Software developer must make sure that the home listing data on Redfin is as up to date as possible.

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SOFTWARE DEVELOPER
Stephanie Smallman

What do you do? I am a software developer on the data team at Redfin, a technology-powered real estate brokerage. As part of the data team, my primary responsibility is to ensure that the home listing data on our site is as up to date as possible. The team is also in charge of building the infrastructure that allows us to receive data from new markets. Redfin is growing fast, so there’s lots to do!

How did you get started in that field? I decided to study computer science at the University of Washington because of a really supportive professor named Stuart Reges who kindled my interest in programming. After I graduated, I spent two years teaching English in Spain, but I knew that I wanted to get back into tech when I returned to Seattle. Redfin offered the perfect mix of a cool role, a killer business model and awesome people, so here I am!

What’s a typical day like? On a typical day, I spend some time making sure all of the data feeds of home listings in our various markets are making their way to the website. We get this data from many sources, with different formats, regulations and policies, which can be a challenge. Digging into the root causes of any issues and trying to figure out “whodunit” is kind of like being a detective! All of us on the data team are really just like Sherlock Holmes.

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Once that’s taken care of, I usually work on whatever new feature I’m building.When I’m building a new feature, I don’t have a plan to follow; I get to build something new from the thoughts in my mind. It’s like creating something from nothing, which is a very powerful feeling.

What’s the best part of the job? Data quality is really what sets Redfin apart from our competitors. It is exciting to play an active role in such an essential part of the business. But, to be totally honest, the best part of the job is the people. I get to surround myself with smart, happy co-workers who like to think about hard problems, but also like to hang out with me after work and go for hikes on the weekends.

What surprises people about your work? I think that when most people imagine software developers, they think of nerdy, introverted people who just sit in their cubicles coding and never talk to anyone. People are often surprised to hear about how wonderfully collaborative the data team is. We are always working together, bouncing ideas off one another or playing practical jokes on each other. There’s never a dull moment in Redfin headquarters!

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