NYCDA Women in Tech Series:

Jennifer Refat

Senior Software Engineer @ Refinery29

What Does an Engineer Do?

All sorts of tech things

I'm a full-stack engineer

Front End - What you see - HTML, CSS, Javascript

Back End - Data - PHP, Python, MySQL

Why Did I Become an Engineer?

Curiousity & Tinkering


  • High School: 'Computer Science' major
  • College: NYU Computer Science major
  • Grad school: ITP - Art & Tech!
Penguin Mirror by Daniel Rozin

Challenges in Getting Started

  • Being a woman in tech
  • Being a minority in tech

Some Bad Things...

  • As of 2015, about 25% of tech is female
  • Less than 3% in tech are Latin women
  • You will come across a jerk or two

Some Good Things!

  • More women in tech by the day
  • More pre-college tech programs
  • Good mentoring network for women
  • There are a lot more nice people than jerks :)



  • Product & Engineering team:
    49% women / 51% men

Get Your Foot in the Door

  • Internships
  • Build your portfolio

Side Projects! Why?

  • Learn a new technology
  • Experiment with ideas
  • Practical experience
  • Learn about industry standards
    - coding styles, testing, dev instance

Side Projects! What?

  • Anything, everything
  • Frontend, backend, mobile
  • But there's more! QA, IT, UX, devops, endless options...

Side Projects! How?

  • Something challenging but not overwhelming
  • Give yourself a reasonable timeframe
  • Then pad it with a couple of more weeks :p
Button Keyboard
Should I Wear Pants Today?
You will rarely feel done or complete or even successful...
It doesn't matter how much you get; you are left wanting more.
Success is filled with MSG.

Amy Poehler - Yes Please

What's Next?

Combine tech & craft interests

Learning more Python / Django - coming soon!

Treat Yo' Self

With Knowledge!

  • Code challenges - Code Wars
  • Reading challenges - Goodreads
  • Github / Explore (
  • Do non-tech things! Good for inspiration

Some "Pro Tips"

  • StackOverflow is your friend
  • Learn how to do Google searches!
  • Find a learning buddy
  • Digest & cite code snippets
  • Be open to criticism
  • Give back through Open Source Software (OSS)
  • Release even if you think it's not perfect
Buy it, use it, break it, fix it, Trash it, change it, mail, upgrade it, Charge it, point it, zoom it, press it, Snap it, work it, quick, erase it, Write it, cut it, paste it, save it, Load it, check it, quick, rewrite it Plug it, play it, burn it, rip it, Drag and drop it, zip, unzip it, Lock it, fill it, curl it, find it, View it, code it, jam, unlock it Surf it, scroll it, pose it, click it Cross it, crack it, twitch, update it, Name it, read it, tune it, print it, Scan it, send it, fax, rename it, Touch it, bring it, pay it, watch it, Turn it, leave it, stop, format it.

Daft Punk - "Technologic"

Thank You!