As part of our Team Spotlight series, we sit down with a member of our team to discuss their background, and what they do here at Seek.
This week I'm on the record with Jordan!
Jordan is a software engineer at Seek AI, and an alumnus of the Grace Hopper Program — a competitive software development immersive whose mission is to make tech careers accessible to women+. After excelling in the program, Jordan joined Seek AI in May 2022 as the first Software Engineer Intern and has since been promoted to full-time Software Engineer. A self-starter, she has made several key contributions to the frontend and backend development of the Seek platform. In her spare time, she is an active member of the Blacks in Technology Foundation.
Check out Jordan on GitHub here 💙
Great to finally meet you Jordan! To kick things off, would you mind telling us a bit about yourself?
Let’s take it all the way back! I'm first-generation American, and grew up in south Jersey to Jamaican parents. I spent a lot of my early life trying to figure out what to do, and I actually ended up in the hospitality sector for a bit while studying environmental sciences in college. From waitressing to making a drink or two here and there, I worked just about every position you can imagine in a restaurant.
Then, the pandemic hit. That’s when I started to re-evaluate things and said to myself: “OK, I can’t really stay in hospitality forever, and it’s not necessarily what I see myself doing for the rest of my life.” I knew I wanted to do something more mentally stimulating, and I decided to explore coding. I started learning how to code, and I fell in love with it. And believe it or not, there’s quite a bit of overlap between the worlds of fine dining and software development. 🙂
I ended up liking coding so much that I decided to take my learning a step further, and I enrolled in a 17-week boot camp covering everything from the fundamentals to developing full-fledged products.
It’s always impressive and inspiring to hear from people getting into coding from non-traditional backgrounds. In your case, what boot camp did you complete?
I attended the Grace Hopper Program at Fullstack Academy, a software-intensive program specifically designed for making tech careers accessible for women+.
That's amazing! So, how did you come across Seek?
Well, I actually came across Seek on AngelList while I was job searching after completing the Grace Hopper Program. What really caught my attention immediately and set Seek apart from others was the emphasis on mentorship in the job posting. As someone with no experience in software engineering/ tech, it was really important for me to find somewhere that offered mentorship.
When I met the engineering lead and Sarah Nagy, our CEO, I was impressed by the diversity of the team and the strong presence of women in leadership positions. I really appreciate seeing women in leadership positions, especially in the tech field where we’re really underrepresented. In the end, Seek's emphasis on mentorship, and the diversity of the team really checked the boxes of my “dream job”.
When I landed the internship position, I knew it was a great opportunity to learn and grow in the industry. And when I got offered a full-time position to join the team as an engineer, I couldn't have been more thrilled. It's been an amazing journey so far!
How was that internship experience for you?
I absolutely loved my time as an intern here! The team was always supportive and always there for me whenever I needed help. As someone who doesn't fit into the traditional “white, male-presenting person” stereotype, I usually hear a lot of horror stories about discrimination within the tech industry. But Seek has been the opposite of that, it’s a very inclusive and friendly environment, which is one of the reasons why I love being a part of this company. Even coming from a non-traditional background into tech, I’ve never been treated any differently from anyone else. Everyone has been super welcoming.
As far as the actual “technical” work, it’s definitely been challenging at times, but I learned a lot during my internship. Whenever I felt stuck or confused in any way, there was always someone available and willing to help me. My manager and colleagues always came from a place of understanding and patience and really took the time to walk me through anything I was struggling with. And that applied to best coding practices too— I’ve not only become a better coder but learned how to make my code readable for those who come after me as the engineering team grows. In the end, I’ve definitely grown a lot as an engineer since starting off as an intern here.
I feel you on that! I also have a “non-technical” background, but I’ve learned so much during my time here through the help of my colleagues— and even through this interview with you today! That being said, what advice would you have for someone who wants to transition into a career in tech or start learning how to code?
Just keep going and get your hands a bit dirty! Don’t be afraid to break things here or there— build out things, break them, build them up again. Play around the technology and keep exploring, because this is how you can really get the most out of what you learn.
But, also be aware that the tech space is huge and that it’s okay to not know everything when you're first starting out. It can be a bit overwhelming at times, but as long as you put in the effort and time, and practice every day, you’ll eventually be where you want to be. So, just keep going and play around!
I’m always curious to learn more about what the “technical” team does here at Seek, so with that being said, what are some of the projects you’ve been working on?
As of late, I’ve been really focused on our enhancing our security policies. As we grow as a company and expand our user base, we really want to make sure that our web applications are as secure as they possibly can be. That goes into getting us prepared for various security certifications: one of them being the SOC-2 Type II compliance certification. So a lot of my work revolves around making sure that our security posture is as good as it can be, and that means my work revolves around strengthening our access controls, detection systems, and so forth to keep our users' data.
Could you briefly explain what SOC2 is, and why that's important?
SOC2 (Service Organization Control 2) is a cybersecurity compliance framework developed by the AICPA (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants) that in short, ensures that service providers establish and follow certain security measures to ensure the safety and privacy of their customers' data. There are 2 types of SOC2 certification: SOC2 Type I and Type II. While SOC2 Type I ensures that a company has certain security measures in place at a given time, SOC2 Type II tests how well the organization's security systems perform over a period of time.
This is really important for us to not only demonstrate our commitment to safeguarding our customers' data but also to highlight our company's capability to maintain a secure and reliable infrastructure that ensures the privacy and confidentiality of their information.
Thanks for walking me through this! In addition to the work you do on security, is there any other area you’d like to get involved in at Seek in the future?
I'm glad you asked! One area that I'm particularly interested in getting more involved in is working on implementing more features that make our product even more accessible for all users. I think one area that often gets overlooked in our industry is the accessibility of interfaces. There are a lot of potential customers who could benefit from using our product, who might need more accessible features like say, a screen reader. So I'd definitely want to take more of a lead on implementing more of these accessibility features.
To finish off, bonus question! What's something people don't know about Jordan?
I’m super into fitness! I get up (or, try to) early in the morning and go to the gym, try to get all my protein in, and so on— I think fitness is really what keeps me grounded!
And that's a wrap! Thanks again to Jordan for sharing her Seek story.
Next week, we're on the record with Utkarsh Shekar, NLP Researcher. Stay tuned 👀
💙Want to join our team? Check out our job openings here 💙