Eng Spotlight: Claire Goldstein-Rodriguez
by Daniel Guillamot & Claire Goldstien-Rodriguez
In today’s “Meet an Outschooler”, we hear from Claire Goldstein-Rodriguez. Claire works with the New Families Pod. She is based in Denver, Colorado.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I will be coming up on one year at Outschool at the end of August. I joined the growth pod which focuses on bringing in new families to Outschool.
Before working at Outschool I worked as a front-end engineer at a small private company that built a cloud-connected collaboration platform. It was mostly hardware, but I worked on a small cloud application team that built a monitoring tool using a React front-end , GraphQL and postgres database. Almost all of my projects were building front end components and pages.
What made you decide to join Outschool?
I was looking to expand out of just a front-end role and learn how to become more of a Full Stack Engineer. When looking at Outschool’s tech stack, I loved how they used React, something I was good at, but there were lots of opportunities to learn new technologies and skillsets such as AWS, GraphQL and SQL. Since joining I’ve had many opportunities to take on bigger tickets to dive deep into each of these areas.
I love working for a mission driven company. When interviewing with the team I got the sense that the team really wants to make a difference with their day to day work. Knowing that everyday when you show up to work can help to improve a child’s education is very rewarding. Here at Outschool, we don’t just talk about our values, we truly embody them in all aspects of our work. The value that I appreciate most is “bring others in”. I see this with my team during our weekly pairing parties where we go over the problems we are tackling and get insights from others on our team. We also get brought into many cross functional meetings so we, as engineers, are involved in decisions before they get made into tickets.
What do you enjoy about your work?
The best part about my job is the people I work with. The team is made of a diverse set of people from different backgrounds. We have people that come from bootcamps, traditional Computer Science degree backgrounds and people that are self-taught. As someone who comes from a traditional Computer Science background, I love learning from self-taught engineers because they think through solutions in a different way than I was taught in school. The different perspectives have helped me to think of different ways to solve a problem. There is always something new to learn and everyone on the team is always open to letting you book time on their calendar to learn from them.
What opportunity for impact do you have in your role?
This past year our pod has taken ownership of Search Engine Optimization(SEO) at Outschool. Our goal is to help people organically discover Outschool when they are searching. Right now users that know about Outschool love it, but if you have never heard of Outschool it’s harder for us to be found. When we improve our SEO there is a big opportunity for us to bring in many new families to Outschool.
What is the most challenging part of your role?
The most challenging part of my role is learning how best practices around how search engines, like Google, decide what’s best to show users. There is a technical aspect of SEO, like making sure the sitemap is up to date, and that our header tags make sense.
The difficult part is that we need to learn how a bot sees our site. It has been a mindset shift of not only thinking about our users but also about a bot. We now have to think about why a search engine would decide certain pages are important and why others are not. Ultimately a search engine bot is trying to help its users to find the most relevant information, so we have to learn how to make our information relevant for our users.
What is the most exciting thing about the work that you do?
I think the most exciting part about working on improving our SEO is the impact organic traffic can have on users and for the business. We have a long way to go to improve our SEO, so it’s exciting to see where we are in comparison to sites with great SEO.
What advice would you give someone who would like to work as a Software Engineer at Outschool?
Though everyone is helpful, working in a fast paced remote environment can be challenging and get lonely at times. The best piece of advice I would give is to advocate for yourself when you need help. Another engineer here told me that if I get stuck, I should try figuring it out on my own for no more than thirty minutes and then ask for help. This has really helped me solve problems faster and learn from others with more expertise in different areas.
What is your favorite thing about working at Outschool?
I love the people that I get to work with everyday. I have learned so much from my coworkers and genuinely enjoy their company. I also love our twice-a-week company-wide meetings. These meetings range from learning about what teams have been working on, to taking a class with an Outschool educator. We also get lunch delivered for these meetings!
Thank you, Claire, for giving us a glimpse into your role. Interested in joining Outschool as a Software Engineer? Help us in our mission to inspire kids to love learning by making education fun.