Interview with Yuzhi Zheng

One of the Women at the Heart of React

Yuzhi is the engineering manager behind the React and Relay teams at Facebook. In this interview, she talks a bit about what management is like and how Relay and React work together. You can find her on Twitter as @yuzhiz.

An illustration of Yuzhi Zheng in a sailor uniform reminiscent of Sailor Moon.

What got you into management?

My manager at the time noticed that I really enjoyed mentoring my intern. They noticed that I put a lot of effort to make sure they are set up for success and have everything they need to be unblocked and making sure their work is recognized. I always really enjoyed helping people through our internal Relay Support group as well. I noticed that over time what gets me excited about coming to work in the morning is slowly changing from the technical problems to the awesome people I get to work with. Switching into a management role allows me to focus more on helping the team and the individuals on the team.

What’s it like to manage a team?

Extremely rewarding and chaotic at the same time. Sometimes small changes can make a big difference in people’s general happiness and productivity. At the same time there are a lot more variables and things that are impossible to predict, so you have to be okay with a fair amount of uncertainty.

How does Relay relate to React?

We use Relay to fetch GraphQL data for nearly all our React applications at Facebook. The two teams work together and give feedback on APIs as we test them.

What do you like to do when you aren’t hacking?

I like to supplement with more analog things: gardening, drawing/painting, woodworking

What’s your workspace like?

A hot cup of delicious coffee or milk tea with pastries next to my laptop

Believe in yourself, don’t listen to the doubters.

This interview appeared in a condensed format in the 2019 Women at the Heart of React Zine. It is part of a series of interviews with women who contribute to React Core and organize the React Community. Portrait by Xyra Brittney.

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