In this week’s Women of NetMotion, we have the pleasure of introducing Liz Kihslinger, one of our software engineers based at our headquarters in Seattle.
Liz’s passion for technology all started when she was five years old and her family bought an IBM computer. At first, she wasn’t immediately drawn to it, but her brother (who is just 15 months older) quickly influenced her to take an interest. She even credits her brother for what has now become her career.
Since starting at NetMotion more than eight years ago, Liz has worn multiple hats. First as a database developer and eventually moving into Quality Assurance (QA). In a nutshell, this requires Liz to develop a deep working knowledge of NetMotion’s software from the user’s perspective, allowing her to make sure that it works as flawlessly as possible for customers in the real world.
This goes deeper than just making sure that the software ‘works.’ Liz looks at NetMotion and its various dashboards as if she were on a customer’s IT team, not as a NetMotion developer. That puts her in a unique position to act as an advocate for customers; always testing different use cases for the software before it ever leaves the door.
Quality is naturally something that Liz is very passionate about, making this role a perfect fit for her personality. In particular, she enjoys being able to hone two of her favorite skills: creativity and critical thinking. She says that working to improve the quality of software is both fun and challenging, especially in a company like NetMotion where this approach is valued.
That’s not to say that QA isn’t challenging. Being a perfectionist at heart, the fact that Liz can’t find all the bugs in the software does cause some personal frustration. That’s particularly the case if a customer finds a problem that the team had missed. Thankfully, she says, the culture at NetMotion is not one to finger-point.
That hadn’t always been the case. Before joining NetMotion, Liz found herself working at companies where mistakes were pinned on a scapegoat, especially when customers were able to identify an issue before QA. According to Liz, NetMotion takes a much healthier approach by figuring out why something was missed, and putting systems in place that ensure it doesn’t happen again. There’s never any blame placed on one individual.
Liz moved into the software field after first being a hairstylist and managing a salon. In her words, people tend to be very illogical (hairstylists even more so), which made the irrefutable logic of computers even more appealing. The only time computers really mess up is when the data they’re given is flawed (unless you’re dealing with HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey).
What first attracted Liz to NetMotion was the people and the culture. She quickly highlights another thing that stands out to her – NetMotion’s value of continued education – which she’s taken advantage of many times to learn new skills over the years.
“We have an incredible culture. Our engineering team is made up of people who are all extremely bright and passionate about what they do. I’ve formed some lifelong friendships here with people who share my passions for music (I play the piano and bassoon), card games, board games, and/or the Green Bay Packers.”– Liz Kihslinger, NetMotion Software
Other people Liz admires include famous historical figures such as Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman, along with more recent women like Malala Yousafzai. They all stood up against oppression even when their lives were at stake. We would all like to be even half as brave as these women, given similar circumstances.
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