OneLogin software engineer Trish Huynh shares her insights on her journey as a software engineer, life in cybersecurity, and her helpful coping tools during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Can you tell us about your career path in software engineering? Have you always wanted to be a software engineer?
Growing up, it wasn’t common to hear from friends or classmates that they want to be a software engineer. It wasn’t until later on in my college career that I even discovered that computer science was a major. I spent a large chunk of my life wanting to be a pharmacist, being in a medical profession was all I really knew. I ended up getting my associate degree in biology at the local community college and was already accepted into the biology major at the University of Washington.
Just before I was about to start my first quarter, I decided that pharmacy wasn’t something I wanted to do anymore. I had to start exploring my options because I really had no idea what I wanted to do. To be honest, I ended up Googling “majors with good pay” and Computer Science was at the top of my search results. I’ve never heard of it and kept digging. I remember always being into technology and enjoyed tinkering around with Myspace layouts. I decided to take a chance and go for it. I ended up enjoying all of my classes and time seemed to have flown by. Two years later and a week before graduation, I accepted an offer to work as a software engineer at a small AI startup.
During college it looks like you studied general biology in-depth. How does biology knowledge help with coding and/or cybersecurity?
I had to do a lot of partnered labs when I was majoring in biology. One thing that came out of it was that it helped me be a better team player. When you’re working on multiple lab reports a day with numerous people, each one with varying viewpoints, it kicks in your ability to be able to adapt and work well with all different kinds of people.
“I remember always being into technology and enjoyed tinkering around with Myspace layouts. I decided to make a change and go for it.”
-on switching into a computer science major
What has been one of the most challenging projects you have worked on while at OneLogin? What was the outcome and what did you learn?
During my interview, I was told that I would be working on a rewrite of an existing Android app. I started working at OneLogin with very little Android development experience, so the thought of building out an app from the ground up and bringing it to public release was more than just a little daunting.
The app was actually just published a few weeks ago into Google Play. It ended up being a blast to work on and I learned so much more about Android development. Building out this project really helped me grow as an engineer.
What is one piece of advice that you would give to software engineers thinking of getting into cybersecurity?
GO FOR IT! I think it’s beneficial for software engineers to have knowledge of security best practices. My time at OneLogin has forced me into being a more well-rounded engineer. One of the values at OneLogin is “Security First”, taking that value and applying it in my daily work life has definitely made me more aware while I’m coding and planning new features.
How does cybersecurity come into play during this pandemic, especially as companies are moving to remote work?
It’s crucial, especially in this time, for companies and their employees to keep their data safe and secure. It’s unfortunate, but there will be those that are ready to take advantage of people in these trying times. From my perspective, there aren’t any downsides in strengthening your security, but it’s all about the “how to?”. Good thing OneLogin has some pretty awesome information on how to handle your security.
“My time at OneLogin has forced me into being a more well-rounded engineer. One of the values at OneLogin is “Security First”, taking that value and applying it in my daily work life has definitely made me more aware while I’m coding and planning new features.”
How have you kept busy during the “shelter-in-place” orders? Do you have 1-2 tips that have helped you?
I generally work from home most of the time since the office is about 25 miles from my home. So I can definitely contribute here.
My number one rule I set for myself is to have a routine and stick with it. Even if I know that I won’t be seen by any of my co-workers, I’ll still get ready as if I were to head into the office. It puts me into the work mentality I need to be in.
My second rule is to stay active, this one is a little bit trickier considering the “shelter-in-place” orders, but I try to find ways to get the heart rate pumping. Whether that be a Peloton ride, taking the dogs out, or a bodyweight workout. It helps to de-stress after a long day and I always feel a lot less guilty about all the Animal Crossing I’ve been playing. Animal Crossing has also kept me very busy.
For a week, if you could change roles with another OneLogin employee, what would it be and why?
No doubt, I would want to switch roles with our UI designer. It could be from all the time I spent on those Myspace layouts, but I get a real kick out of looking at mock-ups and reading about new UI/UX trends.
What is a piece of advice that has helped you in your professional or personal life?
Always be learning! Especially in this field, technology moves fast and you don’t want to be left in the dust.