Ever wonder what it’s like to work on Yelp’s engineering team? Today, we talk to Dorothy, a Software Engineer on Yelp’s Ad Backend team. Her team focuses on making real-time data available for our advertisers and sales operations teams, as well as providing tools and controls for our advertisers to manage their ad campaigns. Dorothy’s team is responsible for ensuring billing for our advertisers is done correctly. Accuracy is crucial, since roughly 80% of Yelp’s revenue flows through her team!
What were you doing prior to Yelp? How’d you find out about the opportunity at Yelp?
Before Yelp, I was an undergrad at UC Berkeley studying Computer Science and French literature. As an avid user of Yelp, I naturally visited the Yelp booth at our school’s career fair.
Why did you choose Yelp?
Upon graduating from college, I took many factors into consideration when deciding on where to settle into my first job. Most of these were pretty standard, including a desirable location, interesting work, and company culture. But I also looked for companies with women in the engineering org, especially women as managers or technical leads.
I decided on Yelp because, in addition to offering all of the requirements I mentioned earlier, I felt like I would have the most potential for growth here. I have a voice here, in part because other women before me spoke and people listened to them. There are brilliant female engineers on my team and managers on my floor, and I always meet more during events regularly organized by Yelp AWE (Awesome Women in Engineering) employee resource group. These events include a quarterly mixer, a mentorship program to pair each AWE member with another engineer or manager, and social events like mini-golfing, high tea, and a jiu-jitsu class.
What does a typical workday look like for you?
I usually get into the office between 10:30am and 11am. When I first get into work, I check emails and follow-up on any action items. Our team has a daily standup meeting, so after the meeting I set a plan for what I’m going to work on that day. I spend about an hour reviewing code for engineers on my team and other teams. Afterwards I go out for lunch with my team. In the afternoon, I break up my time into blocks for project work. Late afternoon is when I’m most productive. I write new code, test and deploy any feature changes, and attend meetings to discuss project progress. I end up leaving the office around 6:30pm.
What’s the best project you’ve worked on so far?
It was actually the first project that I led, which was to monetize the Request A Quote flow on the desktop site. On Yelp, we have a feature where you can send a message to a business to get an estimate on the services that they offer. After sending the message, the user receives a list of similar businesses to send the same message to. The project involved adding advertising businesses to this flow.
What’s a common misconception about women engineers, if any?
All too often being a woman engineer also means you have to be a trailblazer or a pioneer. Being a woman engineer means spending a lot of time thinking about how to word your ideas carefully so others won’t dismiss you, or finding leaders who were once in a similar position as you, or trying to convince your superiors to provide more resources for you when they haven’t had to provide those resources for anyone in the past. At Yelp, it’s nice not being “the first” nor “the only.”
Advice for future engineers?
Be confident in your own abilities. There were many crossroads in college where I had to make decisions about my major, or my next internship, or what I would do after graduation. At every turning point, I was faced with great self-doubt. Even after having reached a milestone successfully, that doubt didn’t go away. It was only after a couple of years and learning about imposter syndrome that it started to fade. The more you hear the words “you can do it,” the more natural it will become, and soon you won’t have to keep telling yourself that you’re good enough.
Does Dorothy’s role pique your interest? Yelp is hiring for software engineers. Check out our open positions and apply today!
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