Meeting… Tiffany Peón, Senior Software Engineer at The New York Times

Illustration by Claire Merchlinsky

“Meeting…” is an ongoing series from NYT Open that features New York Times employees from different corners of the company. In this installment, we meet Tiffany Peón, a senior software engineer on NYT Cooking.

What is your name?
Tiffany Peón

What are your pronouns?

What is your job?
Senior Software Engineer on NYT Cooking.

What does that mean?
I write and maintain software for NYT Cooking. As a backend engineer, a lot of it isn’t work you can see, but it powers features for the website and the iOS and Android apps.

How long have you been at The Times?
My four year anniversary is coming up! I started on July 11, 2016.

Most Times employees are working remotely right now. Where are you working from these days?
Mostly from my couch in my East Village apartment. If I’m feeling a little crazy, sometimes I’ll work from my bed or the kitchen.

How do you start your day?
I pull my pet guinea pig out of her cage so she can cuddle with me on the couch while I work, and I crack open a Diet Coke — the signature breakfast beverage of people from Atlanta.

What is something you’ve worked on recently?
Lately I’ve been doing some clean-up work on our free-trial experience. We have a lot of complicated logic to determine whether or not someone is eligible for a free trial with Cooking, so I’ve been working on simplifying it so it’s easier to make changes to it in the future.

Tell us about a project you’ve worked on at The Times that you’re especially proud of.
Last year, I wrote the API for our grocery lists feature, which was something I had been wanting to put in our app for a very long time. I worked with one front-end and one iOS engineer so that we could launch the product cross-platform, which was something I hadn’t done before. I use the feature almost every time I go grocery shopping!

What was your first job?
I was a hostess at Waffle House (another Southern staple). The official title was “Door Corps” and one of my biggest responsibilities was sweeping cigarette butts off of the sidewalk every hour. I lasted about two months.

What is something most people don’t know about you?
I once auditioned for Wheel of Fortune and got cut in the first round for not being animated enough.

What is your secret to career success?
I had a pretty negative college experience that resulted in me feeling like a huge failure for most of my twenties. When I decided to go to a coding bootcamp, I looked back on the mistakes I’d made as a result of feeling scared or not good enough in school and I didn’t let myself make the same mistakes. I learned how to push past my feelings and trust the process.

What is your superpower?
I’m pretty good at binge-watching TV shows?

What are you inspired by?
I feel my best when the people around me are happy and comfortable. Whether it be in work or life, I find opportunities to help and enhance the experiences of those around me—that’s the driving force behind most of my actions.

Name one thing you’re excited about right now.
Chiu Chow style chili oil! I went to a dumpling making class in January, and the instructor introduced me to it. It’s life changing.

What is your best advice for someone starting to work in your field?
Programming is an exercise in humility. Learn to separate your work from your ego — ask the dumb question, and ask for clarification when you don’t understand the answer to the dumb question the first time. Pair yourself up with people who think differently than you, even when it’s frustrating or intimidating. The reason this job can be so rewarding is because you end up accomplishing things you thought to be impossible.

More in “Meeting…”

Meeting… Jasmine Chan, Engineering Manager at The New York Times
Meeting… Storm Hurwitz, Senior Analyst at The New York Times

Meeting… Tiffany Peón, Senior Software Engineer at The New York Times was originally published in NYT Open on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Source: New York Times