My Name Is Yuko Takegoshi — This Is What I Achieve at Aha!
What is the best way to accelerate your career? Work in a high-growth company that challenges you and puts learning first. An unwavering motivation to continue improving and achieving is also key. The highest performers constantly pursue new ideas and seek to understand the experiences and motivations of the people around them. We can learn a lot from them.
Curiosity fuels growth — which is why we want to bring you personal stories of achievement from talented people. Our hope is that some of their ideas are useful and maybe even inspirational as you work to become your best.
Meet Yuko Takegoshi — a senior software engineer on the Aha! engineering team. She loves building time-saving enhancements for our products and serving as a go-to resource for engineering new hires. Yuko lives in Boca Raton, Florida, with her fiancé, where she enjoys scuba diving and crocheting.
Read on to learn more about how she finds meaning and joy in her work — in her own words.
What kinds of projects do you enjoy working on most?
"I always love building things that make life easier for our customers. It is so satisfying to help people save time and effort. I especially enjoy the projects that make it simpler to handle data — from importing CSVs to creating powerful reports. Even my personal projects are about solving the 'paper cuts' I regularly encounter. For example, I wrote a script to alert me when my internet comes back on after an outage so I do not have to check it again and again."
Which recent accomplishment at Aha! are you most proud of?
I am also very proud of my work to improve our engineering onboarding experience. In addition to making myself available as a resource, I have compiled training material on team knowledge and noteworthy Aha! culture. (I will admit that I am partially to blame for one of our most competitive traditions, where Aha! teams take turns making a parody video to reveal at each company onsite. The stakes get higher every time.)"
What have you done to help your teammates succeed?
"I believe that we succeed best when we are not only supported technically — but also personally."
"Aha! has an extremely talented engineering team with a seemingly infinite amount of collective knowledge. What I offer to new team members is an easier way to navigate all of that information. I help our new engineers get up to speed as an accessible point of contact for questions and feedback. Plus, because we all need some fun in our lives, I supply an endless stream of bad jokes and puns. Here is one: What is a pirate's favorite programming language? You might think it is R, but a pirate's true love is the C."
How should someone keep learning and increasing their knowledge in a similar role?
"I find that keeping up to date with news in the tech world is a crucial aspect of continuing to grow your skills as an engineer. Despite the drawbacks of social media, it can connect you to a lot of very knowledgeable people in the software industry. These folks often have new and interesting insights about various tech that you may not gain otherwise. Of course, sites like Hacker News, dev.to, and Women Who Code can also be great sources of information.
"Take advantage of all the shared knowledge you can — whether it comes from blogs, forums, or your coworkers."
"If there's a new technology you are interested in, try incorporating it into fun code challenges or a personal project. For example, a group of us Aha! engineers participated in 2021's Advent of Code and learned to use the amb library. This was a great opportunity to play around with something new."
What advice do you have for an aspiring or early-career software engineer?
"Have faith in yourself and take risks."
"I always give this advice to the women I mentor. It is okay to not be perfect. It is okay to not know everything. Go ahead and take those chances, try new projects, and advocate for yourself. Sure, you may sometimes be met with a 'no' — but by preemptively rejecting yourself, you are blocking the possibility of that 'yes.'
And remember — you are not your code. Criticism of your code is not criticism of you as a person. We all have our 'off' days, so be kind to yourself!"
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