Life as a J: Vanessa Dyce
This week, we’re continuing our series introducing Virginia-native and software engineer to Jargon’s team, Vanessa. As we continue to grow and invest resources into building tools for voice technology, we look forward to sharing with the community a spotlight on J’s contributing to the ecosystem.
Vanessa, where is the place you call home?
Virginia, born and raised! I had never lived in another state until I moved to Washington State.
What was the biggest change moving across the country?
It’s very outdoorsy on the West Coast. The change in scenery and the openness in perspective - the backgrounds of people that Seattle gets is truly something to treasure. More people in Seattle also work in tech, whereas in Virginia, it’s very hustle-and-bustle with people who work in finance, law, etc.
North Cascades in Washington State
What are some things you enjoy to do outside of work?
I enjoy working with youth who are passionate about tech and learning coding skills. In the past I have taught with programs including Black Girls Code, and I’ve been an instructor at Redmond High School for their AP Computer Science course. Working with students has afforded me the opportunity to help eager students feel excited and empowered about coding, while it continues to challenge me with my own skillset.
What was your engineering experience prior to Jargon?
I’ve interned at Apple where I built my first web application using Angular JS. I had my first full-time job at Microsoft where I worked in Azure implementing deployment automation solutions. But from there, I decided I wanted to be much closer to the customer. I went to Amazon to work for Alexa Smart Home Kitchen where I was able to unify my passions for food and technology — and ultimately, this is where I found my passion in voice.
What does a weekday in your shoes look like?
I’m a Peloton junkie so I get up at 6:30am and follow along with the instructor. Prior to leaving, I feed my dog, Bentley, then head into the office. Still a sprinter at heart (I did track and field), I break my day into mini sprints - reviewing where I left off the previous day and going over emails - then getting my goal items tasked for the day. I’ll have lunch around noon, then work on some tasks, take a break around 3pm and finish up the day before I head home to pick up Bentley from daycare.
What skill/technology have you learned most recently?
I’ve enjoyed being able to work with a variety of open source projects such as lsp4xml or Alexa’s SDK framework. My work challenges me every week to dive deep into drastically different codebases; I can be in Java one week, Typescript the next, and Golang another day. There’s a myriad of languages and technologies that we’re working in that are all exciting but the end goal is all the same — to provide the most competitive CMS for voice.
What led you to Jargon?
My career has been shaped by stints at various companies that have helped me pave the way closer toward my true passions in voice technology. I loved the work I was doing at Alexa and this is where I found my passion in voice technology. However, I was limited by the impacts of working on a more legacy code base. Growth was slower, and ultimately I yearned for more ownership opportunities. Today I find myself at Jargon happy to have found the balance. I enjoy being able to implement high impacting features and see immediately how it relates back to our customer goals.
What long terms goals drive your professional career?
For me, my goals are simple: I want to learn something new every day and work hard at being the best I can be in my job. I know I’m passionate about supporting women and other minority groups in engineering and I’ve always found value in putting my time into community service. So, my goal has been to figure out how I can integrate my professional career with my passion to contribute to the community. I’m not sure what that looks like yet, but I’m one step closer each day.
Who is your go-to voice assistant?
Any favorite quotes?
“If you’re going through hell, keep going.” — Winston Churchill
Looking to start a career at Jargon? Check out these additional resources below: