Aaliyah, a principal software engineer, has been working at Brightspot since March 2015
Rose recently went on the record with Aaliyah Goodman. Aaliyah specializes in front end development and has worked on various projects within the platform organization. During their conversation, Rose and Aaliyah discuss her contributions to the Brightspot CMS, how her background in graphic design has benefited her as a developer, and her passion for traveling.
How long have you been working at Brightspot? What brought you here?
I have been working at Brightspot for a little over five years now. I previously worked at Travel Channel, which is one of Brightspot's clients. During that time, I met a few people from Brightspot and learned about the company. When I started looking for a change in order to have an opportunity to work for a variety of clients, Brightspot caught my eye and was a great opportunity.
Can you tell me more about your role and contributions at Brightspot working as a software engineer on the platform team?
My role on the platform team has a varied over the past few years. I worked on the user experience team for a while, then I led a team that built front-end themes and helped develop that feature, and, most recently, I've worked on Brightspot Native. I've definitely gotten around to a bunch of different teams within the platform organization!
In your opinion, what makes Brightspot unique to other content platforms?
I think what makes Brightspot unique is the combination of its versatility and ease of use. It's applicable to all different types of customers and industries, who can create their own unique experience. It's not a one-size-fits-all platform, instead it can be tailored to specific needs. Brightspot is robust in what it can offer but simple and intuitive in how it's developed. It has the best of both worlds.
I saw that you started your career in graphic design. How does that experience benefit as you as a software engineer?
Because I work on the front-end, being a graphic designer has helped a lot. I have a great relationship with our designers, because I know what they are looking for. Pixel-perfect development is one of my strengths because I can see what other engineers might miss because of that design background.
You’ve worked as a developer, specifically focused on web, for over fifteen years. How have you benefited from that experience?
Has it been 15 years!? Through my experience, I am able to help other people. That is something I really take to and get great satisfaction from doing. Helping college graduates and novice developers learn about engineering, how to collaborate with others, and take on leadership opportunities is a true joy. I appreciate being able to pass on my knowledge to others.
In March 2017, you traveled to Austria with 10 other Brightspot employees to volunteer for the Special Olympics World Games. What was the highlight of that trip?
The highlight was meeting all of the athletes. Seeing their energy and competitiveness was a lot of fun! Our team had a great time! It was a lot of work but so worth it. At the end of the trip, I actually got to compete in one of the Unified Sports Experience that our team helped organize. It was a really fun sport called stick shooting which is native to Austria and Germany and similar to curling or bocce.
What traits are most important to making you successful at your job?
I think patience and a willingness to learn are essential because technology is always changing. You can't know everything. Accepting that reality, asking questions, and being patient with yourself as you learn allows you to be a better developer.
Besides the people, what is your favorite part about working at Brightspot?
I think the culture is really special. I have worked for the government and Fortune 500 companies, so being at a smaller company has a unique feel. I like that the culture and management allow employees to grow and pursue their interests. At Brightspot, we are given the room to spread our wings and explore. The people are definitely top notch too!
What are your favorite activities or hobbies to do outside of the office?
I love to travel, but right now is obviously not a good time. I am definitely missing it. Traveling, seeing the world, and exploring other cultures is my favorite. I love experiencing different cultures and people and seeing how they live their lives. I have also been learning Spanish for the last year.
While we are at home physically distancing, do you have any book, television, or movie recommendations to share?
I'm trying to stay away from the television and news as much as possible these days, but recently watched Hamilton on Disney Plus for the first time and loved it. I've actually been sewing a lot more during the pandemic. It's a really peaceful activity.
Where would you go in a time machine? Why?
Any point in modern history that isn't dealing with a global pandemic! Seriously, I would want to go back in time to sit down and talk with Mahatma Gandhi. I want to learn how he remained committed to peace with so much going on around him, ask him questions, and soak up his knowledge.