I started at Qualtrics just over three years ago when my husband and I moved to Utah County for his schooling. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to work with several teams and leaders and I’m the current technical lead for the Text iQ team here in Qualtrics’s Provo office.

What is your ‘why’?
I was six when I decided I wanted to be an engineer (at the time I wanted to be an electrical engineer). My family used to watch old documentaries on space exploration and I remember being awestruck by the engineering effort required to build Mars rovers. I don’t remember which one. While I was fascinated with these shows, I never really considered becoming an engineer until they interviewed a female engineer on the show. It was a wake-up call and it sealed the deal. I wanted to do things that would inspire people. I wanted to do things that mattered. I wanted to be an engineer.

So Why Qualtrics?
Qualtrics inspires people. It gives customers a place to make an impact and it gives companies a chance to hear and act on those voices. And that’s not all. My team at Qualtrics works on a lot of natural language processing. We are constantly trying to give customers a voice and pushing the boundaries of NLP. And that’s exciting. This plus the rapid pace of development at Qualtrics pushes my team and me to learn and grow. We’re doing something different here and it feels really great to know that you’re having an impact on the world.

What does your day look like?
I come in around 8:00 and have a stand-up meeting with my team where we discuss what we accomplished yesterday and then talk about what we are going to do today. As a technical lead, 40% of my day is spent interacting and collaborating with other teams in other offices like Seattle and Krakow. The rest of my day is spent coding, which I (obviously) love. Qualtrics has a very high bar on code quality which means that we’re always striving to do things better. I love finding the ‘right’ way to do something – even if it’s hard.

What is your favorite part of your role?
I love working with and learning about the algorithms we use for NLP. NLP is a challenging field – human language is incredibly complicated and I love learning about it and how we can get computers to understand it. I love working with my team and I love delivering the results of our NLP research to people in an accessible and accurate way.

Any tips for someone who is considering an opportunity at Qualtrics?
Number one, if you are looking for a company that is going to move fast and push you, Qualtrics is for you. I’ve been on my team for a little over a year, and in that short time we have swapped out our interface, updated our backend services, and grown another sister team in Poland. And we aren’t slowing down anytime soon.

Second: Be all in on change, improvement, and self-growth, and do it fast. If you are willing to learn, you’ll come out of Qualtrics a far better engineer than you started.

Lastly: Be ready to work with others. Qualtrics emphasizes collaboration. You aren’t just thrown in a cubicle where you don’t have to talk to anyone. The best engineers talk design with your team and collaborate with different teams in different offices. These aren’t things that people generally expect from engineers but it’s the biggest differentiator for success that I’ve seen. Between collaboration and interviewing new engineering candidates, we do a lot of talking here at Qualtrics.

What surprised you most about working at Qualtrics?
What turned out to be my favorite part, and surprised me most, was definitely the people. And I’m not just talking about culture here – though that is great – I mean just the people. When I first interviewed at Qualtrics, the engineers who interviewed me were incredibly friendly and transparent. It was a great experience and it really sold me on working here. But the place where the people really shine is in the architecture of Qualtrics. People are willing to help. They’re willing to teach and they genuinely want you to succeed. It’s not something you see at other companies. Qualtrics is incredibly transparent and bureaucracy-free and that all comes from the men and women you work alongside each and every day. To me, that’s the best – and most surprising – thing about Qualtrics.

 

Mackenzie is a Software Engineer with our Text iQ team at Qualtrics in Provo.  She holds a Bachelors of Computer Science from BYU.