Meet Gulnara M., Software Engineer at 33 Across
Gulnara M. chats about being self-taught in code, diversity in tech, and artificial intelligence
Below is an article originally written by PowerToFly hiring partner 33 Across, and published on May 11, 2018. Go to 33 Across' page on PowerToFly to learn more.
Some of us can say that we taught ourselves how to ride a bike, or maybe even how to play an instrument. Our Software Engineer Gulnara Mirzakarimova took it up a few notches by teaching herself how to code! After a career in finance she decided that she wanted to do something different. Learn more about why Gulnara wanted to get into engineering, how we can improve diversity within the industry, and how engineers can prepare for the future of artificial intelligence!
How did you make the decision to become an engineer?
I was working in finance for four years and I realized that it was not something that I was interested in. I wanted to be able to create things and have the flexibility to work from anywhere. I used to run a community group of entrepreneurs in Washington, D.C. and I liked what I saw. A lot of the members were developers and they were building some pretty interesting things. I then decided to learn how to code, while still working in finance and I loved it. So, I quit my job and began working as a developer. This was five years ago and I have been working as a developer ever since.
What is the best work environment/setting for you to be at your most productive state?
I work from home 90% of the time. Sometimes I'll work out of a coffee shop. I like to be able to tune out sound and distractions when I work so I use noise canceling headphones. Depending on what I'm building, I like to be able to listen to either classical or techno music. I've noticed that if I am in an early stages of conceptualizing the problem I tend to listen to slow classical music. But when I have the solution figured out and am implementing it, I switch to high-paced techno music. In both scenarios, I like to work uninterrupted. The main reason can be explained by this comic.
What role do you think that artificial intelligence (AI) will play in the future? How should engineers prepare for it?
Tech is developing faster than we can keep up. New tools, languages, and frameworks are being created all the time. There are a lot of tools available for engineers to prepare for AI, they include data science, machine learning, and deep learning.
As a female engineer, what do you think could be done to encourage more women to explore the profession?
I think we should not only focus on women but on all minorities and it has to start early – I am talking primary school. How can you be interested in something you don't know anything about? I recently gave a talk at a middle school where I told kids about what developers do and told them that there are lots of ways one can become a developer. Kids have some idea of what teachers, doctors, lawyers and bankers do. But the tech industry is still a pandora's box to many of them.
What's your favorite way to spend the weekend?
I don't have one favorite way of spending a weekend. But you can usually find me doing the following in any given month on a weekend: sketching and painting with watercolors, hiking, or going to a botanical garden. I like visiting Harry Potter World and Jurassic World at Universal Studios. I also enjoy barbecuing, baking and of course binge watching TV shows. I'm currently watching The Expanse, Killing Eve, and WestWorld.
Here's what they're doing, in their own words:
Empowering authenticity - LogMeIn
Learn more about LogMeIn here.
Educating on current events — Raytheon Technologies
Learn more about Raytheon Technologies here.
Encouraging awareness, growth, and learning — Moody's
- Weekly newsletters featuring AAPI employee profiles and cultural resources
- Video screening and small-group discussions supporting #StopAsianHate
- Cultural panel discussion featuring employee stories
- Professional development activities
- External speakers speaking about Asian leadership"
Supporting professional development — Freddie Mac
"Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month at Freddie Mac – Together, We Are Stronger
- Personal development session on empowerment led by a coach from our Employee Assistance Program.
- "Stop Asian Hate" lunch and learn geared toward discussing the hurdles facing the AAPI community.
Fostering inclusion, learning, and belonging – Nestlé USA
Learn more about Nestlé USA here.
Promoting cultural literacy – Relativity
The Community Resource Group at Relativity
Learn more about Relativity here.
Creating transformative experiences – Facebook
- Bystander Training/self Defense Workshop"
Learn more about Facebook here.
Extensive and exciting programming — 2U
Learn more about 2U here.
Amplifying voices and educating others – Smartsheet
Learn more about Smartsheet here.
Rising together in sports and culture – NBA
Learn more about the NBA here.
Creating courageous conversations – Commvault
Learn more about Commvault here.
Honoring history through virtual events – Collins Aerospace
Learn more about Collins Aerospace here.
Highlighting new perspectives – MongoDB
Learn more about MongoDB here.
Spotlighting diverse communities – Bumble
- BuzzWord DEI Discussion Series with featured guest speakers: This conversation will focus on the Asian community within the context of larger cultural issues such as dating app experiences, fetishization, masculinity, and representation.
Engaging in daring conversations – Procore
Learn more about Procore here.
Taking action to foster change – SeatGeek
Learn more about SeatGeek here.
Uplifting and inspiring the community – Okta
Learn more about Okta here.
Empowering cultural diversity and leadership – Quip
Learn more about Quip here.
Focusing on lived experiences – Mindbody
Learn more about Mindbody here.
Promoting harmony and unity – T. Rowe Price
Learn more about T. Rowe Price here.
Celebrating Asians globally
Learn more about AutoDesk here.
Don't Miss The Last Tip To Develop A Growth Mindset At Work
📨 Are you interested in joining Lattice? They have open positions! To learn more, click here.
Get to Know Haley
More About Lattice
Most people have one home town. Syamla Bandla has 13.
Step One: Adopt a Growth Mindset
Oh, and she was a bit busy having her first child right at the same time.
Step Two: Be Vulnerable
Her strongest tools for doing that are trust, authenticity, and radical inclusion.
Here are her specific tips:
Step Three: Build a Network of Advocates
Step Four: Don't Forget to Prioritize Yourself
Looking to the future
Driven to Serve
Determined to Lead
When Anne started as a NGA employee, she ran into a challenging situation.
Finding Inspiration to Keep Going
Approved for public release, 21-823
💎 What does a recruiting process with "diversity at work" in mind look like?
The Importance of Encouraging Diversity at Work
📨 Are you interested in joining Procore? They have open positions! To learn more, click here.