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Living by the Code

Before You Begin

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Getting to Work

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37. An Interview with Huyen Tue Dao
Written by Enrique López-Mañas

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Huyen is an Android developer and Google Developer Expert for Android and Kotlin. She currently works on the Trello Android app at Atlassian and is also co-producer of the “Android Dialogs” YouTube channel. Huyen lives in Denver, CO, though is often found in the Washington D.C. metro area. When not up late programming, she is often found up late gaming (video, mobile, board, card—anything).

Huyen Tue Dao
Huyen Tue Dao

Connect with Huyen

Twitter: @queencodemonkey



What do you wish someone had told you when you started software development that you had to learn the hard way instead?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. When I first got out of school I was so preoccupied with getting a job and looking capable. I felt pressure to know everything off the bat. Looking back, that perspective seems silly. How can anyone expect you to know everything about a new job? As a senior developer, I would never expect that of someone. A lot of people feel pressured to be the smartest person in the room and never to be wrong. That kind of pressure may cause someone not to ask questions out of fear that it will affect how others view that person. That was definitely true for me. I’d always try to figure out the answer on my own, or I faked it until I made it.

What’s a negative trend in the industry, and how would you fix it?

I’m really disappointed at still seeing job listings looking for “rockstar” engineers. To me, this just perpetuates the unfair and unrealistic pressure to be the smartest person in the room, to always be right. I think that is actually quite limiting. I would rather see the industry emphasize the ability to grow and to learn from mistakes. I would rather see the industry emphasize passion for technology and willingness to change and adapt.

You work at Trello, one of the strongest advocates for remote work. Is remote work the future of the work paradigm?

For 90% of my career, I’ve worked remotely. My experience working in an office was very much like that movie Office Space, and very uninspiring. My bosses were in another state, about 300 miles away. In fact, no one on my team worked in that office. I felt completely disconnected and eventually made the decision to just work from home. While I regret that I haven’t had a great in-person, collaborative office experience, I now prefer working remotely.

Huyen’s Recommendations

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