Navigating Your Career: Emily Roth, Software Engineering Manager at Wayfair

Fiona Whittington
Mar 22 · 4 min read

This article is part of a two-part interview series with Wayfair employees. To learn more about job/internship opportunities at Wayfair, visit their website or come by their table at TechTogether Boston this weekend from March 22nd-24th at Agganis Arena.

Emily Roth, Software Engineering Manager at Wayfair, journey began on the design side of things. She got her start in tech at a young age working as a web designer, focused on photoshop and building websites for her high school clubs. She was even honored with the Girl Scout’s most prestigious Gold Award for a website she built that focused on recycling in her local neighborhood!

Emily began her college career in information technology and web sciences, even though she was pretty sure she ultimately wanted to become a web developer. Eventually, she applied for and was accepted for two internships at Wayfair. The first one with the Storefront team, an exciting opportunity to work on stuff the customer would actually see. She was given a high level of responsibility and put through rigorous training and looks back on that time as a great experience. But she wasn’t yet 100% sure that this was the team for her.

Fail fast — iterate — improve:

So she began talking to friends she had made at Wayfair that were working on infrastructure solutions, making tools for other engineers. She discovered that there was a level of freedom to do the creative things she wanted to do without being confined to one product. As her team evolved into Development Platforms, she grew with it and was able to transition seamlessly into more satisfying work. It’s a part of the Wayfair culture that really resonates with the people who work here, and represents an agile mindset about how you can navigate your career path and do your best work.

Once Emily found her fit, she really began to thrive. Eventually, she let her manager know that she was interested in becoming a tech lead. Approximately a year and a half later she achieved this goal and began leading a team. She found that taking on more responsibilities, and conquering engineering challenges as an individual, while also managing a team, contributed to her rise in the organization. Like Erin, Emily encourages women to speak up and reach out.

Words of wisdom:

Emily also encourages women to explore side projects big and small and contribute to open source tools. “This is a great way to build on your hands-on experience and become part of the life cycle of changes happening. You can learn so much by taking that approach.” She also advocated for online tutorials, so that you can start to establish a discipline of continuous learning in your life.

Emily attributes her on-going success at Wayfair to the effect that keeping her tech skills fresh has had on her professional projects. And the results are real: while at Wayfair she has worked on a tool that all the web stack engineers are now using. That product release was a very proud moment that she will get to relive when version 2.0 is released next!

I have to say, it was inspiring to hear Emily describe why these things are possible at Wayfair — she spoke about “How fast everything moves, and everyone is really smart. At other companies, it’s much harder to make changes, especially when the teams aren’t as forward thinking . . .”

It was evident from our conversation that Wayfair is dedicated to building a vibrant culture where you can feel like you are working with the best. Emily agreed that it really makes a difference in the projects you work on daily.

What’s next?

As our conversation was winding down, I asked her if there was anything else she would change about her journey so far. Her response echoed Erin’s earlier sentiments that “Everything happens for a reason” but . . . maybe she might have gone a little deeper into math, but Emily also added that the tech landscape is vast, with plenty of room for talented thinkers of all descriptions.

In the meantime, she is enjoying the spirit of innovation at Wayfair, the ability to have a tangible effect on things, and dedicating some of her time to learning and exploring new ideas during the workday.

As the Mentor team lead, I can say that it certainly sounds like Wayfair is fully invested in building a more diverse tech landscape. Not only are they hosting several tech talks and workshops for us, as well as adding fun events and an amazing chill space for the TechTogether Boston weekend, they are also nourishing an environment where talented women like Erin and Emily can thrive every day “Making the new normal” Bravo!


Originally published at docs.google.com.

TechTogether

A community of makers building the future, together.

Fiona Whittington

Written by

Aspiring Creative Technologist and Hacktivist. Boston University, 2019. Ask me about TechTogether & The Bit!

TechTogether

A community of makers building the future, together.