Meeting… Vanessa Jiménez, Associate Software Engineer at The New York Times

Celebrating Women’s History Month

This March, we are featuring colleagues from across The New York Times in a special Women’s History Month series of ‘Meeting’.

Illustration by Claire Merchlinsky

What are your pronouns?
She/ Her

What is your job title and what does it mean?
Associate Software Engineer

How long have you been at The Times?
Almost a year and a half now!

Most Times employees are working remotely right now. What does working from home these days look like for you?
I wake up, make myself a latte and figure out what I’ll have for breakfast. Then, I’ll catch up on some news and emails, get ready for my first meeting and start off my workday. Around 1 p.m. is when I tend to have lunch. Thankfully, I live in a building with an amazing rooftop so I take a nice walk around to get some fresh air and then come back and continue the rest of my day. After work I try to find the willpower to work out or do something productive.

Tell us about a project you’ve worked on at The Times that you’re especially proud of.
I recently started working on an internal tool that allows us to build and deploy reader segments in a way that preserves reader privacy. I love working on data-based apps that pull together information about readers’ habits.

What is the biggest challenge you faced in your career and how did you overcome it? Knowing what you know now, would you do things differently.
Career transitioning. I used to be a technology risk consultant who would perform technical audits. I realized it wasn’t what I wanted to do and that I really wanted to build things. I decided to just quit my job and start this new chapter in my life. If there was anything I could go back and change, it would be accepting that I genuinely wanted to be an engineer and follow that career path sooner.

The Times has six core values (Independence, Integrity, Curiosity, Respect, Collaboration and Excellence) by which the company operates. Is there one that you find best describes your work?
Collaboration! I think we have a really great team and we are always working on trying to share knowledge with each other. Especially now that we are all working remotely, I find that collaboration is key to stay sane at home and to bond as a team.

What is a goal you hope to accomplish this year?
To get promoted!

What change do you hope to see in your community?
More diversity. I know imposter syndrome is very much a real thing and it can be discouraging and lonely to be in a field where no one looks like you. You have to work harder just to feel like you belong.

Do you have any favorite life hacks or work shortcuts?
This is not so much a life hack, but remember to always take breaks! Mental breaks are so important especially now that we’re at home and constantly staring at screens. It’s important to remember that it’s O.K. to take time to recharge.

What or who are you inspired by?
My parents. To this day I still don’t understand how they have managed to be successful and raise a family with the limited resources and lack of education they had growing up. I always remember this to motivate myself to keep going.

Fill in the blank: What is the best part of being a Latina engineer? If you had it your way, what could make it better?
The best part of being a Latina engineer is being a role model for other women and girls in this field. I wish I had a mentor who looked like me and who I could go to with questions, but the most I can do at this moment is be that person for someone else. If I had it my way, the industry would already be diverse, and equal opportunity and pay wouldn’t be issues. We are not there yet, but I’m hopeful.

Complete this sentence: Over time, I have realized __________.
Unless I’m on call for something, I’m not saving lives and the work can always wait till tomorrow.

What is your best advice for someone starting to work in your field?
Remember to still have fun! You have a ton of time to learn and things are always changing, so don’t feel like you have to rush and know it all at once. Remember, it’s all about learning.

More in ‘Meeting’

Meeting… Alexandra Shaheen, Program Manager at The New York Times
Meeting… Véronique Brossier, Lead Software Engineer at The New York Times
Meeting… Tracy Z. Maleeff, Information Security Analyst at The New York Times

Meeting… Vanessa Jiménez, Associate 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

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