Employee Spotlight: Yuliya Yasenetska
March 23, 2021
Yuliya Yasenetska recently joined our team as a Software Engineer. Prior to joining our team, she worked as a software engineer at Hana and an adtech engineer at Billboard. She is also an artist and works primarily in acrylic paint on wooden panels. She has had her work shown in several exhibitions, most recently in La Fenice Gallery, HongKong.
What does your day to day look like as a Software Engineer at Sourcepoint?
Wake up. Make coffee. Code. Eat. Code. Walk. Code. Breathe. Code.
Just kidding! I start out work by thinking about how I can break a larger coding task into smaller components. I am currently building a new feature for CCPA compliance on OTT [over-the-top, or video content distributed over the internet]. I usually spend time brainstorming how to architect it and implement it. Then I drink more coffee.
What do you like about coding?
It’s never boring. Coding presents new challenges that you have to approach with a creative mindset. People say that coding isn’t creative, but it is immensely creative. There’s no set formula like in physics and math. Granted, there are rules because there are programming languages to learn, but there are so many ways to do things when you are faced with a problem. Also, there are so many resources available online that makes it easier and more fun to learn
I am also an artist. Being an artist is not so different from being a software engineer. You can google painting techniques just like you can google different coding methods, but both require the element of creativity.
How did you get involved in the privacy sphere?
My first job in the privacy sphere was working with different publishers as an adtech engineer. I built ads, implemented analytics tracking, gathered data on users, and built microsites which was very exciting because my work got exposed to a large audience. Being able to directly reach out to readers and help publisher felt very powerful.
However, I eventually wanted a job that was more versatile and dynamic, rather than a job that consisted of simply starting and finishing a task. That’s where Sourcepoint came in. I didn’t know much about GDPR and CCPA, but I knew that it would be something new and exciting to me to be in the evolving privacy landscape. The next challenge! That is one of the best things about being a software engineer, the more you know, the more you want to know. It is an exciting place to be.
What do you love most about what you do?
If I want to build something, I can do it. As a software engineer, it is very empowering to be able to build things using the tools that are accessible to me. It’s similar to the work that I do as an artist. If I want to create something, I can do it. I love being able to take the knowledge I have and do something with it.
What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?
I read a book called Shoe Dog, written by Phil Knight who is the founder of Nike. He said “Fail fast.” That really stuck with me. It’s ok to fail, everybody fails, but fail fast and get back up. You have to be able to learn from your mistakes and be strong enough to ask questions even if it may seem dumb. Questions lead to quicker answers and more information.
Innovation is born from different perspectives and different backgrounds. When we have the ability to get into one room and talk and share – that is powerful.
What advice would you give to a woman considering a career as an engineer? What do you wish you had known?
It’s not difficult as it may seem.
I have two degrees, one is an art degree and the other is a publishing degree that I got when I went to university in Ukraine. The publishing degree was under the computer science department and the classes were very outdated and boring. We studied a lot of coding languages that people don’t write anymore, and we had joint lectures with other majors, including the computer science major. The publishing major was mostly women and the computer science major was mostly men. In those computer science classes, not only was the material difficult to engage with, but you would be the only woman in the class. There was nothing wrong with the men in the room, but it was very intimidating and discouraging to be the only woman.
My perception of computer science totally changed when I went to a four month coding bootcamp at Flatiron School in 2018. When I studied hands-on coding, it was nowhere as difficult as it was presented [to me in university]. Coding is no different from learning how to write. There is this preconceived notion that you have to know math to learn how to code which is wrong. In my coding bootcamp, there were lawyers, musicians, scientists–everybody was learning how to code. If I was able to learn how to code with an art degree, anybody can do it. There are so many resources for women looking to go into engineering because we live in an age of accessible information. Try it out and see if you like it!
I wish I knew that it wasn’t that difficult. You don’t have to be special or to have an innate ability to code. It’s the same as any other industry. You have to like it as a person, not as a man or woman.
Why do you think it’s important for more women to join the tech industry?
Innovation is born from different perspectives and different backgrounds. That idea is not exclusive to having more women in the tech industry, but for any group that has traditionally been underrepresented. When we have the ability to get into one room and talk and share – that is powerful.
Do you think enough is done to help women get into the tech industry? If not, what would you recommend?
There is never enough. We can always improve and do better–that goes for the industry and for individuals. We all need to be more aware of our unconscious biases. Initiatives that broaden access to information need to also be intentional about welcoming everyone.
I think being a “woman in tech” is not something that should be treated differently, it should be the norm and not surprising. Yes, I work as an engineer, and what’s so special about that?
Yes, I work as an engineer, and what’s so special about that?
What role can male team members play to best support their female peers in the business and tech world?
We all work in tech. We are all the same in the sense of the knowledge we share. Whatever our different strengths and weaknesses, we can all learn from each other. Treat us like that.
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