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#STEMStories: Diana, Software Engineer, Philippines

  1. Say hi :) who are you what do you do?

HeeeyyooooOOo! I’m Diana Kris. I’m currently a software engineer at Tumblr working on our micro-services/infrastructure. I’m also currently doing work for hackNY and Girls Who Code. I majored in Computer Science at Rutgers University, previously interned at Adobe, Qualcomm, and Gilt Groupe.  

  1. How did you arrive at this career? Was it always something you knew you wanted to do?

It’s hard to say really… I always knew I loved tech but I didn’t really understand the field when I was younger. I’m the first of my family to graduate college and my mom is a housekeeper. I actually grew up in the house my mom worked for (she’s a live-in housekeeper). So when I was younger, I wanted to be a business woman because that’s who my mom worked for and it seemed successful. Or a nurse.. because that’s what I saw a lot of Filipinos do. When I was in high school a family friend suggested I apply to this thing called “Girls Who Code.” So I applied, got into their first cohort, fell in love with tech, and that’s where it started! 

  1. What about your job makes you jump out of bed in the morning, especially on those cold, dark mornings?

The whole Tumblr team. Tumblr’s pretty small and everybody is ridiculously nice. I walk into work and everybody’s a friendly face. We also have great meme’s in our slack channels. 

  1. What is your personal cure for stress or how do you raise your spirits in times of doubt? Can you share a Story?

My personal cure for stress: sleep and todo lists. I write down everything I need to get done and the amount of time it will take me to finish each thing. I have dozens of notebooks FILLED with lists and doodles of everything that are currently stressing me out. I also map out all the things that are going on in my life currently. So as of right now - I’m working full-time, team lead for a Girls Who Code/Department of Education project, and co-directing the hackNY hackathon. It’s a lot of stress but it’s all worth it. 

  1. Who is your role model? If no one, any thoughts on this?

My mom. She has a lot of empathy, patience, and confidence. She’s been through a lot of shit - coming from the Philippines & working as a housekeeper for 30 years. I’m so grateful that growing up she taught me how to have grit. I think her empathy and patience is what helped me through CS. 

  1. What advice would you give to your 18 year old self?

The hardships you go through will make you stronger. It’s all worth it. 

  1. Top 3 tips for girls starting out in STEM?
    1. STEM is hard, it takes perseverance to hit compile for the 30th time in the row. But it’ all ends up working, I promise!
    2. Ask for help. If you are stuck on something and you’ve googled and researched for at least 30 minutes, ask for help! I used to believe that coding was a man sitting alone in a dark room figuring everything out himself. It’s the opposite. It’s sitting with your senior engineer mentor/manager in front of your computer screen debugging and figuring things out. (Of course after you’ve tried to figure it out yourself).
    3. Join a club/network. Join your university’s computer science club! Join Girls Who Code! These strong networks keep me sane in the long run. It’s so relieving to know other people who are going through the same stuff as you. 

  1.  How do you measure your success?

I think as engineers we’re taught to measure our success by how many projects we’ve finished, how many internships we’ve done, job offers we’ve received etc. While that’s all fine I guess, it’s important to include failures and obstacles into the equation. I have failed so many times. I have been rejected so many times. I have disappointed myself so many times in a variety of situations. I measure my success by how many failures I’ve learned and grew from. 

  1.  Where can we find out more about your work?

tumblr.com :) Just kidding lol, I’m working on a lot of things right now including something super exciting coming out on October 11th (international day of the girl). Follow me on social media! (Which will be answered in the next question). 

  1. Are you social? Will you share your Twitter handle, or LinkedIn profile, or Facebook so that young women can connect with you?

Twitter: @_dianakris
IG: @dianakris
website: navdiana.github.io