55. Carol Cheng (she/her) – Software Engineer, LendingHome

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“Believe in yourself…You will need to persuade yourself before you can persuade others.”

Tell us a little bit about what a typical day looks like for you.

I will get to the office at about 10 am. Start my day with a standup meeting. Sync up with my teammates on the progress of the story tickets I am currently working on. Then, I will check my slack channels to see whether I have any pull requests (requests to merge code to the codebase) to review. As a member of the client infrastructure team, we provide consultation to other teams about front-end related tasks. In the meantime, we have our own projects to help raise the standard of front-end engineering at LendingHome and improve testability, code quality, developer experience, and productivity for the whole engineering team.

How do you stay passionate in your career?

By taking new challenges and self-learning. Software engineering is ever-changing and there are always new technologies coming out. You can never master everything and you will never get bored working in this industry. Learning new languages/tools/frameworks always makes me feel a sense of accomplishment. I may struggle at first, but the a-ha moment is the best reward. 80% of my job skills are from self-learning. As long as I have something new to learn and figure out, I can stay passionate as a software engineer.

Did you have a traditional path into tech (i.e.: CS/IT degree transitioned into tech job)?

No. I studied microbiology as my B.S. degree. I could never imagine that I would become a software engineer at that time. Until when I was a senior, I was tired of doing lab experiments and waiting weeks and months for the results. I decided to switch to studying bioinformatics. Then I came to Carnegie Mellon University to get my master degree in biotechnology and computation. In the two years, I got influenced by the atmosphere there that everyone should take CS course and CS could be applied in any fields. That was when I realize being software engineer is also an option for me and it turns out working pretty well.

Are there any apps, software, or tools you cannot live without?

Terminal, zsh, git, Visual Studio Code, Browser developer tools, Google Keep and Slack.

It’s common knowledge that women and femmes often face obstacles in the tech industry based on their gender. Have you ever had to deal with this type of experience and if so how did you handle it?

Definitely. It is very common in tech companies to have far more male engineers than female engineers on the team. This makes female engineers more isolated and their voices are smaller than males. Also, some people think women should not express their opinions in public or female engineers’ abilities are not as strong as male engineers, which are totally wrong. The way I handle it is to believe in myself. I work hard and present my best achievement to prove that there is no such difference between male and female engineers.

What’s your favorite thing about being a part of the #womenintech community?

That I know so many beautiful and inspirational women are on my side and working hard to change the world and make this world more friendly to women in the technology field. I like that people are starting to think about this issue and take action to improve the situation.

What is a piece of advice you would give to others wanting to or currently pursuing a career in tech?

Believe in yourself. Whatever male engineers can do, you can make it as well. You will need to persuade yourself before you can persuade others.

Tell us about a time you felt extremely accomplished in the past year. 

I quit my previous job to search for a new job so that I can learn new skills and take new challenges. 2.5 months later, I got three offers. I am proud of myself because I went out of my comfort zone and all the efforts I made in the past will help me go a long way in the future.

Favorite quote:

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.”

– Vivian Greene



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