up!)

Who do you admire or call upon for professional advice?

 My Dad. He is in the same profession as I am and he always seems to know what is going to happen two-three steps down the road. He has an intangible knack for foresight, and gives great advice -  Thanks Mike Downey!

About the
Company

Smartbear's tools are built to streamline your DevOps processes while seamlessly working with the products you use – and will use

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Career Path: Geza Csank, Manager, Member Services at Virgin Pulse banner image

Career Path: Geza Csank, Manager, Member Services at Virgin Pulse

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What do the career path and the day-in-the-life look like for a Manager, Member Services at Virgin Pulse?

We connected with Geza Csank to find out!

Also, be sure to check out Virgin Pulse's Offices in Framingham and Providence.

Click here for a list of job openings at Virgin Pulse, or check out the right side of this page!


Where did you grow up?  What did your parents do for work?  

I grew up in the suburbs of Lausanne, Switzerland.  My father was a physician and my mother held our home together and ensured we were well prepared for.

Where did you go to college?  What did you study and what were some of your initial jobs out of school?

I studied at Northeastern University and majored in Print Journalism and minored in Philosophy. However, I always wanted to attend Berklee College of Music, which I did.

What has attributed to your success thus far and has helped propel you to the position you have now?

I don’t work for me, I work for the supervisors and the agents on the floor and they are my customers. Always approach every job and task with a positive attitude. 


Day in the Life

Coffee, tea, or nothing?

Coffee. All day.

What time do you get into the office? 

Usually come in around 7:30am. Quieter mornings help me organize my day and tend to any follow-ups.

What are three things that motivate you in your role?

Ensuring that my team is successful and they have been provided the opportunity to be successful.

Every day is different, but can you outline what a typical day looks like for you?

Run between meetings and support my team of supervisors

What time do you head out of the office? 

When my crew tells me to leave. There is always something going in the contact center and I tend to lose track of what time it is. 

Do you log back in at night or do you shut it down completely?  

A life/work balance is important. Through the years I have been able to totally focus on my family and tend to urgent off-hour work matters. It’s a fine balance, but it comes with the job. I am lucky to have a supportive family.

Any productivity hacks?

There is a  lot going on during the day but I found it useful to actually schedule blocks of time in my calendar to focus on projects and get out of the ‘weeds’ for a bit. 

Which apps can you not live without?

  • Spotify

  • Teams 

What professional accomplishment are you proudest of?

I’ve dedicated my career to the contact center and customer service. I started as a representative and was lucky to work in an environment that promoted and encouraged new ideas and development and collaboration. I’m proud of the hard work and dedication I’ve put in my work.

Who do you admire or call upon for professional advice?

My father-in-law was my to-go person. He provided a lot of advice on networking, integrity, managing skills and just life hacks in general. Great man. Smart man. It’s my time to pay it forward now.

About the
Company

We recharge your people. They ignite your business. Replenish your employees w/ tools that help them build habits that matter. Part of Virgin Group.

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Career Path: Rob Kim, Electrical Engineering Lead at Soofa banner image

Career Path: Rob Kim, Electrical Engineering Lead at Soofa

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What do the career path and day-in-the-life look like for an Electrical Engineering Lead at Soofa?

We connected with Rob Kim to find out!

Interested in working at Soofa? Check out all of the company's job openings on the sidebar!


Where did you grow up? What did your parents do for work?

I grew up in Moscow, Russia. My dad founded a construction company. My mom used to be a tax inspector, and now she helps my dad run the business. 

Where did you go to college? What did you study and what were some of your initial jobs out of school?

I went to Northeastern University to study electrical engineering. After graduating, I worked for a startup called ecoVent as an electrical engineer. Then, I joined Soofa.

What has attributed to your success thus far and has helped propel you to the position you have now?

Working for startups, you get a lot of responsibility. There has been a lot of trust from the leadership team for me to deliver, so that increase in responsibility helped me grow very quickly professionally.

Can you share the high-level responsibilities of your current position as Engineer at
Soofa?

I am responsible for hardware at Soofa. Most of it is on the electrical engineering side of things. That involves everything from prototyping, to reliable operation of the product in the field, to the implementation of scalable processes for manufacturing the Soofa Signs and products.

Any tips for someone considering a career in Engineering?

Most college graduates don’t know exactly what they want to dedicate their life to in terms of work. So, joining a startup allowed me to really understand what side of engineering I’m most interested in. Same goes for any other major. If you’re interested in marketing, you can join a startup and do marketing, and really understand what side of marketing excites you the most.


Day in the Life

Coffee, tea, or nothing?

Coffee.

What time do you get into the office?

10 AM

What is something that motivates you most in your role?

 Walking through the streets of Boston and seeing the product running in the field.

Every day is different, but can you outline what a typical day looks like for you? 

I come in at 10 AM and make a bowl of oatmeal and a cup of coffee. Then, I log in to my computer, check email, check Slack, review the performance of the Signs and sensors running in the field, and take a look at the project backlog in Asana. I prioritize tasks for the day and execute.

What time do you head out of the office?

I head out anywhere between 6-8 PM.

Do you log back in at night or do you shut it down completely?

I typically don’t log back in at night, unless I get an alert that a Sign is underperforming.

Any productivity hacks?

I stay productive by keeping everything in Asana, and staying on top of prioritization.

What are the 3 apps that you can’t live without?

○ WhatsApp to communicate with my family and friends
○ Instagram to stay on top of my friends’ social life
○ Slack to stay on top of my work stuff

What project are you proudest of?

Working with a contractor to design a custom power supply for our Soofa Signs was a challenging task, and certainly one of the projects that I’m most proud of.

Who do you admire or call upon for career advice?

My parents have been extremely helpful when choosing my next career step. They trust me to make the right decision, but at the same time can provide another point of view on my career decisions.

About the
Company

Soofa is the neighborhood news feed that connects a community with screens everyone can see and anyone can use.

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Career Path: Heidi Schmidt, Data Engineer at PatientPing banner image

Career Path: Heidi Schmidt, Data Engineer at PatientPing

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What do the career path and day-in-the-life look like for a Data Engineer at PatientPing?

We connected with Heidi Schmidt to find out!

Interested in working at PatientPing? Check out all of the company's job openings on the sidebar!


Where did you grow up?  What did your parents do for work?  

I was born in Columbus Ohio and most of my childhood was spent in Columbus and Dayton Ohio. My Mom worked in the Hotel Industry then in Hospice care. 

My Dad worked as a Mechanical Engineer for Kroger Bakery for most of his career. 

Where did you go to college?  What did you study and what were some of your initial jobs out of school?

I went to college at Ohio State University and took 4 classes my 1st semester. One of them was architectural history and from that I wanted to study Architecture. 

I had 3 jobs in college. One working informally for the Architecture Computer lab, The Smith Physics lab, and the MAGNUS computer group. 

Outside of school I was a paper delivery person from 10 years of age to my summer before college. 

I volunteered at the Center Of Science and Industry (COSI) all through high school. 

I worked remodelling houses and doing jobs for my Dad and step mom as well. 

What has attributed to your success thus far and has helped propel you to the position you have now?

A willingness to be an uncarved block. A desire to learn new things and make the world a better place. 
 

Any tips for someone considering a career in Engineering? 

Technology has changed so much so that we have tons of options. So many that it’s hard to reduce the noise to signal. My advice would be to get out and meet as many different people and see how you can help. 


Day in the Life

Coffee, tea, or nothing?

Tea in a large oversized mug

What time do you get into the office?

Typically 9AM -- though the MBTA can make it a challenge

What are three things that motivate you in your role?

The desire to make the world a bit better than I found it. Solving a puzzle. Collaboration. 

What time do you head out of the office?

I head out of the office around 4:30 p.m. because the MBTA is so variable. I end up checking things outside of the office and also do work when needed off hours. 

Do you log back in at night or do you shut it down completely?

Depends on what is needed.  I check my phone on the train as I try to stay focused during the day. Most of the time I shut down being available from about 9PM to the next day.  I check in the a.m. before I get into the office to be prepared for anything that may have occurred (mostly on the train) 

Any productivity hacks?

TextExpander rocks my world. It saves my brain a bunch of typing and can run quick shortcuts and commands that I use frequently. 

What are the 3 apps that you can’t live without?

  • Headspace

  • DataCamp

  • Sudoku 

What professional accomplishment are you proudest of?

At Gillette I reached out to the factory floor team to ask what their pain points were with their databases I supported. Their Boston database was not keeping up with reporting. After sorting out scope, the vendor, the types of needs for the software and the database options I was able to template the solution for 3 of the 5 factories, increase the speed, space, type, and throughput of the bare metal hardware, upgrade and tune the Oracle Database for one particular use case pattern, and provide them their reports in 8-10 minute that had been left to run for weeks on a dedicated work station on the factory floor.  Through my work the executive team was able to fix the original contract, obtain updated software, and get the deliverables promised by the vendor years ago when the system was first implemented.

About the
Company

Bamboo Health is a hyper-growth, cloud-based, mission-driven healthcare technology organization, transforming patient care through care collaboration.

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Career Path: Laura Matthews, Senior Solutions Consultant at JRNI banner image

Career Path: Laura Matthews, Senior Solutions Consultant at JRNI

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What do the career path and day-in-the-life look like for a Senior Solutions Consultant at JRNI?

We connected with Laura Matthews to find out!

Interested in working at JRNI? Check out all of the company's job openings on the sidebar!


Where did you grow up?  What did your parents do for work?  

Before moving to Boston, I grew up in Southampton, England, which I often have to clarify for people because they ask, “Where is that?” I always say, “That’s where both the Mayflower and the Titanic set sail from,” and then they get it. 

My dad works as a computer programmer, and my mum works as a professor at the University of Southampton, so I like to say that I get a nice blend of “tech smarts” from them. And, it’s no surprise that I work in technology. 

Where did you go to college?  What did you study and what were some of your initial jobs out of school?

I attended City University in London, but I actually only did so for a year. I found that experiential learning worked best for me, so I wanted to accelerate my start in the workforce. I learn best hands-on, and with technology, I believe there’s no better way to learn than by doing. 

I undertook a few internships at technology companies in London before, ultimately, joining the team at JRNI. The best thing about working in technology is that you can carve your own trail, and my internships significantly helped to build the foundation for my success today. 

When I moved from London to Boston for JRNI a couple years ago, I was looking for an adventure since I was working in London for six years and was ready for a change. I thought that moving to America would be a great opportunity for me to grow my career with the company, especially as JRNI continues to expand its U.S. operations. Since I’m immersed in our product every day, I thought that the opportunity to become the go-to resource for our solution in our Boston office would provide new and exciting career challenges. It’s one of the best decisions that I’ve made.

What has attributed to your success thus far and has helped propel you to the position you have now?

I’m genuinely passionate and interested in technology, and it’s always been a big part of who I am. I especially love hardware technology – I always have the newest smartphone, smartwatch, and other technology accessories. 

I also love researching technology before I buy it – you’ll often find me reading websites about certain products and analyzing the reviews, so you could say that research is a big component of being successful in my role. As a Solutions Consultant, I need to thoroughly research my prospects and clients to see how we can tailor our offerings to them. 

I also love teaching myself computer programming. When I first joined JRNI about five years ago, I didn’t know HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, for example, but I taught myself these programs by reading books and practicing to write code. I learn best through experiences and doing hands-on work. My role at JRNI is so hands on that there’s a lot that I need to continue to teach myself. 

Can you share the high-level responsibilities of your current position as Senior Solutions Consultant at JRNI?

As a Senior Solutions Consultant, I work with our Sales and Product teams, as well as prospective and existing clients, to ensure that we can fulfill their requirements in delivering an enterprise-grade platform that helps to increase conversions. I work with our customers and prospects to customize the JRNI platform to meet their business needs and goals. And, I’m working on building a team of Solution Consultants as I have one direct report here in Boston and currently looking to hire one more in London. 

Any tips for someone considering a career in your field of work?

My biggest tip for someone considering a career as a Solution Consultant is knowing how to translate technical jargon into everyday language. Solution Consultants work closely with developers on products, and they also work directly with customers and prospects, so they need to know how to explain complex concepts in simple English. It can be hard at first, but once you get to know the products you’re working with and selling, you can speak about them at the back of your hand. 

And, of course, take advantage of any learning opportunity that you can find, especially industry meetups. I enjoy attending outside workshops, as I’m involved with Lesbians Who Tech here in Boston. It’s a fantastic organization since I’m very passionate about women’s voices being heard in the male-dominated arena of technology.  


Day in the Life

Coffee, tea, or nothing?

  • Believe it or not, nothing. I’m the only British person you’ll ever meet who doesn’t drink tea. 

What time do you get into the office? 

  • I’m usually in the office by 9:30 a.m. and always work late – I thrive better later in the day. 

What are three things that motivate you in your role?

  • Great colleagues: We have a fantastic team here at JRNI, and I’m lucky to work with some of the smartest people in technology in Boston, London, and Sydney. As we say around the company: one team, one JRNI. 

  • Interesting technology: I love the platform that we’ve built (and constantly innovate) for some of the world’s biggest retailers and financial services organizations that we’re proud to call our customers. 

  • The beer fridge in the Boston office: There’s nothing better than a nice beverage at the end of the day with my amazing coworkers – cheers!

Every day is different, but can you outline what a typical day looks like for you?

  • When I’m traveling, I’m meeting with prospects and clients across the U.S. For example, within the past month, I’ve been to Buffalo, Seattle, Pittsburgh, Minneapolis, Dallas, and Washington, D.C. 

  • When I’m in the office, I’m working on a multitude of spreadsheets to determine how we can best configure and customize JRNI for our prospects and customers. 

What time do you head out of the office? 

  • I usually leave the office by 6:30 p.m. 

Do you log back in at night or do you shut it down completely?  

  • I’m always online – since technology is a big component of my life, I find it hard to shut down completely, even on holiday. 

Any productivity hacks?

  • Toby – I always have what seems like a million tabs open on my computer, so this tool helps me to stay organized with my tabs. It’s life-changing. 

What are the 3 apps that you can’t live without?

  • Expensify – it’s a great way to track expenses since I’m often traveling.

  • TransferWise – it’s a convenient way to transfer money from dollars to pounds because, as I always say, once a Brit, always a Brit. 

  • Facebook – it’s the best way to stay in touch with family and friends back in England, and of course, network and connect with others in the States. 

What professional accomplishment are you proudest of?

  • Moving from London to Boston to help build the Solution Consultants team here in the U.S.

  • Stepping up into a leadership position that continuously challenges me.

  • Growing with a company that puts both innovation and customers at the heart of its business. 

Who do you admire or call upon for professional advice?

  • I admire women in senior leadership roles at JRNI and other technology companies in Boston and London. I feel it’s important to go to these people for career advice when I need it. I really admire their drive and passion, especially in a male-dominated environment. 

About the
Company

JRNI is an enterprise SaaS scheduling platform for personalizing and optimizing the customer journey.

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How to Land a Career in Product Management - Top Boston Product Talent Share Their Tips banner image

How to Land a Career in Product Management - Top Boston Product Talent Share Their Tips

Career Path is a regular series on VentureFizz where we connect with individuals from our BIZZpages, which are the fastest-growing tech companies in the Boston tech scene. We learn a lot about each person's background and what a day in the life is like for them.

We have compiled advice from some of the Product Managers that have been profiled. They share the details on how job seekers can obtain a career in the field of Product Management. 


"Seize any opportunity you can to take on product management-like responsibilities at your current company, even if there is no formal product management team structure. Express your interest, and take on small tech projects to get your feet wet in working through an initiative from inception, to design, through build, to launch. And if you don’t have a technical background, don’t let that intimidate you. You’ll get used to taking on something that seems insurmountable to understand, and by the end of it, knowing very well what the inner workings are and how to explain them to others. I still face this from time to time and always tell myself that, as long as I keep asking questions, it’s only a matter of time until I understand and can speak intelligently about it."

Read Shana's Career Path here.

Click here for jobs at PlacePass.


"Reach out to people currently working in product. Ask to get coffee. Go to meetups and read as much as you can about the role. If you come from a technical background, that’s awesome, If not, don’t be intimidated or count yourself out of a career that really interests you. Figure out what draws you to product. Once you know, repeat that back to yourself and get good at telling that story to other people. If you come from a place of authenticity and genuine interest, people will respond well to that and want to help you as you jump into a new path."

Read Christine's Career Path here.

Click here for jobs at SessionM.


"My biggest tip to someone considering a career in product management is to embrace their background. There is no traditional product manager; the team is made up of people with a wide variety of experiences (professional and personal). I would also advise people to stay current and curious – inspiration can come from anywhere."

Read Chris' Career Path here.

Click here for jobs at BCG.


Nick Leonard

"Discover your personal spike? Are you the connective tissue that breaks down organizational silos? Are you the brilliant empathizer that has an uncanny knack for understanding users? Are you the engineer’s best friends with your perfect articulation of features and needs? There are lots of things a Product Manager has to do. Understand your strengths and play to them. Where you are weak, you get to choose: Either improve them or build a team that mitigates your weaknesses."

Read Nick's Career Path here.

Click here for jobs at Jobcase.


Maggie Brenner

"Talk to anyone you can who’s an engineer, product manager or designer. Learn about the variations between companies and which type of role you think will be best for you. I also went to a few meetups and introductory courses which gave me some solid baseline knowledge. There’s a ton of great literature out there about the PM role, product teams and how to work best with engineers which I would recommend reading. I found Cracking the PM Interview helpful in understanding what the interview process might look like. Think about what your best entry point is. For me, it has been beneficial to move internally. While I’m learning the role, I’m able to leverage strong knowledge of our product and customers."

Read Maggie's Career Path here.

Click here for jobs at Ellevation.


Colin Barry is the Content Manager for VentureFizz. Follow him on Twitter @ColinKrash

Career Path: Polina Atamyeyeva, Lead QA Engineer at Jackpocket banner image

Career Path: Polina Atamyeyeva, Lead QA Engineer at Jackpocket

Open Jobs Company Page

What do the career path and the day-in-the-life look like for a Lead QA Engineer at Jackpocket?

We connected with Polina Atamyeyeva to find out!

Click here for a list of job openings at Jackpocket, or check out the right side of this page!


Where did you grow up?  What did your parents do for work?  

Luhansk, Ukraine. Later, I won a Green Card lottery and decided to see what the future held for me in New York.

In Ukraine, my mother was a pediatrician and my father was a mechanical engineer. They recently immigrated to the USA, and they’re in the process of finding their path in this country. I respect them for being independent of me; it’s not an easy task to do in a foreign country at their age. 

Where did you go to college?  What did you study and what were some of your initial jobs out of school?

When I finished high school, I moved to Kharkov to get a degree in sociology.  I always loved big cities, which is why I moved from the small Luhansk to the significantly bigger Kharkov. While I was in college I worked with a marketing company. We conducted marketing research, doing all kinds of surveys and focus groups. Companies made advertisements for their products based on the research. I enjoyed every minute of my work.

When I moved to New York I decided to get a Bachelor of Arts from Hunter College CUNY, with a major in sociology and a minor in statistics, to increase my chances of getting a similar job here. While establishing myself in sociology, a friend of mine suggested quality assurance (QA), since it is an easier field to get into without having a master’s degree. 

At that time, I thought it was a crazy idea since I didn’t have a technical background. Since I am very adventurous, I tried it anyway. I am glad I did because I like what I do now. 

What has attributed to your success thus far and has helped propel you to the position you have now?

A few things:

  • The most important—my kids. I wanted them to be proud of their mom. I wanted to show them that with enough perseverance and optimistic attitude, you can do anything. 

  • My friends played an essential role too. They helped me to believe in myself and showed me how to not give up. 

  • I always have been lucky with my team. In all the places I’ve worked, colleagues have helped me to learn something new and grow. 

Can you share the high-level responsibilities of your current position as Lead QA Engineer at Jackpocket?

I am responsible for overseeing and making sure the Jackpocket apps and website work as expected, so that customer service has as little work as possible. The fewer issues that get into production, the fewer questions that need answering. And this includes making sure new features are usable and clear to end-users.

A big part of illuminating issues in production is established the right processes and communication between different teams. I like to think about QA as an art of collecting business requirements. During the process of building features, requirements get changed all the time. It is important to make sure to flag disconnect in early stages, and to bring everybody to the same page if something changes. 

Also, I know it may not seem this way but QAs are trying to save time for engineers. I am always researching what tools to use and what we can do to provide better coverage.     

Any tips for someone considering a career in engineering?

If I can do it with my degree in humanities, you can do it, too, if you like learning.

You will always need to learn something new since technologies are changing so quickly. But that’s what makes this field so interesting and dynamic. Also, if you encounter a problem, chances are that somebody else already has a solution. You are not alone. Just Google it. 

Polina Atamyeyeva


Day in the Life

  • Coffee, tea, or nothing? Coffee in the morning and tea during the rest of the day

  • What time do you get into the office? 9 - 9:30 am

  • What are three things that motivate you in your role?

    • It is always interesting to work on innovative features. I like seeing when a new feature is shaping up from nothing.

    • Customer feedback is also very motivational. It is very satisfying to see that somebody likes your efforts.

    • Challenges, when you need to figure something out. I get more energetic when I figure out some difficult tasks. 

  • Every day is different, but can you outline what a typical day looks like for you?

    • Usually, I start by reading emails and Slack notifications. It sets my priorities for the day. Later, we have a scrum meeting where everyone briefs the team about their work progress and challenges. After that, I get to my daily tasks, which usually involves asking a lot of questions. Everyone usually gets some: designers, product, marketing, not to mention engineers. I really appreciate everybody’s cooperation and patience. I am so lucky that everybody works as a team and contributes to the success of the projects.  

  • What time do you head out of the office? 

    • If there are no urgent issues I leave at 5 - 5:30 pm

  • Do you log back in at night or do you shut it down completely?  

    • I shut it down with very few exceptions. I appreciate that I can do all my work in the office. The schedule at Jackpocket is flexible enough to accommodate different people's needs. 

  • Any productivity hacks?

    • Get enough sleep. That is why I believe people should shut down Slack and work email at night or during vacation.

    • Be proud of your work. You need to be passionate about it. Make it interesting and challenging enough to keep you going, if it is not.

    • Sometimes you need to take a step back from what you are doing to find the best solution.

    • Always break big tasks into smaller, more manageable pieces.

  • What are the 3 apps that you can’t live without?

    • Jackpocket :) I open it every day. We’re on both iOS and Android

    • Angry Birds Blast. This game helps me to not be annoyed with New York public transportation and regroup after reading news in the morning. 

    • Splitwise. I do not use it every day, but it makes it so much more convenient to track expenses when you organize trips/events with your friends or relatives.

  • What do you love about Jackpocket?

    • We have very friendly and unpretentious people. Management puts a lot of effort into making sure people enjoy working here, and it’s very noticeable. We do a lot of fun activities like happy hours, trips to Six Flags, a field day with Zog Sports, and more. And the office is a reflection of who we are, right down to the “Jackpocket blue” of our phone booths.

  • What professional accomplishment are you proudest of?

    • I am usually very proud of releasing features that were difficult to develop. That said, I always think that my biggest accomplishments are in my future. 

  • Who do you admire or call upon for professional advice?

    • It depends on the professional advice I need. I reach out to different people. My husband is probably my most trusted advisor at the moment.   

    • I have a deep respect for people who are passionate about what they do. They usually know a lot of information and think outside of the box. 


Alexander Culafi is Producer & Editor for VentureFizz. He also edits and produces The VentureFizz Podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @culafia.

About the
Company

Jackpocket is the first mobile lottery app in the U.S. that offers players a secure way to order official state lottery tickets, such as Powerball, Mega Millions, and more, via their smartphones.

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Career Path: Margaret Leoffler, Marketing Manager at TriNetX banner image

Career Path: Margaret Leoffler, Marketing Manager at TriNetX

Open Jobs Company Page

What do the career path and day-in-the-life look like for a Marketing Manager at TriNetX? 

We connected with Margaret Leoffler to find out!

Also, TriNetX is hiring. Check out all of the company’s job openings on the list to the right.


Margaret Leoffler
Margaret Leoffler, Marketing Manager at TriNetX

Where did you grow up?  What did your parents do for work?  

I grew up in Brattleboro, Vermont and I moved to Stoughton, MA when I was 14. My mom is an accountant and my dad was a tire salesman.

Where did you go to college?  What did you study and what were some of your initial jobs out of school?

I went to Drexel University. I studied English but wanted work experience, which is why I chose Drexel, which is a Co-Op school. My first two co-ops were in education, and my third was in a corporate communications department for Comcast. It was there where I realized I prefer working in a corporate environment. I interned there for another eighteen months, and went on to work in marketing & business development at a few different companies in Philadelphia.

What has attributed to your success thus far and has helped propel you to the position you have now?

I make it a point to be explicit and goals-driven with my managers when it comes to my professional development. I also am the type to look at my colleagues as collaborators, not competition. I really enjoy coordinating projects across departments and try to make sure I have a good working relationships with the different departments. I really do think that success can be had when you position long-term projects as something we’re all working on together.

Can you share the high-level responsibilities of your current position as Marketing Manager at TrinetX?

Much of my work is based on lead generation. I currently manage our webinar series which occurs quarterly. I also project manage the creation of our marketing materials, ensuring that our many collaborators contribute and sign off by the deadline. I also coordinate programming for many our events. There are many one-off projects and requests coming in from the company all the time.

Any tips for someone considering a career in Marketing?

Do your research; see what other similar companies are doing so you can stay up-to-date on the latest marketing trends.


Day in the Life

Coffee, tea, or nothing?

Coffee! We have cold brew taps in our office and I definitely take advantage of that perk daily.

What time do you get into the office? 

Between 8:30 and 9 AM.

What are three things that motivate you in your role?

My company is a very welcoming place to work. I really like my coworkers; being a woman at a tech company can sometimes be a challenge, but TriNetX has a great group of supportive women working here, many in visible leadership positions, which makes a huge difference. I attached a photo of a gift given to the women of our office on International Women’s Day, which included a book of inspirational quotes from women throughout history, and some cute custom cookies.

What time do you head out of the office? 

Usually 5 PM.

Do you log back in at night or do you shut it down completely?  

It depends; if we have a deliverable or event within the week I will, and I’ll check email in the evenings after dinner.

Any productivity hacks?

Keep a checklist of items you need to do, however small they may be. I keep mine in a file on my desktop, and I’ll often add pictures and use funky font colors to keep it cheerful.

What are the 3 apps that you can’t live without?

Twitter, Spotify, and Slack.

Who do you admire or call upon for professional advice?

 My mom!


Colin Barry is the Content Manager for VentureFizz. Follow him on Twitter @ColinKrash

Images courtesy of Margaret Leoffler

About the
Company

The Global Health Research Network for Healthcare Organizations, BioPharma & CROs.

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Career Path: Andy Sweezey, Sr. Engineer, Product Development at Owl Labs banner image

Career Path: Andy Sweezey, Sr. Engineer, Product Development at Owl Labs

Open Jobs Company Page

What do the career path and day-in-the-life look like for a Sr. Engineer, Product Development at Owl Labs?

We connected with Andy Sweezey to find out!

Interested in working at Owl Labs? Check out all of the company's job openings on the list to the right!


Where did you grow up?  What did your parents do for work?  

I grew up in the town of Saugus, Massachusetts just nearby. My parents both worked in emergency services -- my dad as a police officer, and my mom as a Critical Care Nurse.

Where did you go to college?  What did you study and what were some of your initial jobs out of school?

I proudly attended Northeastern University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. One of the major benefits of my time at NU was the ability to get work experience in my field before completing my degree through the co-op program.

I  worked for two companies: a local division of a large connector company called Amphenol PCD and iRobot. After graduation, I returned to iRobot as a full-time engineer focused on floor care robots and continued to work there for five years. After leaving iRobot I joined Coravin, a company focused on changing the way consumers enjoy wine.  

What has attributed to your success thus far and has helped propel you to the position you have now?

There are many factors that came together to get to where I am today, starting with the support of my parents. They showed me that life-long learning, hard work, and a good attitude are the keys to a satisfying career.

Professionally, I owe much of my success to mentorship from the many engineers I've had the privilege of working with. Every project has been an opportunity to learn a new skill or gain valuable feedback from folks with different backgrounds and levels of experience.  

Can you share the high-level responsibilities of your current position as Sr. Engineer, Product Development at Owl Labs?

At Owl Labs, I'm focused on all phases of hardware development for our product, the Meeting Owl. It’s a 360° smart conferencing camera that goes in the center of the conference room table and automatically focuses on people when they talk. The result is a remote meeting experience that nearly feels like sitting in the room with the team.

In my role, I coordinate with electrical, software, and mechanical engineering to create a product architecture that meets customer needs. I also develop the detailed mechanical design and assembly through collaboration with manufacturing partners and assist operations with the meticulous documentation of the bill of materials. Finally, I also work with quality engineering to ensure the product exceeds the reliability requirements.

Any tips for someone considering a career in Engineering?

Get involved. As a young engineer, a “no job too small” attitude will allow you to contribute in small impactful ways, as well as complicated and interesting projects. Each project is an opportunity to work alongside people with more experience so you can ask questions and learn new things.

Also, don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Focus on failing fast, documenting what happened, learning from the experience, and moving on.


Day in the Life

Coffee, tea, or nothing?

It used to be strictly tea, but lately, I've been getting on that coffee train. Fancy coffee and donuts near our office have definitely had an impact.

What time do you get into the office?

Something unique to the Owl Labs culture is that we live and breathe remote work and flexibility.  When I choose to work from the office, I usually arrive between 9:30 and 10:30 AM. When my to-do list and schedule line up, I often choose to work from home (or anywhere) to maintain a good work-life balance for myself.

What are three things that motivate you in your role?

It’s easy to be motivated when working for an energetic, growing company. The satisfaction of delivering a robust product that delights the customer is top of mind. Another example is looking around at other departments and seeing how my contributions impact the team as a whole.

Every day is different, but can you outline what a typical day looks like for you?

The typical workday would start by checking for any messages from manufacturing partners that were sent overnight. From there, the day-to-day could vary from evaluating product or component samples, working in CAD to develop or iterate on a new design, building and testing prototype assemblies, reporting on design status and soliciting feedback. I wrap the day up by sending messages back to the manufacturing partner, keeping them up to date on progress made or changes in direction.

What time do you head out of the office?

I’ll typically head home between 6:00 and 7:00 PM. If I’m working from home, I simply wrap up when I’m done!

Do you log back in at night or do you shut it down completely?  

I'll log back in at home for a couple of different reasons, but not necessarily every night.  Sometimes there’s a need to hop on a conference call with the manufacturing partner or support remote teammates by reviewing work or commenting on an ongoing discussion, especially if there’s a pending deadline.

Any productivity hacks?

The old fashioned to-do list is what keeps me organized and productive, but I’m open to suggestions!

What are the three apps that you can’t live without?

My favorites are Zoom, Slack, and Creo Parametric.

What professional accomplishment are you proudest of?

Product launches, quality improvements, and meeting schedules are all accomplishments to be proud of and celebrate, but nothing feels better than when a customer buys and likes the product you worked on.

We have thousands of successful customers who use the Meeting Owl every day, and I’m honored to be a part of that.

Who do you admire or call upon for professional advice?

It depends if the subject is professional development/culture or design, but in general, I lean on a network of former managers and colleagues when I get stuck.


Colin Barry is the Content Manager on VentureFizz. Follow him on Twitter @ColinKrash

Images courtesy of Owl Labs

 
 
 

About the
Company

We build cutting-edge technology that creates deeply immersive collaborative experiences. 

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