Harshitha Mattapally sits down with Rose to discuss her history with Brightspot, what it's been like to work extensively with GraphQL on the platform team, and the advice she has for the next generation of female software engineers.
Before starting full-time, you interned at Brightspot in summer 2019. Can you tell me about that experience and how it impacted your decision to work here full-time?
As an intern, I really didn't know what to expect; but, I had a great experience that summer. I met a lot of cool people and learned so much in a very short period of time. When they offered me a full-time position at the end of the summer, I knew that this would be a great place for me to grow as a developer and I could really see myself coming back here after I graduated.
One of the coolest parts about being an intern at Brightspot is that you are treated like a full-time employee and work side-by-side with a mentor on the same project. It made me feel valued from the start.
What inspired you to become a software engineer?
Everyone in my immediate family is in tech, so from a young age, I was exposed to the IT industry and thought it was really interesting. In high school, I took a computer science class which piqued my interest early on and lead me to major in computer science in college. I think it's cool that more women are going into the tech world now and that a career in this industry is no longer out of reach. I am proud to be a woman in tech.
Can you tell me about your role on the platform team and what you are currently working on?
I am a software developer on the platform team and have been working here for about year and a half. Since I started, I've been working on the GraphQL plugin. It has been super cool and I've definitely learned a lot. I've also gotten to work on other features in Brightspot like Assignment Desk and other CMS improvements as well. I just want to keep learning and am excited to work on different features in the future.
You've done lots of interesting work during your time here. Is there a particular feature you've built or problem you've solved that you are most proud of?
When I started, I didn't know much about GraphQL. Being able to work on features and improvements for the plugin has been really rewarding because I know that a lot of people and projects have been able to utilize it and reap the benefits from my work, which has been pretty nice to see.
On March 8, we celebrate International Women's Day. As a female software engineer, what advice would you share with young women who are interested in pursing a career in the technology industry?
I would encourage women to keep striving and even if there are not as many females around you in classes or at work to not get discouraged. Remember that you are as smart and as capable as everyone around you. Be confident in your skills and keep on learning. In time people will recognize that.
What traits are most important to making you successful at your job?
Being tenacious and curious are really important. You need to be able to ask questions and inquire about things and not get discouraged when you cannot figure it out immediately. I think those are important traits to have as a developers. Problem solving is also a pretty big one too!
Besides the people, what is your favorite part of working at Brightspot?
I think the environment at Brightspot is really great. It's a good place to grow and learn. It's very accepting and it feels very opening to new individuals. In moments when you don't feel as smart or as capable, no one ever discourages you. It's a great place to ask questions and that has helped me grow as a developer here.
What are your favorite activities or hobbies to do outside of the office?
I have liked art since I was little and still enjoy drawing and painting. I do a lot of different styles of art in both digital and traditional media. Art helps me de-stress after work or on the weekends.
As the weather warms up, what spring activity are you most excited about?
I am excited to go hiking once the weather gets warmer again. I really like going outside and spending time in nature. I'm looking forward to going to warmer places and getting to spend some time outside.
What was the last movie you saw? Would you recommend it?
The last movie I saw was tick, tick...BOOM! with Andrew Garfield. It's on Netflix. I liked it. I thought it really interesting because it's based on a real playwright named Jonathan Larson. I don't know if it would be for everyone, but I enjoyed it.