Our “DocuSign UP Career” blog series places the spotlight on employees who tell us about their first job (how they landed it, why they chose it) and key moments in their career that lead to greater learning or career momentum. At DocuSign, we believe in the next generation of leaders and want to help them get on the right career trajectory. That’s why we started DocuSign UP (University Program). This week we sat down with Yuning in Engineering based in San Francisco to learn more about her career.
What do you do at DocuSign?
I’m a software engineer, and I work on partner integrations and am focused on the Google integration, products like DocuSign for Google Chrome extension, Google Drive and Google Doc.
What was your first job after school?
I worked as a software engineer building an automating proposal generation for the solar industry. It was a small startup based in Philadelphia. The platform integrated with Google Maps, credit checks, financial calculators, and also offer the opportunity to our customers to sign the proposal via DocuSign.
Why did you choose that job?
I wanted to work at a startup, and I didn’t have a car back then. The company was close to where I lived. The job gave me the opportunity to work closely with customers to better understand their needs and better build customized features for them. I learned everything about the business and was trusted to do all sorts of things, not just coding.
How did you get that job?
I applied online through a job posting site and went through the formal interview process. I was originally hired as a contractor because I didn’t have that much work experience, and they weren’t sure about my skills. But, then they liked my work so much, they converted me the very next month after I started.
Is it related to the type of work you do today? And what did you learn from it?
It’s related because it’s software, but the language and technology are different. I’ve had to learn new languages, and what I’ve also learned is how important it is to try to find the answer on my own first by working hard to figure out the problem through my own research. If I can’t find the answer, then it’s OK to ask.
Tell us about a pivotal moment in your career that helped propel you to another level.
My supervisor allowed me to speak to customers directly which helped me understand their needs and how features should look. Then that same supervisor trusted me to work on different software development versions on my own. It was very gratifying. As time went on, there was less and less iterating on version and tasks were completed sooner. It was that moment that I realized I had improved a lot.
Did you have any important mentors in your life?
My first supervisor was my mentor. I worked closely with him, and he taught me a lot. Sometimes we had high-priority bugs that needed to be fixed, but even under stressful situations, he was very cheerful. That’s the most important thing I learned from him. Try to remain positive that things will be figured out eventually. He also didn’t focus solely on work, he had a wonderful personal life. He loved Broadway shows and wine-tasting and he made me realize there’s so much more to life. Working with him made me realize the importance of getting outside and trying new things. English is my second language, and he helped me build confidence. He would advise me on the words to use and give me good feedback on my speaking and writing. In meetings, when I asked questions, he would listen to me and show respect. I felt like I could comfortably share my ideas and thoughts.
What’s the advice you’d give to a college junior or senior breaking into the job market?
Find an internship during the summer or winter, especially at a company that’s on your list of dream companies to work for. It’s easier for people to apply to jobs and get converted once they’ve done an internship there. When I tried to find my first job, it was difficult because I didn’t have much working experience listed on my resume. I did a lot of contract work, so I had something to talk about when I had interviews. Then I got that first job.
Any specific tips on how to actually find a job or organize a job search?
I would try all of the major job hunting websites, but again, having a solid internship on your resume will attract more employers when you apply. Also I say, “Never give up and remember that it’s part personal effort and part luck.” I applied to so many jobs and did so many interviews before I got my first full-time job. No matter what, try to remain positive.
Do you have any outside interests, not necessarily professional interests, that you’re able to incorporate in your job?
When I was in Philadelphia, I used to spend time helping local organizations serve food to poor people, but it was always my personal time. It’s new to me that I can spend my volunteer time as part of a company benefit like we do here through the DocuSign IMPACT Foundation.
If you weren’t working at this job, what would you be doing?
I’d probably open my own milk tea shop. It’s a common thing in China, and it’s getting very popular in the Bay Area.
Think DocuSign might be a fit for you? Check out our job openings: [email protected]