I always begin my field books with a quote.
"Think more, design less."
-- Ellen Lupton
This was the first quote in my first field book; however, this wasn't the where I imagined myself many years ago.
When I first began coding, I envisioned a completely different path I would have traveled down. In the 10th grade, while I was still attending high school in New York, my dream was to become a video game designer, more precisely, an indie developer. I continued down this path and got into UC Berkeley as a Computer Science major. I joined the premier entrepreneurship organization on campus (Sigma Eta Pi) and became heavily involved with startups and the culture. During the summer after my sophomore year I did a intensive study abroad program in Florence, Italy; basking in the culture, coffee, and gelato. I came back a fiend for coffee. (Still haven't found espresso that is seemingly as strong.) Before graduating Cal, I was a design intern at two different companies. During my summer before senior year, I worked with Last.co assisting in the design of the process flows, multiple UI elements, and general company direction. My other design position was focused on data visualization for The Climate Corporation. You might question why, as a Computer Science major, did I chose to do design over software engineering internships? For starters, design is something that is apparent in everyday life, but few have been trained for it. I wanted to be able to justify why one product's design is better than another product's design in an objective sense. To be aware of how a product is in the hands of end users is also extremely important, even for backend engineers; knowing how your product is used is important.
About a month after graduating I took my first software engineering position in a more backend focused role for Gap Inc. We are working on an internal tool to help the promotional planners make better judgement calls. The skills I've learned from the design internships have assisted me in the agile methodologies we practice at Gap. Before playing any cards or stories, I make sure the team and myself are aware of the business impact or features we are enabling (or are on track to enabling) for our end users. The first project I was a part of at Gap was multi-brand enablement, this allowed our tool to be used not only by Gap Outlet, but also Old Navy and the majority of the markets both brands are in (US, Canada, Japan...). The second, and current, project I am working on is a better optimization model and system allowing for faster and on-demand processing. We are migrating from SAS to Gurobi and EC2 for distributed cloud optimization. We have created RESTful API's for up to date data for the engine. For each 1% adopted we are able to increase the profits by an additional 4 million yearly.
Fueled by coffee and music.