Estefannie, Software Engineer

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The #ChicScience series puts the focus on the lives and beauty routines of brilliant and talented people. Suggest someone for the next #ChicScience on Instagram by tagging us @NLYTNBeauty, and include the hashtag #ChicScience or via this fancy pants web form.

J: Who is Estefannie?

E: “I was born in Mexico, raised in Mexico, and I went to an all girls catholic school. I got an associates in graphic design while in high school and then I thought I wanted to be a filmmaker and went that route. I started film school. Then I quit. And studied Japanese and piano full-time, and then I realized I was wasting my time and moved to the US.

This was where it was like – start over.

I realized I was pretty good at math. The reason I chose Computer Science as my major was a documentary about Pixar. I realized that most of the people that started Pixar were computer scientists/programmers and I was like “man, I want to do that!” They talked about how they stayed up all night and slept under their desks and kept working and I thought that sounded so cool And that’s why I went the Computer Science route.”

J: What motivated you to start a Computer Science Girls Club?

E: “I was writing an essay for a Google scholarship (that I didn’t get). I looked up a lot about women in computing and I found out about Anita Borg…and she’s the reason why I started CSGirls. She started the Systers mailing list for women in computing  and I was like we need something like that at UH. So I  went ahead and went for it without knowing all the work it was going to be, but it ended up being one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I not only learned about establishing an organization and running it, but I was able to create a club for women interested in technology that promoted collaboration and creativity through workshops, tech talks, and networking events at the University of Houston. 

I also met a lot of people thanks to CSGirls and started a lot of relationships that I still have way after college. I actually met my husband through the club! A friend made him go to one of the meetings and then he kept going to all of the meetings…now we know why!

Estefannie Garza, Software Engineer

I even  got my current job thanks to the club because I became good friends with the president of CougarsCS.  The company I work for reached out to him saying “we need ten of your best people to come for an interview” and he said “hey you should come”, and I was like “sure”. Then, six months after I graduated, I was sent to Denmark for work.

I did (and still do) a lot of things with CSGirls and keep meeting people from all over the world.  After I graduated I passed the torch to my friend Dallas. And she did great in continuing to establish the organization at the University. I am very happy to see that people believe in it as much as I do and continue to work for CSGirls.”

J: What do you do at work?

E: “I’m a software engineer for a company in the oil and gas industry and I’m in one of the engineering groups. We’re basically doing a rig automation operating system  – and I love it!
When I was in Copenhagen, I learned a lot about software development. I think I got most of my training as a programmer there — cause school is mostly theory and doesn’t really teach how to program. Working in Denmark was actually really good, tough but good. Scandinavians are really strict — everything in their workflow is perfect, to the letter, commented, written as a task, and tested. Working with them and completing my project, gave me a lot of confidence as a software developer.  I am not done though, I keep learning every day in the group that I am in now. They’re way above my head. 

Estefannie Garza, Software Engineer
I also have a side project which links back to why I even started programming (Pixar). I am building a 3D visualization and I absolutely love it and I think it’s exactly what I wanted to do from the beginning. So that’s where I’m at, software engineer of a rig operating system.”

J: What are you most excited about in the year to come?

E: “Woo! So many things! well umm one of the biggest things that I’ve started this year was my own business with my husband and that’s going to be quite an adventure. I also committed to lead the planning of Science Hack Day Houston 2016 and that’s a lot of fun and I’m really looking forward to it.

The business we started is a software company, we’re doing…well we had a lot of apps, just mobile apps that we started and never did anything with them. So we decided to create the umbrella the apps will be under to be able to start publishing them to the App Store, Play Store and the Microsoft one, and just learn from and build from that. So whenever we do have a really, really good idea, we’ll know the road and it won’t be like “how do we do this?” we finally published one and it was quite the hassle. We made an account with Apple and they’re like “that’s not a real name” and I was like “That’s my real name!”… “well we need a government issued document.” I have two last names “Gutierrez de la Garza”, what happens is it’s too many characters long and they think it’s fake.”

Estefannie Garza, Software Engineer

J: How do you get into “the zone” with work?

E: “I get to work, and I know I’m not going to be in programming mode yet, so I drink coffee while I reply to emails or whatever I have to do, look at tasks, requirements. When I’m like “time to program”, I put on my headphones, figure out what my mood is for music, and then I start programming.”

J: Do you have a go-to “this is my programming jam”?

E: “[long inhale] it really depends on my mood…one day I could be listening to Rammstein and then the next day I’m listening to Britney Spears…or even the same day. I could be listening to The Doors for three hours and then I’m like “I hate the doors”. I think sometimes time passes by so fast you don’t realize how long you’ve been listening to something and then you get sick of it. So I have to change it all the time. From classical music to …Ludacris. That’s why I’m never online on Spotify and I never “share with friends”, no way!”

J: Have you run into any challenges at work?

E: “The most frustrating part of my job is that I am never working on one project at a time, And every time I switch projects I have to wipe out my computer and set up the environment…and that takes so much time, and you’d think you could do a virtual box and have all different boxes and just run that. But no, because you run out of memory.

I have two computers now and that helps, but it’s not enough. That’s the most frustrating… but now I realize you said challenging…Oops! So if you don’t even know what their environment is it’s really hard to figure out why nothing works. Not even being able to debug.”

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J: Do you have a favorite language?

E: “It’s always been C++, I did use C# for a bit and I thought I liked it but then I went back to C++ and was like “this is the love of my life!”. I’ve tried JS, Python, Ruby, never liked Java, freaking hate Java, don’t even talk to me about Java, it’s the worst thing in the world. I am a little excited about learning objective C which is very close to C++ but whatever… that’s awesome.”

J: What’s your daily routine?

E: “It has changed a lot because I have become way lazier but I still have my routine. I used to take one whole hour to get ready to work, now I take 20 minutes, a big change, I’d rather sleep… or I’ve gotten pretty good at it? I take a shower and wash my hair at night so don’t have to in the morning. I wash my face (Vital Just Cleansing Gel – Eidelweiss)…religiously every morning and every night before I go to bed…doesn’t matter if I’ve been programming until late at night or drinking, whatever….even when I’m drunk I go and wash my face. I wash my face, and put on my face cream before I put on makeup. I try to not apply to much makeup, because I know that it clogs my pores so I do a very thin layer of liquid makeup. First my day cream (Vital Just – Eidelweiss), water-proof foundation (MAC Pro Longwear), then concealer (Mac’s Pro Longwear Concealer), and then my blush (MAC “Pinch Me” Sheertone Blush Mac).

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Right now all my makeup is from MAC. But I’m going to go back to laura mercier. That’s my favorite brand but got all MAC makeup for my wedding, so I have leftovers and I am going to use it all up until I’m done. MAC feels heavier and I don’t like it. The lighter the makeup feels, the better. I’m more concerned about the health of my skin than how it looks that day, that’s why I wash my face and put on my face cream and I think that’s more important than what type of makeup or whatever.

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Then I also do MAC’s Waterproof Brow Set because my eyebrows are crazy and I need to do something so they stay….so they don’t move around and go everywhere. It’s kinda like a gel that keeps them together (Brown Ebony). Eyeliner, MAC’s Waterproof Brow Set because my eyebrows are crazy and I need to do something so they stay….so they don’t move around and go everywhere. It’s kinda like a gel that keeps them together (Brown Ebony). Eyeliner, L’Oreal’s Lineur Intense Carbon Black. It’s the cheapest one I’ve gotten, L’oreal from Walgreens. I’ve tried everything, I tried Chanel, Dior, all the “fancy pants” ones but this is the best L’Oreal. The color I use is carbon black, I don’t like the shiny one it’s weird. I like glitter, just not on my face.

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Ok now for mascara, I haven’t found anything I like in the US…its funny. Not yet. I haven’t been looking as much, but it also hasn’t been conveniently there, not in the big brands at the mall or Walgreen’s they’re all Maybelline or L’Oreal and I don’t like those because they make my eyelashes fall off right off the bat, and I’m scared of losing my lashes….the ones I get are from Mexico…and they look like off-brand but they’re the best! They’re sold in like a healthy froyo place…it’s all beeswax, vitamins, aloe vera, etc. It’s soo good it’s the best thing because my eyelashes do not fall and they just feel natural, not stiff or with clumps. I get like three every time I go to Mexico. I have my eyelash curler and I curl them before I apply mascara because if you do it after the mascara then your eyelashes fall off …and it gets all sticky. That’s it for work, I don’t do much for work no eyeshadows or lipstick. I try to go for a more natural look.”

J: What is your favorite thing about makeup?

E: “My favorite thing about makeup….it’s changed over the years as I get older. At first, I used to just love my mascara and eyeliner, because it’d make my eyes look bigger. But now I just love my foundation because I look pretty good in pictures….my skin looks even and that’s more important now. That’s what I like best.”

J:  Fashion?

E: “Ugh, Love Fashion! What do you want me to say? I could talk more about fashion than makeup no joke. I was exposed to it since I was a little girl, my mom she always had a vogue every month the new vogue at home and she would just flip through it and I would just do what my mom did, and my sister and we all loved it and we would fight over it and I acquired a taste through vogue and I think it has a lot to do with the fact that I grew up in Mexico. and we didn’t have those things and it was quite a shock, right, you see these amazing sunglasses or dress in whatever brand and you go out to the shops in mexico…oh not the same at all.

No. It was really tough but the more you can’t have it the more you want it so I grew up with that feeling…so I would visit the US, just like vacations and just shop…I would save up my money and buy as much as I could, and not spend in Mexico and wait until next time we’d come here and I was like there’s no point in buying in Mexico…well back then. I think now they have better shops and US and European brands but they’re way more expensive because export tax.

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Then I moved to Houston and I saw that there’s a Saks Fifth Avenue and a Neiman Marcus in the same city I lived in–I freaked out. My first pair of Chanel shoes I got when I was twenty-one…I remember the day perfectly, they were on sale, that’s why I was able to buy them and I had also saved up. I was working for a magazine then a student, but wasn’t making much but I would save up my money for…mostly shoes…and purses and dresses…that’s the order.

The magazine? It was a local social magazine called Dinastia. It was all big pictures of socialites ….it was cool. I learned so much. I worked for the magazine while I completed my degree in Computer Science. I started as a photographer. It was more like  journalistic photography –  and you’d have to track people down  at events and have less than two seconds to get that  perfect shot. I think it helped me a lot on my work ethic, it really crushed my introvert side. 

I still have a weakness for splurging on shoes…I don’t do it very often but when I do I do. It’s not gonna be an “oh I kinda like it” shoe…no, it’s gonna be my favorite, most amazing, something I’ve always wanted.  I’ve also been spending a bit more on dresses. not per dress, I’ve been getting more…for work. It’s easier than wearing pants.

J: Do you do anything special with your hair?

E: “I do not dye it…I’m very very picky about being very healthy and try to keep it as natural as possible so I just don’t dye my hair, no highlights, I just get a haircut every…it should be every other month but it’s been taking longer cause I’m too busy or something like that…I go to my hair stylist because he’s really good. it’s not cheap but it’s worth it cause I like to take care of my hair….shampoo, same brand as my facial stuff (Swiss Just Tea Tree) …

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I apply this blueberry and horse chestnut hair mask (Swiss Just) every other week. It goes on the tips and I leave it for two minutes and then rinse it out. It prevents split ends and I get them cause I do like to curl my hair and it’s really bad for my hair. I don’t need to condition because it’s already thick and heavy. If I do condition then my hair gets extremely waxy and I can’t really do anything with it, it looks greasy all the time – and then my hair stylist yells at me and tells me I shouldn’t do it.

My mom died hers to blonde and never went back, she did it when she was 18 and her hair is super thin. Ever since I was a little girl she’d tell me “don’t you ever dye your hair or you’re gonna mess up your life” so my sister and I never went that route. Once or twice in high school but…that’s something else.”

J: Do you do anything special to stay healthy?

E: “I try…but it’s sooo hard with this busy life…I try to do cardio three times a week, but this week I’ve only done it once, and it’s already Thursday, practically Friday, and I’m like dang, now I know I have to workout on the weekend and I don’t like that because I have tons of other things to do.

It’s getting pretty hectic right now, so I can’t really work out. When I don’t workout I have to keep track of my calories. Otherwise I don’t stay…I really start gaining weight…cause I sit all day. I’m literally sitting all day. If I don’t work out I’m literally sitting for nine plus hours and my metabolism is not good. so I have to work out. I use “MyFitnessPal” to count calories and I usually eat the same things every day so it’s easy.
Workout, I try to do the elliptical at least thirty but try for 40 minutes to an hour. When I tried to cut sugar and realized how sugar is in everything that was scary… I was eating healthy, I had been eating salads but then I realized the dressing had like 9 grams of sugar and I was like “oh I guess no more dressing”.
I drink a lot of tea. I don’t drink tea in the morning cause I get nauseous. Just coffee ,black no sugar. Then I switch to tea in the afternoon. No energy drinks. No sugars.

I used to drink energy drinks and I’d get my sugar rush and then crash. I realized that was a bad idea. I stopped that. I also stopped drinking as much coffee cause it wasn’t helping me feel well. It also gets to a point where it just doesn’t work anymore, so one day I decided to stop drinking coffee and switch to tea. That was the hardest week at work.

Something I do that’s not healthy and I know it–I do love red wine. and I know it has sugars but it’s not that bad, so I do like to have my “two glasses of wine” on weekends.”

J: What’s it like working at an Oil&Gas firm with the price of Oil so low?

E: “It’s an interesting atmosphere,as in not necessarily everyone’s stressed and sad, more like very hopeful. Everyone is working really hard to show that we can do this and come together as a team to deliver our projects and show the world that we can do it. So it’s really hopeful, I like it.

J: What advice would you give to peeps who are just starting out?

E: “Any career really, don’t be afraid and don’t sabotage yourself. Because that’s what people do. The only one who will work for you is yourself and don’t be afraid to be scared every day and overcome that challenge. It will make you grow faster–Yes!”

You can follow Estefannie on Instagram @estefanniegg

Estefannie Garza, Software Engineer
The #ChicScience series puts the focus on the lives and beauty routines of brilliant and talented people. Suggest someone for the next #ChicScience on Instagram by tagging us @NLYTNBeauty, and include the hashtag #ChicScience or via this fancy pants web form.

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