Q&A With Datto Engineers

September 18, 2019

Q&A With Datto Engineers

By: Jonathan Castillo

Every month Datto holds Datto University, a new hire class where employees learn about Datto and its principles. One of the principles that tends to stick out is "It's easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission". That quote, by the great Grace Hopper, is a testament to those we hire. Everyone is here for a reason. Every day at Datto we see that with our female engineers who bring creativity, ingenuity, and a whole lot of programming talent to the table I feel lucky to have had the chance to interview my coworkers about how they got to where they are today and what cool stuff they've had the opportunity to do here at Datto.

​Rebecca Mahany is a software engineer out of Boston who has worked at Datto for over two years. I was super impressed with Rebecca from day one. The first project she ever picked up at Datto was one that I had been nagging development about for months. I was thankful for her initiative then and I continue to be thankful now because she is one of the most helpful people you'll ever meet. In fact, I’ve lost count of the number of times she has helped me. Here is what the former DattoByte winner had to say:

Q: What made you choose Datto initially?

A: All of my interviewers were awesome, the tech was interesting, and it seemed like a great place to work.

Q: If you could give advice to someone just starting, what would it be?

A: Don't be afraid to ask questions, even if you think they're "dumb". And everything you do, do with enthusiasm.

Q: What's your favorite thing about Datto's culture?

A: The people who work here!

​Fun facts about Rebecca: When she isn't working at Datto, she enjoys reading, baking, climbing and backpacking!​​

Kim Francis is a software engineer out of Reading, UK and is about to celebrate her sixth year at Datto. She seems to be in every Slack channel and also seems to offer help everywhere and anywhere. Here is what this former DattoByte winner had to say:

Q: What cool things have you gotten to work on at Datto?

A: I worked on some of the earlier Datto integrations which helped my hone my debugging skills and exposed me to different programming languages. I've helped design and build some of the internal APIs.

Q: If you could give advice to someone just starting, what would it be?

A: Accept feedback and criticism as something to help you grow, do not take it personally.

​Joan Fernbach moved to Rochester, NY nearly 4 years ago and has worked for Datto ever since. She was one of the first people I met at Datto and I’ve been lucky enough to sit next to her in two different offices in Rochester. Early in my career, she was a huge resource, often sharing encouraging words and thoughtful feedback. Here is what Joan had to say:

​Q: What made you choose Datto initially?

A: When I moved to Rochester 4 years ago, I had dozens of interviews, many all the way up the chain, but Datto was the only one who made me a serious offer. So I didn't have a lot of choices - but my belief is that you get the offer you should - when you and the company are a fit. However, I also believe that the companies that didn't make me offers were likely considering my age as a negative, while Datto definitely followed their non-discrimination statements.

Q: What are your long-term goals?

A: Haha - at this stage in my life my long term goal is to work as long as my brain holds up, and then retire with my reputation not too badly damaged.

Q: What is your main motivation? What gets you up, out of bed, and into work every day?

A: Most of my social contact takes place at work, so I am always happy to come in and see my friends. Aside from that, when I am in the middle of a challenging task, I can't wait to get back to it and get things working properly. I love the rush when everything suddenly falls into place and starts working.

Q: What is the best piece of advice that you've been given in the past?

A: I am not that good at accepting advice.

​Lexie Infantino started as an intern in Rochester and is now a full-time software engineer in Portland, OR. While she moved away from our team in Rochester, I am always thankful when I get to work with her. Lexie was one of the first people I met here at Datto and I was shocked when I learned she was an intern because of her knowledge and skill set. We’re happy she came back full time. Lexie is a great engineer and also the first one to start using some of the tools I built. Her feedback has definitely had a positive impact on the tools I’ve created.

Q: What are your long-term goals?

A: My long term goal is to rule the world but I also would like to grow my development skills not only in a pure technical sense, but also my collaborative and problem solving skills. There's always so much to learn from everyone around me - the more I take in, the easier it is for me to solve the problems I run into. I have a couple of side projects I play around with from time to time and it would be cool if I could finally finish one and put it out there for people to use. I would love to lead development on my own product some day.

Q: What is the best piece of advice that you've been given in the past?

A: "Just f***ing play it" coming from my highschool band teacher when I was too nervous to play a new song I knew I'd screw up. Put into more general terms: you can't succeed if you don't try. Failure is possible but it's better to fail and learn from your mistakes then to never have tried at all.​

Q: If you could give advice to someone just starting, what would it be?

A: Don't let people get to you and make you think you're less than them. I entered college as a software engineer with no programming experience. I didn't know "basic" terms such as "string", "array", etc. I ran into a lot of people my first year who would try to make me feel dumb for asking questions. They would answer me in a condescending way or do things like ignore me entirely. It was incredibly discouraging and I thought about switching majors as a freshman. Luckily I ended up sticking it out, working hard and ended up loving my field.

As an engineer here at Datto, the first time I got to interact with Kristen Costagliola was when I royally screwed up. Thankfully, it turned out there was no reason for me to be nervous interacting with Kristen after a mistake. Instead of getting into trouble I received encouragement and was given an opportunity to learn from my mistakes. Since then, Kristen has been a valuable source of feedback for my team and many others. Here is what our Principal Engineer and former DattoByte winner had to say:

Q: What made you choose Datto initially?

A: I initially chose Datto because the technical challenges seemed very interesting and I was looking for a company that focused on doing the right thing for customers and employees. I loved that Datto was a smaller company with a lot of opportunities to learn and improve my skills.

Q: What are your long-term goals?

A: Eventually I think I would like to be CTO of a company but as long as I continue to lead technology and help other engineers grow I'll be incredibly happy.

Q: What is the best piece of advice that you've been given in the past?

A: Don't be afraid to ask questions - usually other people don't know as well but are too afraid to ask.​

Q: What's your favorite thing about Datto's culture?

A: I love that you can ask anyone for help and they will sit with you and help you until you understand. People are so smart and willing to teach and improve the people around them.

This project allowed me to learn more about the co-workers and in the process I found inspiration and positive career advice. Would you like to be a part of this amazing team? Check out our current openings in Engineering here.

Subscribe to the
Tech and Culture Blog