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Meet Cathy Lee: The Fast Interview

 

Cathy Lee, senior software engineer at Fast, with her family

Cathy Lee

Role: Frontend senior software engineer

Team: Buttons

What do you do at Fast?

My focus is optimizing the Fast Checkout user experience.

Describe your typical day at Fast.

Meetings about upcoming projects, coding, working on features, and I’m excited to start interviewing engineer candidates.

What led you to engineering?

I really like to make things pretty and usable. Even if a site is functional, if it doesn’t look a certain way, people aren’t interested, so design and the like really do add to a good user experience.

Where were you before Fast?

I was at Omnitracs in San Diego, modernizing their websites through tech and UI.

Why did you say yes to Fast?

It seemed like there was a lot to work on, and if you’re interested in a lot of things you aren’t familiar with, you can get exposure to that. If you’re interested in design systems or backend but you’ve never explored it, for example, you can do other things and wear a lot of hats.

Where did you grow up, and what were you like as a kid?

Fremont, California, in the San Francisco Bay Area. I played golf every day and was competing in junior tournaments in Northern California. Because of golf I was the one that was always busy when friends asked to hang out. When I turned 18, I chopped my hair short  and stopped golfing once I went to college since I didn’t want to pursue a professional golf career.

What was your first job?

I tutored first graders in high school.

What’s something you’ve found at Fast that really stands out?

Startups are fast-paced with many moving parts, but here, there’s no fear of asking questions. Everyone’s really eager to help each other and will lead you to the answer.

Proudest moment as an engineer?

Being able to get my first job and transition into engineering out of marketing.

Favorite thing about being an engineer?

The satisfaction of solving the puzzle.

Morning person or night owl?

I feel more productive in the morning; I get tired easily.

What career path did you almost take?

In college, I was a marketing major. By the time I realized I like website building, it was too late to change majors, so I held marketing jobs and taught myself web design on the side. I ended up doing website work for a startup, then completed a coding bootcamp in San Francisco in 2015. I’ve been in engineering ever since.

What’s something you regularly do, but know you shouldn't?

Boba drinks. I drink one or two per week. It's an expensive habit. And you should be able to make it at home.

Your non-negotiables for life? 

Honesty and open-mindedness. I’m not good at sugarcoating things. 

One thing about you that has been and will always be true?

My favorite color is blue; I'll always be doing something active; I’ve always enjoyed sports.

Advice for other engineers wondering what to do next?

Don’t sell yourself short. It’s never too late to try something new. 

Where can we follow you?

LinkedIn, and my dogs are on Instagram.

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