#EngineerGirlShow highlights amazing women in engineering to inspire the next generation. This series was produced by George Retelas with his digital art students at SAE Institute.
Watch an interview with Helen Weng from Redfin in San Francisco, California.
My name is Helen Weng and I am a software engineer at Redfin. So what a software engineer does is write a bunch of code to help our agents and also help our customers be smarter, more empowered users.
Do you have any projects you've worked on?
One of my favorite projects I worked on, you can go to our website and see a bunch of open houses and then save them to your list. It's really great when I'm on Muni and I see people using that feature. I’m like, “oh my god, I made that!” It’s really exciting.
Do you have any people that like inspired you?
Hermione Granger from Harry Potter was really inspirational. She knew everything. That was really cool.
What was high school like for you?
I actually didn't know that I wanted to be an engineer, because I really, really liked English. Like, I thought I wanted to be a journalist. When it comes to being directly related to what I do now, I did a lot, I've been making websites since middle school. Like, back in the day, when... do you know what MySpace is? [laughs] Yeah, so I guess that's how I got into website building, through MySpace.
Do you have any advice you would give to like, young girls who want to be an engineer?
My, I actually didn't get into computer science until I got into college. So the first year is kind of rough because you're basically trying to keep, to catch up to everyone else. But after that first year the playing field is just completely leveled.
Can you tell me some obstacles you faced entering this industry in how you overcame them?
The people who actually end up like, unintentionally saying insensitive things are your friends, and it’s weird because they're your friends and they don't intentionally want to hurt you but sometimes they accidentally do. So I interviewed a lot for a job interview, so whenever I would talk to them about it I’d be like “oh, I'm so nervous” and they'll be like “oh, why are you worried? They’ll definitely hire you because you're a girl.” If I didn't get it, then I'm so bad that I’m a girl I still can't get it? Or if I do get it then it’s like, oh I got it because I’m a girl. And let me tell you, everybody interviews pretty fairly. They do not hire you just because you're a girl.