your daily code for breakfast

In the Spotlight 27: Liza Nguyen

While I’m currently enjoying my holiday (and not able to write as may posts as I’d like), there’s always time for another spotlight! This week we’re going to meet Liza in London. Or as she describes herself: ” I’m just another Australian living in London :)”. Enjoy reading her wonderful story!

Name: Liza Nguyen
Job: Senior frontend developer @ FACEIT
Favorite website, app or gadget: It changes but at the moment it’s Slack
Twitter: @lnoogn

What inspired you to pursue a career in IT?
I started making sites on the world-wide-web when I was 10 and it continued to be a hobby for me right up until I left high school. It seemed natural to do something I already knew and enjoyed. I never would have thought that I could do it for a living, but here I am!

What does your working day look like?
Sounds like a bit of a stereotype, but the first thing I do after I get into the office is make myself a coffee. From there, each day is a little different. Sometimes I’ll knuckle down right away on coding up some feature, or I’ll spend some time by myself or with my work mates solving some kind of problem, big or small. Whether it be architectural, a bug fix, providing feedback for code reviews or sometimes we just need some rubber ducks to talk to about a snag we had hit. Occasionally there will be sprint planning or a meeting. Those things don’t happen in a particular order during the day. The main fixtures seem to be coffee and lunch :)

What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
The coolest project is probably the one I’m working on now! Myself a team of very hard-working people have been redeveloping the FACEIT app. It’s a global platform for matching-making serious gamers where they can play in competitions to win both real and virtual prizes. It’s a very complex system and it’s been fun (and challenging) learning about the “magic” behind it. It’s been a dream of mine to work in the video games industry so the experience has been unreal!

Do you have a hero, or someone who inspires you?
I’ve been fortunate to enough to meet some amazing individuals who are dedicated to make the tech community a better place, whether it’s for supporting women in tech or pushing web to develop new and better standards. It’s hard to name just a few people. I’ve also had some very talented colleagues over the years who without them, I would not be as far or as happy with the career I have now.

Why do you love working in  IT/Tech?
I feel at home with it. It feeds into my hankering for problem-solving in a way that appeals very well to my natural curiosity with tech. At the rate it moves, I can’t imagine being truly bored with what I do! Not to mention it’s exciting to see the impact it has on other people.

At the rate it moves, I can’t imagine being truly bored with what I do! Not to mention it’s exciting to see the impact it has on other people.

Do you have a degree in IT? If so, what taught you the most? And if not, did you miss some important knowledge?
I studied for a diploma in web development at a vocational college. It taught me some useful foundational programming knowledge but considering I do front end development, a lot of that stuff is now either deprecated or bad practice, haha. I got into the workforce doing development at a pretty young age, and I learnt very quickly that what I did in those classrooms were barely reflected in how things really worked in the “real world”.

What would be your advice to everyone who is interested in a career in tech? (or learning to code?)
Let your curiosity get the best of you and give it a try! Don’t be afraid to ask questions, or make mistakes – everyone started somewhere. Both ups and downs will certainly be had, but know that you are not alone. I can assure you that even the best in the industry has experienced it.

Also, a big lesson I’ve learnt myself is to take a break when you think you might need it.

 Extra question from Stephanie: If you had to choose a different career within computer science, what would it be?
To be honest, I find it hard to imagine doing anything else but coding. I think I would still be doing software development but writing in another language, haha. The great thing about that is that thanks to the wealth of information online and the people who generously work towards making programming more accessible, it is quite possible for me to switch over if I really wanted to!


Thank you Liza!