Here at Outschool, we're always looking for ways to learn, grow, and stretch our work. After all, we're here to help kids learn and discover their passion for learning. We love celebrating our team and are always looking to welcome new people in and remix the way we work and collaborate. In this first edition of Working at Outschool, we sat down with Head of Infrastructure Engineering, Bethany Foote, to learn more about what helps her jump-start her career, inspires her workday, and what she loves most about her team.
Working at Outschool: A Day in the Life of an Engineer
What Is Your Role at Outschool?
I am Head of Infrastructure Engineering, a team responsible for the Outschool servers, security, and the tools that help other engineers build the product.
What Sparked Your Interest in Engineering?
When I was 9, I moved with my family to the Middle East (Abu Dhabi in the UAE, specifically). While we were there, we got our first computer, and I attended a school that taught programming as part of the curriculum. I was hooked and knew that is what I wanted to do as a career.
Are There Any Career Role Models That Helped Inspire Your Path in Engineering?
My Dad. He was an aircraft engineer and a pilot. I grew up going to his office and hanging around helicopters. As a result, I am unafraid of technology and when I discovered computers, I dove right in. I’m lucky that my family thought it was cool and supported my interests. I might still get my pilot’s license one day!
Describe Your First Day at Outschool.
On my first day, I received an onboarding presentation with the information I needed to start (thank goodness)! Also, I was able to meet a bunch of my team members. It was a welcoming experience and solidified that Outschool was the right place for me.
How Do You Like To Start Your Day? Any Morning Routines?
I start my day by turning on the kettle for my coffee, and then I get dressed. I have breakfast (usually oatmeal), see my kids off to school, and then go downstairs to my office to start my day. Even though I am working from home, I find this routine important as it gives structure to the day and motivates me to get going.
What Do You Most Look Forward To During Your Day?
Meetings with people and have unstructured conversations. It doesn't happen every day, but I enjoy it when I talk with co-workers and get to know them better.
How Do You Stay Motivated and Remix Your Work?
I try to carve out meeting-free time to get caught up on my inbox, finish a lingering task, etc. It's motivating to get through items on my "To Do" list, so I start with something small and easy, then work up to the bigger things. If I still need to find energy, I will break up the day with a workout, and if all else fails, I will turn on one of my playlists loud & sing along.
How Does the Collaboration Between Team Members Inspire the Work That You Do?
The Infrastructure team has performed two big migration projects this year to move our systems to new infrastructure. To do this, the Infra engineers had to collaborate not just with each other but also with other Engineers, Customer Support, Product, and more. It was amazing to see how everyone came together and made these projects happen. It reminds me to Bring Others In, which is a core Outschool value, and not to try to do everything myself.
What Do You Love Most About Working at Outschool?
First of all, the people. I'm so incredibly fortunate to have found such a fantastic group of people to work with, who are supportive, helpful, and who push me to be better. I also love the ability to work from home; it gives me the flexibility to be there for my family in ways that wouldn't be possible otherwise. Also, since I live in Canada, without the ability to work remotely, I wouldn't be at Outschool at all, which would be such a missed opportunity.
How is Outschool Different From Any Other Educational Platform?
Outschool is different because it's not focused on quizzes and testing. Outschool inspires kids to help them find their passions. The live lessons can help kids feel connected in a way that pre-recorded classes can't, while Groups allow children to meet others with similar interests. I can't tell you what it would have meant for a young computer geek like me to meet other kids that were passionate about programming!
If You Could Share One Thing About Outschool, What Is It?
One of the most fun parts of new people starting at Outschool is sharing the Outschool class they would most like to take. There are classes on topics that I would never have guessed (feminism, cooking, coding, animals, music, farts, & more), and I want to take them all (but I'm too old).
Working at Outschool: A Chance to Discover a Role that Makes an Impact
Whether you want to lead, develop, create, or engineer, there's a little something for everyone at Outschool. But there's one piece of glue that holds all team members together, the drive to help put learners first on their path to find their passions.