My name is Frances and I'm currently a TPM on Information Security at Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. I am open to new opportunities to please reach out to me via email or LinkedIn if you have a role you think I'd be a good fit for! Previously, I've worked at Microsoft in a contract position with the LEAP program as a Technical Program Manager for the Fastrack for Azure's IP and Readiness team and as a Software Engineer at Teradata.
Read more about my career journey thus far
Wielded with some basic python knowledge and skills I landed my first full time position at Teradata as a Software Engineer in San Diego, CA. My time there was spent on a lot of different projects. My most notable project was creating a hardware provisioning webapp and API that works with StackIQ and Teradata's AppCenter.
I felt privileged to have received invites to go to Google I/O, TwilioCon, and F8 and learned so much by being there. From technologies that exist, in testing, to wild ideas being spread in conversation, I felt so ignited to do more and push myself to my limits. During my time there I am thankful to have had the opportunity to work on projects of many sizes and visibility. Every quarter I was able to challenge myself in new and different ways to learn and experience new things and grow – practicing public speaking with Toastmasters, working across different teams and learning how to communicate with everyone + keep us all in sync, writing new and challenging code and learning how to design applications.
Eventually, I became really inspired to dive deeper and learning more about program management as a full-time opportunity and ventured up to Microsoft under the LEAP program!
Yes, it was cold. I have been born and raised in California all my life and this was my first time being in a place where the winter season meant snow. Driving here was no joke, I skid in my car many times. 100% Would not drive in the snow again.
Life and culture shock aside, I was really excited to be the FastTrack for Azure team!
Their explanation on what Fastrack for Azure is –
Fastrack for Azure is a customer success program that helps with rapid and effective design and deployment of cloud solutions. It includes tailored guidance from Azure engineers to provide proven practices and architectural guidance.
Being up in Washington was an amazing experience, and being at Microsoft really gave me new perspectives on how everything worked. As a millennial that grew up on Windows machines (starting from Win95) playing BusyTown it was mind-blowing to me. Also, it looked much more beautiful than I imagined. On the Fastrack for Azure team, I managed to turn some theories and ideas I had into practice. I was challenged by the amount of projects that flew through my hands and learned how important it was to communicate and not just do the work.
Lucky for me, I had the opportunity to come back home to the bay area after my contract position ended. Being back home in the bay area really energized me. I've really started to appreciate how beautiful my home base was despite it's flaws. It's my home.
I was born in San Francisco and spent my childhood -> college years in the South Bay. I'd say I have a pretty good feel on what the bay area is like because my family and friends are spread throughout the bay and I get the opportunity to take a peek into their lives often. CZI really is my dream company. I've always dreamed about being able to work at a place that genuinely cared about the quality of education regardless of income, location, and status, a place that recognized and was willing to talk about immigration and how people are treated differently based on their background and history, and a place that is a firm "no" on letting medical conditions + health impact our lives. It's really amazing that a place like this exists in my generation and I'm thrilled to have had the opportunity to see Priscilla and Mark in person (someone who I've followed since finding Facebook in 2006).
During my time at CZI, I started on the InfraEng team (previously called Shared Infra) and really helped pioneered a lot across the board. I wore a different hat almost every hour of the day and the landscape would change from the morning to the evening. Despite how much was going on, I had a lot of fun. I happily worked nights and weekends to learn more about program management, the different technologies we had and used, and creating new theories on different approaches + possible solutions for the problems we encountered.
In March, I crossed over to the InfoSec team as a TPM and have started blazing a path for various security related projects. In my research and studies, I started to realize how much I could relate to space!
I vividly remember that my dad disapproved of how much time I was spending playing BusyTown that he unplugged the desktop. (I plugged it back in.) Then, he started to challenge me more and more by unplugging different ports and, soon enough, our challenges turned into me vs parental control software and features. Oh, do I loathe them with a fiery passion. I conquered my first parental software by doing many experiments on what do I need to do to make sure this stupid parental software doesn't boot me out of my windows login after 2 hours. The trick was – do my homework and whatever apps I needed/wanted to use for 2 hours. At the 5 minute mark, a timer would popup and countdown. If I open a fullscreen Diablo2 game at 1:59, the parental software wouldn't boot me out. I was so proud and it was glorious. I don't have a good pokerface however, so my parents found out the same week I found the bug and they started using other parental software... I have many stories like these where it's me vs my father + parental controls. Really, it's quite unfair because I'm limited in knowledge when I'm locked out of the internet and am at home.
Reminded by these experiences I've shared with my parents and combined with the realization that there's an itch I have to scratch, I've started studying for Security+ and plan on tackling more certificates. I aspire to take on the OSCP certificate because it sounds like so much fun. On my spare time I've been completing some picoCTFs from Carnegie Mellon. I find the visuals entertaining enough to keep me awake late into the night without being too stimulating and frustrating that it keeps me awake or away from my day job. I've received a wonderful surprise a few weeks ago from WISP stating that I will be receiving a scholarship to attend DEFCON and The Diana Initiative. Hopefully, I'll have moved on to OverTheWire and received my Security+ certification before I attend DEFCON this year!
Given all of this and my journey, I'd love to cross over to a new role and/or new company in the infra or security space to continue learning more and feeding my inner child by being presented with new challenges in different shapes and forms!