My career journey: Joy in Engineering

A love of math and a dislike of coding almost led to a high school teaching career instead
Joy, Senior Software Engineer

Meet Joy

I've spent most of my career as a software engineer in the EdTech industry. I have a background in education, so it's a field I'm very passionate about. I joined the ExpressVPN Payments Team in November 2021 because I wanted to expand my skill set and challenge myself to go outside my comfort zone.

My desk essentials are my water bottle, a puzzle clock, and Rubik’s Cube to get me through tough mental blocks.

My favorite pantry snacks are nuts and coconut water.

When I was a kid, I wanted to be an archaeologist. I was fascinated by ancient civilizations.

Can you share your career journey so far?

I started my career journey as an engineering major in university; ironically, it's here that I discovered I didn’t enjoy coding. After realizing that the thing I loved most about engineering was actually math, I switched to mathematics education. I was also a tutor at university which helped me complete my studies.

If I had followed the traditional path of education graduates, I would be teaching high school students (most of them taller than me) algebra, geometry, and statistics. Instead, you can find me here at ExpressVPN.

What was the catalyst for your becoming an engineer instead of a teacher?

Even though I didn't enjoy coding, when I was majoring in math, I discovered that it could help me solve complex equations. Coding then became a hobby as I thought it could help me master my classwork. I learned to code by studying materials from online resources like MIT OpenCourseWare and Coursera.

As an introvert, I also knew that I wouldn't last long as a traditional teacher. So, I decided to mix my passion for education and coding by getting into EdTech. After graduating, I got an entry-level job as a software engineer. After that, I joined an EdTech startup where I grew and developed my role before joining ExpressVPN.

I joined ExpressVPN in November 2021 as a Senior Software Engineer in the Payments team. Our team is responsible for ensuring the stability of our payment system so that users have no issues when purchasing our products.

What is one of the most important things you've learned in your career so far?

To not be afraid to lead. I was never put in a leadership position in school, so being a leader at work is something I struggled with at first. My idea of a leader is a person who can get everyone on their side, and someone who is very charismatic—which I don't consider myself to be.

Understanding that different people lead in different ways, and that I have my own personal leadership style, helped boost my confidence. I now know that if I'm asked to lead a project, it just means that someone trusts my leadership enough to direct the team and reach the goal.

What's your favorite aspect of working here?

Definitely the work-life balance. I can completely disconnect outside of working hours to pursue my passions, and take good care of myself.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I enjoy hiking, swimming, and watching TV series.

Ping zhu illustration for changing locations.

Could your career journey lead to ExpressVPN?

We'd love to hear about your career journey, and find out if there's a place for you at ExpressVPN. Read more about our culture and how we support career growth, and check out our current job openings to find the best fit for you. Then get in touch with us!