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Below is an article originally written by Ramon Alvarez at PowerToFly Partner RapidSOS, and published on October 18, 2018. Go to RapidSOS' page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.
Wondering what it's like to be on the Engineering team of a rapidly growing start-up? Lauren Javaly shares why she wanted to work at RapidSOS, her passion for her job, and what it is like to be a woman in tech.
Q: Why did you want to work at RapidSOS?
A: I was really attracted to RapidSOS' mission and everything we're doing and can continue to do to help save lives. So much of what tech is used for right now doesn't contribute to any serious change and I liked the idea of working on a practical solution to a real problem.
Q: What motivates you?
A: The team. The engineering team as a whole is made up of really smart and hard-working people. There is a shared focus within our group of collaborating and growing as a team and a company. Learning is my passion and I've learned a huge amount since joining.
Q: How did you find yourself on the engineering team?
A: So I didn't study computer science in school—double majored in philosophy and biology, actually—but I happened to take a programming class as an elective and immediately realized that it was what I wanted to do. From there I got a job at a small tech startup and eventually transitioned into engineering. Fortunately, this is an industry where people respect being self-taught and joining RapidSOS gave me the opportunity to really dive in.
Q: What is the best part of your job?
A: Getting the opportunity to work on interesting and innovative products and tools. As engineers, we have a lot of freedom to choose how we approach various projects to reach company goals. It has been refreshing to have the ability to make decisions.
Q: What has been the most exciting project you have worked on?
A: Our internal API and dashboard for the public safety team to use out in the field. It started as part of larger structural changes we were making at the time, and we had to enable members of the public safety team to interact with certain parts of our backend. The dashboard is a collaborative bridge between the public safety team and the engineers, so that was an interesting challenge.
Q: Can you describe what it is like working on the engineering team?
A: The team leaders like to tout the fact that we are all self-managed. You're given a lot of freedom to decide what should be improved and how to solve any issues that come up. On the other hand, we are also a very collaborative group and as a team we all work together as equals so individual input is taken seriously.
Q: As a woman in tech, how has RapidSOS helped you reach your goals?
A: I would say there is a challenge recruiting other women in tech, but RapidSOS has a clear focus on doing so. For example, a couple of us recently attended the annual Grace Hopper conference where about 25,000 women attended. Lots of people at the company have come up to me to ask me how they can do more to recruit other female engineers. I definitely feel like it's not just my own prerogative but the whole team's.
Q: What are you most looking forward to in the coming months at RapidSOS?
A: I'm looking forward to watching how we grow as an organization. It's amazing to be at this inflection point where we are partnering with some of the largest tech companies around and handling way more traffic than before. It's been a great learning experience to see how, from a technical perspective, we've had to really grow up to support that.
Q: What do you like to do in your free time?
A: I read a lot, right now I'm in the middle of Swing Time by Zadie Smith which I'm really enjoying. I also go to a lot of concerts—I live in Brooklyn so there are always cool shows going on!
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