Houzzer Profile: Ania Kurek, Front End Engineer
A longtime Houzz user, Ania is a Front End Engineer for Houzz. When she’s not at work, you can find her upholstering furniture, cooking up a storm and browsing Houzz, of course!
How did you get into computer science?
I’ve always been really interested in math and science. I also love art and art history. When I was growing up in Poland, I wanted to go into art restoration, but when I moved to the U.S., I found that most schools don’t offer art restoration majors.
Studying computer graphics was a good way to merge my interests in math, science and art. Over time, front end engineering became what worked best for me. I managed to use my science skills and art skills at the same time.
What’s your favorite part of working at Houzz?
I really love the product! I discovered Houzz when I was considering a kitchen remodel years ago and decided I wanted to work here. Since I was a user, I had plenty of ideabooks and feedback for the engineers who interviewed me.
Sometimes in the evening, I just browse Houzz for inspiration. It’s always fun to test your code on something that you actually love. I often learn something from reading comments on photos.
What’s the development process like at Houzz?
It’s really great. I’ve worked at other places and, in comparison, Houzz inspires a lot of creativity because we have an open, flat organization where everyone can share their thoughts and opinions. We have a very collaborative process where everyone’s input is taken into account. Also, the engineering team works very closely with the design team, which is really rewarding.
What technical challenge have you been most excited to work on?
I like working on projects that are new and different for me, that I have to spend time researching instead of just using a library someone else wrote. I enjoy going back to math problems and solving things on a whiteboard.
At Houzz, we have the option of being in charge of a project from the beginning, so you get the chance to pick the flow of how the back or front end is going to work. Everyone gets the chance to be their own architect and decision maker.
How have you used Houzz at home?
I’m a long time Houzz user! I recently used Houzz to find a contractor to build a custom entertainment center. It was so easy – I knew exactly what I wanted and that he could do it, based on his profile.
Now, I’m working on a nursery and found a photographer on Houzz who does pictures of baby animals. I purchased a lot of prints from her to put on the wall.
I have a ton of ideabooks for future projects.
What should an engineering candidate know about working at Houzz?
Houzz is a fun environment and has a great team. You’re not just working by yourself to accomplish things, everyone works together to solve problems. We really want to help the user, and that shows throughout the team. On top of that, everyone is really smart and nice.
What do you do when you’re not working?
I love to work with my hands and make things. I particularly love to sew and made all the curtains in my house. Sometimes, I even reupholster things myself. I love to cook, also.