Bettina Pschorr is a software engineer on the Emerging Technologies team. We interviewed her for her one-year anniversary at Zscaler, which is January 28, 2020. Bettina is one reason Zscaler is a Great Place to Work.
I was born and raised in Hong Kong and lived there for 17 years (in Kowloon Tong). I moved to California by myself for college, not knowing anyone here. I studied at Cal Poly for one year, then moved to Spain for six months. After that, I spent some time in Germany, then moved back to Hong Kong where I worked as a fashion designer for a few months. Finally, I came back to California to finish my degree and graduated early.
Emerging Technologies is a fast-paced, innovative team. I work as a software engineer on the UI team for Zscaler Private Access (ZPA), and it’s like working for a startup within a startup. We’re our own product team so we have a lot of autonomy. And, because we’re a smaller team, we can work quickly and there’s a lot of room for creativity.
I took an unconventional route. I went to business school for an information systems degree and got exposed to software engineering on the business side—optimizing processes and documenting and translating requirements. I was lucky enough to get a training opportunity in engineering, and it’s been two and a half years now. I love my job because I get to communicate data in an interesting way and the work I do can positively impact a lot of people’s lives.
As a woman in STEM, I have observed some biases, but I’ve seen a lot of support, too, from men and women. Diversity is a good thing and teams that aren’t afraid of it are usually more successful. I will say that you have to have thick skin and stand up for yourself—and be prepared to work hard.
I was drawn to the team dynamics. I liked that it was a smaller team. During the interview, they wanted a meaningful, two-way conversation and discussion. More importantly, everything I saw about the product I believed in. I also really admire the hard work and humility of Zscaler leaders.
On my first project, I created a reusable widget for a specific component that we saw was being used in a lot of places in our UI-6. They were all coded differently but they had similar uses, so I made one reusable widget that we could plug into each place. It’s been rewarding to see others use it. As a team, we’re working on creating a library of widgets. It’s really fun to find new ways to reduce code and help the team (and hopefully other teams at Zscaler) work more efficiently.
At another time, I introduced a tool to our build process/tech stack. It’s hard to try to plug a tool into something that's already working, but this initiative has helped us stay updated with the latest technologies.
I really like to paint. I’m also very good at sewing and I tailor my own clothes. When I lived in Hong Kong, I would go to Shenzhen to pick up fabrics and make my own clothes. In a sense, it’s similar to software engineering—you have to design and execute and iterate after learning from mistakes.
I’d love to see what our CEO Jay Chaudhry does in a day and interact with Zscaler customers, which I don’t get to do too much right now in my own role.
I’d probably work at the Embassy as a translator. I pick things up quickly and it’s easy for me to see patterns—and that’s essentially what languages are. In addition to English, I know some German, Mandarin, and conversational Cantonese, and I picked up Spanish when I lived in Spain.
Be yourself. Zscaler cares about how your personality fits into the company.
I don’t come from a networking background. I remember one interviewer asked me about some networking concepts and I didn’t know exactly how it worked, but I made my best guess and walked the interviewer through my logic. She liked it and now I’m here!
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