Monica Lent: Few things are more satisfying than building something that works

We proudly present React Day Berlin sepaker Monica Lent. 👩🏻‍💻

How do you usually introduce yourself?

Usually in Berlin everyone wants to know where you’re from and what brought you to the city. In that respect, I’m an American who first came to Germany to work at the University of Leipzig’s NLP department and then decided to try startup life in Berlin by joining SumUp almost four years ago. Today I’m leading a distributed team of thirteen frontend-focused engineers. Besides my job, I like photography, travel, and pilates.

What makes you passionate about your work?

Like a lot of people who are working in frontend, I arrived at this part of the stack because of the joy of creating something both beautiful and useful. There are few things more satisfying than building something that works, creates value (or is just fun), and on top of that, a really nice UI to tie to all together − not profound but it’s what brought me here! Besides frontend development, experimenting with technologies that are wildly unrelated to my work is a one of my favorite pastimes. I love that in tech there is always something new (or old or different or obscure) for me to teach myself.

Have you recently participated in or created a project that you’re really proud of?

These days my role feels closer to engineering manager than full-time developer, so I don’t have too much time for projects that require a lot of code. So what I focus on instead are small improvements that can make the people on my team’s lives easier − things like upgrading libraries or fixing things (read: being a code janitor) or simple, new initiatives that just need a push to get off the ground.

For example, I’m currently kicking off on a chatops framework so people can do things like deploying to production right from Slack. It’s a little code but a big impact (I hope!).

That said, the latest large project that I’m really proud of the team for delivering is our design system. We’ve been using it to migrate a 3-year old Angular app to React in a way that’s really sustainable and designed to support a large number of contributors.

While I only wrote a fraction of the code that brought us here, being able to successfully advocate for and execute a project with such a broad impact is something I’m really proud of.

What are you going to talk about at React Day Berlin 2018?

Secrets to a successful design system — introducing a design system at your company and some secrets for setting it up for success, from technology choices to getting buy-in and more.


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