Engineering spotlight: Meet Trisha
There’s a common misconception that engineering work is repetitive, but those who know best will tell you the truth—being an engineer requires creativity, innovation, and confidence. Engineers are the people who make it possible to transform ideas into reality. We talked to Trisha Rupani, technical program management director here at Lacework, to learn more about what being an engineer is really like. Trisha is a pro at making seemingly impossible plans into reality—at her last job, she once even used a napkin to map out an idea she had while on a flight. That idea ended up being productionized and served as a foundation for future iterations of the company’s infrastructure service migrations.
Lacework: Did you always want to be an engineer? What would you be doing if you weren’t an engineer?
Trisha: Not at all. I had dreamed of wanting to go into criminal law since I was young but eventually opted to get a degree in Business Economics. If I had to choose another career outside of the awesome one I have today, I’d still choose being a criminal defense lawyer.
Lacework: What first sparked your interest in engineering and how did you get started in the field?
Trisha: If you asked me back in college, I never thought I would have been in the engineering discipline and working so closely with engineers every day. I graduated with a degree in Business Economics, and started my early career working in human resources. As much as I enjoyed being able to enable employees as they onboarded into the company, and develop learning programs for them, I had this gnawing interest in wanting to move closer to where the product innovation was happening for the company. It felt super exciting, and my level of curiosity continued to grow. I took a leap of faith and spent a short 1 month Hackamonth in our Engineering team, before officially taking on an Engineering TPM role where I started off with a responsibility of managing the company’s service migrations across infrastructure. Since then, I’ve been able to lead a variety of initiatives and programs spanning infrastructure and product, both as an individual contributor and in a people supporting role.
Lacework: What’s the most interesting thing you have ever built?
Trisha: In my previous role, I was responsible for helping plan out the company’s Infrastructure needs that helped serve billions of users around the world. These plans included what types of and where new data centers would be built, the custom built hardware that would fill those spaces, the allocation of such hardware to products and services, including allocation for service migrations when we would retrofit existing data center spaces. It was on a plane one day that I had mapped out on a napkin what an automated system could look like that would help us plan for migrating services from old to new servers—this ended up being productionized and widely adapted by the teams and served as a foundation for future iterations of the company’s Infrastructure service migrations.
Lacework: What is the most important advice that you have received as an engineer, and how has it impacted your career?
Trisha: Stay curious and surround yourself with people who will continue to challenge you to grow and evolve. I’ve been very fortunate to have some great mentors and colleagues throughout my career who have done exactly that and it has helped me not only strengthen my technical and non-technical expertise, but also move past early career imposter syndrome and shape my own leadership and managerial style.
Lacework: What is one interesting fact about yourself that most people don’t know?
Trisha: I love picking up on new experiences and skills outside of my comfort zone. There was a period of time between 2013-2014 where I started getting involved in modeling and pageants (I was definitely a late comer, considering most participants start in their teens!). Those experiences surprisingly taught me more about myself than I knew when it came to the physical strength and training I had to endure, the mindset shift in nutrition and health for the body, public speaking and being your authentic self. I ended up winning Miss California USA People’s Choice Award 2014 and Miss South Asia California 2014 title.
Lacework: What’s something you love to do when you’re not working?
Trisha: I’ve had a long standing love for dancing from a very young age, including spending my college years on a national competitive team for Bollywood dancing. Dance is something I find myself recently spending more time doing with my son who has a very similar appreciation for it as well. Other than that, I love the downtime and being able to spend time with my loved ones, being outdoors, traveling the world and watching football (go 49ers!).
Lacework: What’s something you wish people knew about being an engineer?
Trisha: Some people believe that many of us engineers sit behind a computer all day and code, leading to a misconception that the work is repetitive and dull. That’s quite the contrary – not only are there many different flavors of being an engineer, but I’ve found the domain and many people I work with to be some of the most creative, innovative and fearless engineers.
If you want to learn more about jobs at Lacework, visit our careers page.