In honour of International Women’s Day, FIRST Canada is inspired by so many amazing women, and today we would like to highlight one of them! Amanda Chan, FRC Team 771 alum.
Compiled by Youth Council Member Julia M.
Julia: Tell us about yourself and your history with FIRST
Amanda: I was on SWAT 771 for 2011 and 2012 and did a lot of the programming for the rebound rumble and locomotion robots
Julia: How did FIRST help you in post-secondary?
Amanda: FIRST helped me discover that I really enjoy solving technical problems and working on teams! I decided to go on to do Mechatronics Engineering in university, then switched to Computer Science, but the opportunity to build robots really helped me realize that it’s really fun to be able to make something move by pressing buttons! Building things is fun!
Julia: I understand that you work at Amazon; what is your role there, and what do your daily tasks look like?
Amanda: I’m a software engineer at Amazon. A day for me involves talking with other team members about what needs to get done that day, thinking about how to solve a problem, working with others or myself to solve it, then writing code to do just that. We do a lot of work to make sure our software is maintainable and scalable. We focus on correctness and efficiency. I also do operations work, like setting up alarms to ensure we get notified if something goes wrong. We also design new features, this usually involves deep-diving into the code base, understanding how each component works, then suggesting additions to the system. This is very important as a bad design means code might break in production constantly or not be future-proof enough and need to be constantly changed.
Julia: How did you get your job at Amazon? What set you apart from other people that applied for the job?
Amanda: I was doing some interview practice, and one of the people on the other side of the interview practice took me in for a full round.
Julia: What’s one piece of advice you would give a FIRST student?
Amanda: Do what you like to do! You’re more likely to be happy and do well if you do what you like to do. That being said, now is a great time for you to go do lots of different things to find out what you like!