On the Record with Rose: Cindy Ren

Cindy Ren

In February, Rose went on the record with Cindy Ren, a front-end developer who started her career at Perfect Sense just over a year ago. During their conversation, Cindy shares how her persistence paid off in landing her a job Perfect Sense, how she has grown in her first full-time job since graduating, how she started juggling, and what songs she's currently rocking out to on the ride to work.

You joined us at Perfect Sense after graduating from the University of Maryland in December 2016. What brought you here?
I first met Parker at our computer science career fair and actually interviewed with Perfect Sense 3 times! The first time was for an internship. The second time, I didn't get the job. The third time, I wound up being hired. I hadn't planned on interviewing again, but when I saw Parker at the career fair and went up to say hi, he encouraged me to have another interview. And here I am!

What is the current project you are working on? What is your role on the team?
I am currently on Chuck's team working on a project for Media DC as a front-end engineer.

What inspired you to become a software engineer?
My dad is actually a software engineer. I grew up watching him write code at home and thought it was interesting. In high school, when I took an elective class in technology, I realized I was good at programming and kept with it through high school and college.

What traits or characteristics do you think help someone succeed as a software engineer?
Most importantly, you need to have openness and willingness to learn new things. Since coming to Perfect Sense, I have had to learn so many new languages outside of what I learned in school. I've realized that throughout my career, I will always have to continuously learn new languages and shiny new developer tricks. Being a good software engineer requires you to stay current or you'll quickly be left behind.

Since starting, you've launched sites for Special Olympics, Missouri Quilt, Televisa, and Circa. Does any one stand one in your mind as a favorite? Why?
Circa was my favorite because it was the first project where I was involved from start to finish. It was really interesting to watch how an entire site comes together. I saw Sandeep's post-it notes on the white board laying out the initial requirements, all the work it took to bring them to life, and ultimately the 5 A.M. launch. The Circa project made me really appreciate all of the complexities that go into launching a site.

In the 13 months you have worked at Perfect Sense, how do you think you have grown the most as a developer?
The opportunity to grow is why I wanted to work at Perfect Sense in the first place. I have come to understand how to become an independent developer. At school, professors assign projects with strict instructions of what to do and how to do it, without allowing for much creativity. Here, the clients have an expectation of the requirements but I am much more free in how to implement them, which has allowed me to grow.

Besides the people, what is your favorite part about working at Perfect Sense?
I always tell college students at recruiting events that I am never afraid to ask questions. I've had internships where everybody is too busy and too important to help. Here, people will find the time for you, whether it be that minute or the next day. Everyone is willing to help. It makes for a collaborative and friendly environment that works far more efficiently.

I read that you were a member of the University of Maryland Juggling Club. How do you get start juggling? Was it hard to learn?
I started juggling during my freshman year of college after two girls that lived across that hall from me invited me to tag along with them to a juggling club event. At the time I didn't know anybody and thought it would be a good way to make friends. We stayed for four hours and I learned how to do a 3-ball juggle. By senior year, I was president of the club and am still best friends with the girls who invited me to that first practice. I keep all of juggling supplies at my desk and would be happy to teach anybody!

What are your favorite activities or hobbies to do outside of the office?
My friends and I really enjoy rock climbing. I have a dog and enjoy hiking with him, especially when I can let him run off-leash. I also like to play video games and read.

What is your favorite guilty pleasure jam?
I have been listening to a lot of throw back songs recently and feeling very nostalgic. I've been jamming out to old My Chemical Romance songs. I didn't listen to them much when I was younger, but now I really appreciate them.