All articles

Engineering Unzipped: Q&A with Autumn

Author:

Autumn Ragland

Published:

November 15, 2022

Engineering Unzipped: Q&A with Autumn

Meet Autumn, one of our fearless Engineers from team USA. In this edition of Engineering Unzipped, Autumn shares her experiences at Zip so far – from being her authentic self, to fostering inclusion for our Zipsters and making our products more accessible for our customers.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I'm Autumn Ragland, a Software Engineer II, and I've been at Zip for a little over a year. I joined as an Engineer I after teaching in a local not-for-profit coding bootcamp in Memphis.

Why did you choose to build your career at Zip?

A previous mentor had recently joined Zip from a more established company that worked with the waterfall methodology. At Zip, she’d been loving working in a fast-paced environment with an up and coming product and a startup mentality.

She told me that she was getting to work on really interesting initiatives and that I should check Zip out, which I did, and then she referred me. Getting involved in a lot of new things was a big draw for her, and it was for me too. Early in my career, the pull of joining a company that was ‘moving and shaking’ was very exciting.

In my role at the bootcamp, the teaching curriculum was a higher level approach, and so now getting to go deeper and develop specialisms is a really exciting part of my job. I always knew I wanted to be an Engineer and to come to a place where I can aggressively nurture my skills has been a great part of the experience. We work in a very agile way, which can have its pros and cons, but it means that there’s always something new and interesting with different projects rolling through.

Tell us about a piece of work or initiative you’ve enjoyed working on at Zip that has created a significant benefit for the community.

As we continue to grow there’s been more of a realisation that we need to make our products more accessible with a real focus on internationalism. We know not every customer in the US using Zip speaks English as their first language and up until recently we were doing manual translations at checkout.

It was my project to get a platform called Smartling set up for checkout, and make sure our Engineers understood the workflow. It’s been fun and it feels really meaningful to be able to make our products accessible and enable our customers to view the checkout process in multiple languages.

What started as a project in our little team has now moved into different parts of the product such as the app too. Initially the language was set by default based on browser language, and then we’ve added a drop down option at the beginning of the checkout flow, so we can see who’s actively making changes. We’re still running the data to explore if there are other ways to implement the language change but so far there’s a strong metric pulling through to show the impact of the work which feels nice.

Why is it important that Zipsters feel that they are able to bring their true, authentic selves to work?

I think it all really boils down to not feeling burnt out. Because work is 40 hours a week, and during the other 120 hours that are left you're usually able to be true to whoever you are. So if you have to actively change who you are during those 40 hours, that's going to get real exhausting, real fast.

As long as you're upholding a reasonable degree of professionalism, then you should be able to be yourself. You shouldn't need to dress differently or speak differently. If you’re normally opinionated and vocal, then you should be comfortable being that way at work too.

Not having to constantly make that switch will keep people from feeling tired, and make them more valuable team members.

I know everyone on my team comes as themselves and it makes them easier to talk to. It also helps with technical decision making because I have a sense of who they really are and what they like beyond just writing code.

What needs to change for the tech industry to become more inclusive, and what can organisations like Zip be doing more of in order to play their part?

This is a question that companies have been trying to figure out for a while, which is good. It shows we’re all moving in the right direction. Though I think the ‘build it and they will come’ approach isn’t the right one. Organisations need to take a more active approach than just telling people they have initiatives that make them a great place to work.

To build a safe community, you have to get the people in there. So consider actively posting jobs in places that target minority groups like women and people of colour, using job listings removed of language that may be isolating to those groups, even opening opportunities up to students from non-traditional backgrounds.

And then once they’re there, you have to retain your people. A lot of that is down to encouraging people to come as themselves, so that they want to stay and feel supported to do so. It’s integral to the whole idea, that you can’t support people if you don’t have them in the first place.

Setting meaningful benchmarks like we do at Zip for gender diversity - with the goal of building a team that’s 40% women, 40% men and 20% other gender identities, and then looking at these metrics in an intersectional way, for example goals for women of colour, and meeting them in a reasonable timeframe…I feel as if that’s the only closed loop that will get organisations like ours closer to true diversity in time.

What one thing that people outside of the organisation may not know about Zip makes you proud to work here?

Something I really like about Zip are the SIGs (Significant interest groups) that we have. I know a lot of companies use them but they’re very active here.

I’m a part of the SIG for Women and genderqueer non-binary identifying people in tech, which is a very specific Slack group with only about 40 of us in it. We run happy hours and anytime a new Zipster joins that fits that criteria they’re added to the group - it’s just a nice place to chit chat on tech specific subjects. There’s also a co-working SIG every Wednesday, where it’s not really about interacting, but more body doubling, which is a common practice for people that have ADHD or challenges with focus or attention - I love it so much and get so much done in that hour.

I also really enjoyed my interview experience. The coding portion of my interview was with another woman, and as my first serious tech interview I felt very nervous. The hiring manager was incredibly knowledgeable and kind, and at the end she even gave me a pep talk which made me feel so supported, even before I was hired. Six months into the role, the experience I had made me want to interview candidates myself and so far I’ve been a part of about 17 in all - that experience informed the approach I take with candidates today.

Like what you've read?

Check out these other articles

May 1, 2024

Data, Analytics & Risk
Future-proofing your data

Author: Tal Bergman

Welcome to data nirvana! Zip ANZ's Director Data & Analytics Tal Bergman shares learnings from the transformation of our data stack and what it means to work with fast and future-proof data.

May 1, 2024

Commercial
This is my Zipstory: Q&A with Lucy

Author: Lucy Lindsay

Meet Lucy Lindsay from the ANZ Commercial team who reveals what has enabled her multi-role progression and what makes her a proud Zipster.

April 16, 2024

Technology
This is my Zipstory: Q&A with Jacob

Author: Jacob Turjman

In this blog, Jacob from the ANZ IT team tells his Zipstory, from being permanent IT team member number 1, to his current role leading six Zipsters.

April 10, 2024

Zipster video
Life in the US Risk team

Author: Priyamvada Kamra

[Video post] - Get to know Priyamvada, who has owned it from day one as a Zipster, maturing our US-based Risk strategies while maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

April 9, 2024

Zipster video
Life in the ANZ Data & Analytics team

Author: Multiple contributors

[Video post] - Introducing Niki and Will from team Data & Analytics. Watch to learn more about the game-changing work they have owned while writing their Zipstories.

April 9, 2024

Zipster video
Life in the US Product team

Author: Multiple contributors

[Video post] - Introducing Trygve and Emily, two Product Managers who are putting their name to no shortage of interesting initiatives to support the growth of the brand in the US.

April 9, 2024

Zipster video
Life in the ANZ Product team

Author: Multiple contributors

[Video post] - Hear from Narelle and Jay, two OG Zipsters who have shaped their careers in different and interesting directions in the ANZ Product team.

April 8, 2024

Zipster video
Life in the US Technology team

Author: Multiple contributors

[Video post] - Meet Kibi, Robert and Elijah from Zip's US Technology team. In this video, each Zipster reveals what differentiates working in Tech at Zip from their previous careers.

April 8, 2024

Zipster video
Life in the ANZ Technology team

Author: Multiple contributors

[Video post] - Hear from Dan and Fatima, two fearless Zipsters in the ANZ Technology team, to understand more about how they are owning the latest chapter of their Zipstory.
This is my Zipstory: Q&A with Ella

Author: Ella Werman

Meet Senior Merchant and Consumer Marketing Manager Ella Werman to hear all about how her work is driving incremental value for the company and our merchant partners.

March 5, 2024

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Zipsters celebrate Mardi Gras in Sydney

Author: Multiple contributors

As Sydney geared up for another spectacular Mardi Gras, we asked Zipsters from our Zip Pride community to share what the event means to them.

January 25, 2024

Life at Zip
Mentoring at Zip - Q&A with Tim and Josh

Author: Multiple contributors

Meet our mentor/mentee pair Tim Danusa and Josh Wilson, who share their experiences at the half way point of our inaugural Zip Mentoring Program

January 10, 2024

Life at Zip
Meet our 2023 US ZipSTAR Award winners

Author: Multiple contributors

Get to know the winners of our 2023 ZipSTAR Awards, recognising US-based Zipsters who have lived one or more our four values in all they've done

January 10, 2024

Life at Zip
Meet our 2023 ANZ ZipSTAR Award winners

Author: Multiple contributors

Get to know the winners of our 2023 ZipSTAR Awards, recognising Zipsters who have lived one or more our four values in all they've done
Building a culture that’s Stronger Together

Author: Nitin Prasad

We recently sat down with our Senior Product Manager Nitin Prasad, who’s based in our Takapuna (Auckland) office in New Zealand. Here's what he had to say about culture, communication and cross-functional work at Zip.
Product Design UnZipped: The work we do, and the way we grow

Author: Mel Hambarsoomian

In the final instalment of a 3-part series, we go behind the scenes with our ANZ Product Design team to understand more about the work they're proud of, and how they're growing.
Get to know Zip ANZ’s Product Design and Research team

Author: Multiple contributors

This is the second of a three-part blog series profiling our Australia and New Zealand Product Design and Design Research team

December 7, 2023

Data, Analytics & Risk
Data UnZipped: Q&A with Sam

Author: Sam Manila

Get to know what a typical day in the life looks like for Zip's Senior Manager, Data Science for ANZ Sam Manila.
Writing my own story: From employee number 5, to Zip’s Delivery Manager for New Zealand

Author: Lionel Yip

Based out of Auckland, New Zealand, Lionel Yip is a Delivery Manager in our Technology team. Read on to discover more about his journey with Zip.

November 9, 2023

Data, Analytics & Risk
Data UnZipped: Q&A with Alvin

Author: Alvin Rusly

Meet Alvin, a Sydney-based Senior Data Analyst, whose work is helping Zip's New Zealand team make better data-driven decisions
Levelling up with Zip’s Product Design and Research team

Author: Mel Hambarsoomian

In the first of a three part blog series profiling our ANZ Product Design team, hear from Director Mel Hambarsoomian about the team's focus on design maturity, tri-track agile and craft and quality.
Engineering UnZipped: Q&A with Archana

Author: Archana Kanakamedala

Say hi to Archana Kanakamedala, and learn who and what have inspired her journey and career progression to her current role of Engineering Manager in our ANZ Core Product Squad.
Making the most of my Volunteering Leave with the Snowy Brumbies

Author: Laure Salou

Meet Lead Product Designer for our ANZ business Laure Salou and learn how she discovered a new passion while Volunteering on Zip’s time.

October 5, 2023

Candidate Support
My role building and growing a team that’s Stronger Together

Author: Hannah Scott

Read on to hear how our ANZ Senior TA Partner Hannah Scott’s focus on candidate excellence has helped develop her passion for DEI, and get her top tips on how to excel in your recruitment process and your career as Zipster

September 21, 2023

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Celebrating Wear it Purple Day

Author: Zach Rennick

We recently sat down with CX Superstar Zach Rennick in celebration of Wear it Purple Day, an annual LGBTIQA+ awareness day especially for young people, based in Australia.
Zipsters support the Future of Finance

Author: Lucy Lindsay and Jimmy Kelly

Hear from Sydney-based Zipsters Lucy and Jimmy who volunteered their time to partner with Young Change Agents, a nationwide social enterprise helping youth from all backgrounds see problems as opportunities

June 6, 2023

Data, Analytics & Risk
Risk UnZipped: Q&A with Priyamvada

Author: Priyamvada Kamra

Meet Priyamvada, our Director, Risk Strategy based in the US. Read on for her career story, the work she's leading at Zip and how she brings her true, authentic self to work.

May 2, 2023

Life at Zip
Celebrating our Zipsterversaries: February - April

Author: Multiple contributors

Each month we recognise the tenure of a Zipster who has truly lived our values during their time here. This article re-caps the stories of the three Zipsters who we celebrated from February to April.
Zipping it forward - our partnership with The DV Collective

Author: Anna Wei and Ying Zhang

Meet two of our fearless Product Managers, Anna Wei and Ying Zhang, and learn how they used their Volunteering Leave to support The DV Collective, a national domestic violence initiative.

March 27, 2023

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Inspiring our next generation of female sales leaders

Author: Karen Farrar

In this article, Senior Director, Commercial Karen Farrar reflects on this year's International Women's Day theme and how it resonates given her experiences as a Zipster.

March 16, 2023

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
How we celebrated IWD 2023

Author: Multiple contributors

Learn all about how we recognised International Women's Day 2023 and what a gender equal future looks in the eyes of four of our fearless Zipsters.
Sustainability UnZipped: Q&A with Oli

Author: Oli Nelson

We recently sat down with Zip’s Sustainability Associate Oli Nelson to hear what the team have been up to in support of our global Social Impact and Sustainability initiatives.

February 16, 2023

Data, Analytics & Risk
Building a fit-for-purpose modern data stack, part 2.

Author: Moss Pauly

In this second part of a multi-piece article, Moss Pauly, Senior Manager, Data Products, deep dives into the key decisions the team tackled when modernising Zip’s data stack.

February 13, 2023

Data, Analytics & Risk
Building a fit-for-purpose modern data stack, part 1.

Author: Moss Pauly

In the first instalment of a multi-part blog post, Sydney-based Zipster Moss Pauly introduces our ANZ data platform and the team’s journey over the last 18 months.

February 15, 2023

Data, Analytics & Risk
Risk UnZipped: Q&A with Mohamed

Author: Mohamed Afifi

Meet Mohamed, based out of our NYC office, who's leading our Enterprise Risk Management strategy at an exciting point in the journey for Zip in the US.
All Things Product: Mel Hambarsoomian

Author: Mel Hambarsoomian

Our Director of Product Design, Melanie, recently sat down to reveal her career highlights, sharing what she looks for in talent, her insights on design maturity, product thinking and design leadership.

January 29, 2023

Life at Zip
Celebrating our Zipsterversaries: November - January

Author: Multiple contributors

Each month we recognise the tenure of a Zipster who has truly lived our values during their time here. This article re-caps the stories of the three Zipsters who we celebrated from November '22 to January.

January 26, 2023

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
How our Zipsters celebrated Lunar New Year

Author: Multiple contributors

Hear about the significance of Lunar New Year to Jess and Clement, and learn how they celebrate.
Making use of our Volunteering Leave

Author: Multiple contributors

Every year Zipsters get 2 days of paid Volunteering Leave. Here's how a couple of the team used theirs...
Atomic change and the future of Technology at Zip

Author: George Gorman

ANZ CTO George Gorman gives a glimpse into the opportunities that lie ahead for the team.

November 11, 2022

Data, Analytics & Risk
Moving at Zip speed while building data that stands the test of time

Author: Tal Bergman

ANZ Director Data Tal Bergman offers insight into life in the Data & Analytics team
Engineering UnZipped: Q&A with Kalpana

Author: Kalpana Chandrasekar

Meet ANZ Engineering Manager, Kalpana Chandrasekar, from our Shop & Rewards team.

November 11, 2022

Data, Analytics & Risk
Master these three skills to grow your data and analytics career

Author: Will Walker

Looking to grow your data and analytics career? ANZ Senior Manager, Analytics Will Walker shares his top tips.
View all articles