March 26, 2021
Based in San Francisco, Zoe Demertzis joined Samsara in March 2019. As an embedded software engineer on our firmware team, she helps build and maintain the technology that ensures our hardware functions correctly. Here’s a peek into Zoe’s “day in the life” as an embedded software engineer at Samsara.
I start the day with a morning coffee and take my dog, Gino, for a walk before settling into the day. I’ve been at Samsara for almost two years now, and I have spent one of those years working from home. While I miss the spontaneous conversations in the office, I’ve made the most of this past year by digging into my technical blindspots, and I have grown a lot as an engineer.
Morning coffee and checking up on my plants. If you're a fellow plant parent, you won't want to miss our vibrant #plantpeople Slack channel!
Beginning to queue up my day. This is an important time because once the day goes, it really goes. Given the nature of firmware, we’re the pivot point between many different groups within engineering (e.g. hardware, software). That means a lot of communication with many different teams, so this is my time to dedicate headspace to something really complicated I’m working through. Sometimes I use this time to prepare for an interview, since we’re hiring for a number of different open roles right now.
Ready to start the day in my home office. Not pictured—but usually there—is my dog Gino taking a nap while I work.
Time for our team standup. I’m on a team with a few other firmware engineers, and right now we’re primarily focused on our Asset Gateways (AGs) and supporting cables.
During our team standup, we talk through our current sprint. A sprint is a task management framework, and—for us—a two-week push and commitment to get something done. There are a number of tasks an engineer can own within a sprint, and each task has corresponding subtasks or tickets that we track in JIRA. We’ll spend this time talking through the tickets we’re working on or syncing with the QA and product teams on what priorities are coming down the pipeline.
Meet some of the Connected Equipment Assets team! Clockwise from the top right: Lucas Glenat, Gautam Ramaswamy, and Zoe Demertzis (me).
I use this time to get out of the house and walk my dog, Gino. I also catch up on a few of the fun Slack channels we have at Samsara. One of my favorite Slack channels is called #code-slinging-underrepresented-genders-in-engineering, a private channel where we can communicate openly and support one another. Another favorite is #0x-cooking, a channel for Samsarians to share cooking failures where I can always find a laugh!
Midday walk with Gino. I often post photos of Gino in our #office-dogs Slack channel, which has more than 500 members!
Back at it. If mornings are about team collaboration time, afternoons are when I can put in a lot of engineering work—that means coding and a lot of research. There’s always a lot going on here, but in a way that’s predictable and manageable, without getting stale. We have processes in place to support us, but there’s still plenty of room for experimentation and tackling engineering challenges where I need to get intellectually creative.
After a few brief syncs, I’m starting to wrap up the day. It’s a great day if I learn something new, unblock a difficult project, or meet someone new at Samsara.
End-of-day chin scratches for Gino!
While every day as a firmware engineer is a little different, one thing that is consistent and unique to the experience at Samsara is how trusted we are with both our time and our abilities. There’s an inherent confidence that we’ll get the job done, but also a huge amount of support to do so. There’s no sense of shame in asking each other for help, saying we need time to figure something out, or pursuing projects that interest us or suit our own personal growth. Samsara is a place where engineers are trusted and respected.
“There’s no sense of shame in asking each other for help, saying we need time to figure something out, or pursuing projects that interest us or suit our own personal growth. Samsara is a place where engineers are trusted and respected.”
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