07 May 2015

Working at Zana

For a few months now, I've been happily working as a developer at Zana.io!

A little bit about Zana: Zana is the brainchild of Shea Tate-Di Donna. Shea worked in venture capital for many years and felt that while many people have good ideas, they often don't have the business skills they need to make their ideas into successful businesses. Zana provides entrepreneurship lessons via videos of successful entrepreneurs passing on their best advice in a wide range of startup-related subjects.

The Zana team is one of the best parts of the job; right now we are a small team with a majority of women, and we are all dedicated to working hard, learning as we go, communicating well, and encouraging diversity in the startup world. I've been greatly impressed by Shea and am so glad to be working with her. She's smart, talented, knowledgeable, well-connected, and hard-working, and we share a lot of interests, so it was great to be able to go to PyCon in Montreal with her and to work closely with her on the Zana product.

Zana at PyCon photo IMG_9577_zpstpj8qev4.jpg
Shea and I at our Zana table in Startup Row at PyCon in Montreal.

I also love that so far, I mostly get to work remotely, so I can really focus on the task at hand and not have to pack up my stuff all the time.

Best of all, being Zana's full-stack developer means that I get to work with Python/Django, HTML/CSS/LESS, Bootstrap, Postgres, and many other technologies every day, which is exactly the kind of role I was hoping to find. There are definitely positives and negatives to being the sole developer; on the one hand, I can make the code mine, avoid feeling intimidated by more experienced developers, and learn about/work on every bit of the tech stack, but on the other hand, I don't get regular code reviews to strengthen my code and I don't have someone sitting next to me who can answer my questions. However, I enjoy the challenge of figuring out solutions, and on tough days, the successes, interesting problems, my belief in the mission, and support from people I greatly respect keep me going.

It is thanks to my time at Hackbright two years ago and even more so, to the ongoing support of great people since then that has made it possible for me to continue growing as a software engineer. Thank you to the wonderful people who have made themselves available to answer my questions via Google Chat, Slack, IRC, Stack Overflow, Skype, email, and in-person working sessions.

I'm looking forward to all the great projects to come at Zana. Yay!

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