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We Power Tech: Christina Zhu

By Lis Vinueza  |  September 12, 2017  |   Interviews   |  

A Cloud Guru is a proud member of the inclusive and diverse AWS We Power Tech community, and official sponsor of Women Who Code.  Join us to build skills, get engaged, and change the world through tech.

Meet Christina Zhu

Christina is a Software Engineer at Amazon who recently graduated from UC Davis with a degree in Computer Science. She's loved traveling the world going to hackathons and being a part of the tech community, as a hackNY Fellow '17 and as the Co-Founder of HackDavis.

Christina has been awarded with the SIGNAL Scholarship by Twilio, Grace Hopper Scholar 2016 by Anita Borg Institute and the Engineering Diversity Scholar by Box, among others. In the future she plans on speaking at as many conferences as possible and to get involved with Girls Who Code! She also loves to pet dogs, drink black coffee, and unfortunately, her favorite programming language is JavaScript.


Q: What do you do in your day to day work life?

This fall, I'm going to start work at Amazon in Seattle as a Software Developer! I also plan to join lots of local tech meetups, get involved in Girls Who Code, and apply to speak at tech conferences in my spare time.

Q: Has WWCode impacted your career? How?

I love reading the weekly emails and the #ApplaudHer feature is always super inspiring! I find out about conferences happening near me that I wouldn't have, and I was lucky enough to win a WWCode Cloud Guru Scholarship. I'm also planning on joining my local WWCode in the future :)

Q: What advice would you give to your colleagues and peers who are 1-2 years behind you in their career? 

For all the students who are still in university: Keep building, and build whatever you want, keep learning, and keep exploring. This field is incredible and there's so much to offer. Go to hackathons, meet new people, learn about React.js, apply to fellowship programs, and explore the world while you can.


Q: Have you helped others in the same or similar career path?

I became an instructor for Girls Who Code once I switched my major to Computer Science because I wanted to help young girls get the chance to be exposed to programming since I didn't have the chance when I was in middle school. Becoming an instructor was one of the most rewarding things I have done, and seeing young girls pick up Python and code their own video games in Scratch, and seeing their eyes light up with excitement was definitely one of the highlights of my university career.

Q: What is your favorite technical pro-tip?

You can use :x to save and exit from vim instead of :wq!

Q: What excites you most about your career?

The best part about being an engineer is the fact that your job can take you anywhere. In school, I've been lucky enough to have interned in Philadelphia, Seattle, and New York City and experience all the things these cities have to offer. Every time I came back home to the Bay Area I felt like I grew up a little. Given the fact that the field is so flexible and open to so many opportunities, I'm really excited to see where in the world that my career will take me.

Q: Why is being technical awesome?

You can build whatever you want!

Q: What is your most impressive accomplishment / project? Give us a little background on it.

In my junior year of university, I co-founded my university's hackathon, HackDavis, which is my proudest achievement to date. We were the last UC to have a hackathon and it was incredible seeing the hacker community grow at UC Davis since HackDavis's conception - tons of new clubs, a blossoming hacker community, and we managed to fill our entire pavilion with new hackers in only our second year of running. I've graduated since, but HackDavis is still going strong and this year they're running weekly workshops teaching students about web development to databases. I couldn't be more proud of the team!

Q: What is the biggest misconception that people have about tech?

I think the biggest misconception that people have about learning how to code in tech is that it's extremely difficult - it simply isn't true! Nowadays it is easier than ever to learn how to code and there's so many resources online to help newbies get started. I wish I had started earlier. There are so many young women who are talented at web development who never really consider Computer Science as a career.

We Power Tech
Q: What do you really love to nerd out on?

Javascript frameworks, data structures, and obscure electronic music genres.


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