For Monica Tie, a 2011 UCLA Computer Science graduate and Software Developer for the past two years, Redfin grants an opportunity to work at a company where she can develop things that actually matter. It’s this ability to effect change, coupled with a unique work culture that has kept Monica invested and looking forward to a long career in the industry (and with Redfin!). We sat down with Monica in the San Francisco office to get her perspective on how Redfin is changing the world of real estate, the challenges of being a woman in the tech industry, and why, in a city that is desperate for strong tech talent, she chooses to work for Redfin.
How did you first hear about Redfin? When a recruiter from Redfin first reached out to me, I was actually in the process of looking for a condo to purchase. I didn’t really know anything about real estate at that point, but when I heard about Redfin and spent time on the platform, I realized it actually solved all the problems I had been having.
You loved the product, but let’s face it – SF offers lots of opportunities for computer science graduates. Did you have multiple job offers before choosing Redfin? I did have other job offers, but it really didn’t matter.
Why didn’t the other offers matter to you? The salary and benefits Redfin offered were competitive, but that didn’t matter to me as much as the culture I experienced during the interview process. If I’d really wanted to, I definitely could have found and accepted a role that offered more, but the mission and culture at Redfin are two things that really separated it from other offers I received.
Speaking of the culture and mission, why specifically did you choose to be an engineer at Redfin as opposed to one of the other big Silicon Valley tech companies like Google or Facebook? It’s Silicon Valley – people here build a lot of superfluous things. We build things that are fun and trivial but don’t impact the world. Redfin was a place that was solving the problems I was getting stuck with as a first-time homebuyer and actually making a difference. Every single feature I’ve worked on here has impacted thousands of people, if not hundreds of thousands. It’s nice to work on important things that actually matter! The interview experience was also very positive. I could tell by the way that people spoke to me that they were trying to understand me and actually listen to what I had to say. It was a level of respect early on in my career that I really appreciated.
How do you think the software development team here at Redfin compares to software development teams at other large companies? At Redfin, everyone on the team gets to specialize in something. It’s great because we are really able to own it and get invested and become an expert in that area. My specialty is in front-end development, and I’ve had the opportunity to be the lead dev on projects that I never imagined I would be able to do. I think that’s pretty unique.
Can you tell us about a project you are currently working on as lead dev? It hasn’t been released yet, but I’m working on a feature that impacts the main photo area on a details listings page. I’m converting the technology from Dojo to React with Reflux, as well as making it compatible with our new infrastructure. A common thing that happens in software engineering is that over time, code becomes harder and harder to work with as technology changes and advances. Essentially, the changes I’m working on will make the loading experience much smoother and faster and deliver a better photo experience for the user.
What has working at Redfin taught you about yourself? I was one out of about 25 females studying in the computer science program my year at UCLA (compared to 228 men enrolled in the same program that same year). In this industry, it can be difficult to find other women to relate to, and at first I found it challenging to believe in myself because if I messed up, there was no one I could turn to easily. I’ve realized that working at a company where people are respectful and listen to you is absolutely necessary. I’ve gained a lot of self confidence and now realize that I CAN do these amazing things. I know that other people have always believed in me, but working at Redfin, I’ve started to believe more in myself.
What advice would you give another female engineer just getting started in her career? I would tell her to believe in yourself – give yourself a chance and you’ll be surprised at how far you can get!
Have another question for Monica about why she chooses to work at Redfin? Let us know in the comments below!
Have a passion for beautiful web & mobile products and fire in your belly to do work that matters? We want to hear from you. Check out our open positions at redfin.com/jobs!