Aisha Ferrazares, Tech Lead, on what makes her team brilliant and why she loves GHC
From September 26–28, 2018, the largest gathering of women technologists will take place in Houston, Texas. Some 20,000 people will attend the 24th annual Grace Hopper Celebration for Women in Computing, including a few Dropboxers! We’re excited to meet new people and share our commitment to increasing women in tech. Before then, we want to introduce you to some of the Dropbox women in tech you may see at booth #5132. See you in Houston!
Q: What is your name, what office do you work out of, and how long have you been at Dropbox?
A: My name is Aisha Ferrazares. I work out of the San Francisco office. I started off as an intern at Dropbox and then came back full time after graduation. I’ve now been at Dropbox full time for about three years.
Q: What is your current role at Dropbox?
A: I currently write code for Dropbox Paper, which is a fantastic (although I’m definitely biased) real-time collaboration surface with strong multimedia integrations. I’m the Tech Lead for one of the sub-teams under Dropbox Paper. This means that I also do a lot of mentorship of engineers on my team, help determine our technical strategy (how we should build what we’re going to build), and act as a “Quality Champion” (helping my team write readable, well-designed, and secure code).
Q: What do you enjoy most about your job and/or team?
A: My team is amazing! I’m so impressed by how thoughtful and creative they all are and how many brilliant solutions they can come up with to projects we’ve worked on. I also appreciate how collaborative they all are. Sitting with my team in front of a whiteboard can almost always get us to a better solution than I would have thought of alone.
My role as tech lead also hits on a lot of those same skills that I loved as a teaching assistant in university, and I really enjoy having the chance to grow in those areas and flex those muscles again.
Q: Anything that you have done/accomplished at Dropbox that you’re proud of?
A: When I was still pretty new at Dropbox, I was asked to rewrite our desktop login flow. At the time, no one had much of an idea how complex this flow was. My tech lead and manager only expected it to take a few months, but it turned into almost a year of development before I was able to release it to the world.
This new rewrite got us to a much better place with this flow. It now has better accessibility and can be used with the keyboard and screen readers. Also, as part of this rewrite, I added metrics (measurements of user activity) that give our growth team a better idea of which parts of this flow are confusing to users and result in the most drop-off.
Q: Have you had transformational or inspirational moments at Dropbox?
A: Once I was finished with the desktop login flow, I was given the opportunity to work with our team in New York for a couple of months to get them ramped up on desktop development. I spent two weeks working physically out of our New York office and the rest of the time helping them remotely.
At the time, Dropbox didn’t have desktop engineers in our New York office, so my job was to help the team collaborate with them on the planning and implementation of a new desktop feature. I really enjoyed getting to work there and meeting so many new people. This project gave me a chance to practice my mentorship and learn more about working on project roadmaps release plans.
This opportunity gave me both the experience and the confidence to move on to a tech lead role on the Paper team. (📣 Shout out to my badass and supportive female manager who found me this opportunity and encouraged me to consider it!)
Why did you decide to join Dropbox?
A: When I was deciding where to go for an internship, I decided on Dropbox because of all of the positive things I had heard from classmates who had interned there in the past.
I came back full time because of all of the people who I met during my internship. I was especially impressed by how much time and energy my teammates put into helping me grow and the enthusiasm that the Dropboxers I met brought to their work.
Q: What are your hobbies? Or what can we find you doing outside of work?
A: My favorite things to do outside of work are skiing and backpacking. When I’m not doing that, you can often find me baking sourdough bread, cakes, or pastries. I’ve also recently taken up Ultimate Frisbee and cross stitching. (I’m currently making VERY slow progress on a quite large cross stitch map.)
Q: Any accomplishments you’re proud of outside of work?
A: I’m part of the Dropbox a capella group (Syncopation) and was really proud to have performed as a soloist to a full house at last year’s Techapella (a concert of tech company a capella groups) at the Fox Theater in Redwood City.
Q: What is something interesting about you that not a lot of people know?
A: In university, I was a teaching assistant (TA) for four different courses and also ran Brown’s TA program for two years. I think this may be one of the biggest things that prepared me for working full time as a software engineer because it helped me with mentorship, reading other peoples’ code, and articulating why a certain architecture is the right approach.
About the Grace Hopper Conference
Q: What’s your role at the conference?
A: I’m going to be spending time at the Dropbox career fair booth, interviewing, and attending talks.
Q: Have you been to the conference before? What was your favorite part/takeaway?
A: I have been before. This will be my fifth time! My first time attending Grace Hopper was on scholarship after my second year of university. That first time, I spent most of my time at the career fair handing out my resume (although I’ll be honest, a lot of it involved just picking up free T-shirts).
Since then, I spend more of my time going to talks and networking. My favorite part is always the opening ceremony. I love walking into such a large room and seeing how many women in tech are there filling it. It’s amazing to see how much GHC has grown over the years. Last year, I also participated in a video for AnitaB.org’s Top Companies program, which was shown during the opening ceremony!
I always enjoy working at the booth and meeting so many of the folks who come by. Hearing about everyone’s passion and excitement makes me feel optimistic about the future of women in tech and of tech in general.
Q: What are you looking forward to the most?
A: I’m most looking forward to seeing some of my coworkers speak and cheering them on from the audience!
Q: Why should someone visit the Dropbox booth?
A: I think you can tell a lot about the culture of a company and how good a place is to work by just talking to someone who works there. I know when I was looking for jobs at Grace Hopper, I could usually tell the difference between someone who was just reading a script and someone who actually loved their job. I hope lots of people come talk to us and come hear more about why Dropbox is a great place to work.
Check back soon to meet more Dropboxers. In the meantime visit us at dropbox.com/jobs. Dropbox is growing, grow with us!