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25 Ways To Dress Like A Tech Employee

BuzzFeed's tech and product teams share their personal style and biggest accomplishments.

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There's a persistent stereotype that people who work with technology are all dudes in hoodies or free company t-shirts, with zero interest in personal style or fashion. We see it in everything from Microsoft ad campaigns to the way tech companies are shown in television and movies. In my experience, I've worked with many people who are just as interested in style as they are technology. So I decided to ask my coworkers on BuzzFeed's tech team to show me how to dress like a tech employee, and this is what happened...

1. Qichen Zhang, International Product Lead

Describe Your Personal Style:

Tokyo city-girl wannabe, inevitably foiled (or benefited?) by my American practicality. Also, I now get more inspiration from my mom. She is the most timeless dresser I know, in the sense that she doesn't really care about designers and labels and only thinks about how good she feels in her clothes. I've also started taking more of her retired clothes from her 1980's Chinese, post-Maoism wardrobe.

What's something neat you worked on recently at BuzzFeed?

Along with the entire international tech team at BuzzFeed, we recently launched BuzzFeed Mexico and Canada.

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2. Swati Vauthrin, Director of Engineering

What were you doing before you worked at BuzzFeed?

I was working at ESPN Digital Media working on web and mobile experiences for brands outside of the USA.

Describe your personal style:

Trendy but classic...always an element of color. I love lux designers but I'm not a fan of flashy labels. I usually buy things with a subtle label if at all. I am also a big fan of Made In USA products. My style has become more casual and comfortable over time. I use to never wear denim. I think with the times I've just become more comfy.

3. Allison Chefec, Product Designer

What's your proudest accomplishment?

When I was in 10th grade, I decided that I wanted to go to design school and become a designer. I'm proud of fulfilling my dream and going far beyond where I ever thought I could go as a designer.

What are you working on right now at BuzzFeed?

Recently I worked on a redesign of the header of buzzfeed.com/post. The header houses a few important buttons and information used by our editors and community members every day, so we had to be careful with what we changed, while still accomplishing our goal of updating the header visually and architecturally to make it easier to use and more functional. I've also been learning SASS, which is pretty exciting! Working on my coding skills has been really freeing for me.

4. Anita Mehrotra, Data Scientist

What's something you're really proud of?

I published my first data-driven journalism piece in December. The article features a D3.js visualization tool I built that demonstrates the international spread of a post across different languages. I designed the look, built it and wrote the article from the ground up. The best part about it was that I got to combine my love for writing and statistics, something I've been working towards for a really long time.

How has your style changed overtime?

I did my undergrad at Berkeley, and I would purposefully wear jeans and a sweatshirt to my upper division math classes, because I'd routinely get taken more seriously than if I dressed "cute". Basically, I hated that if I dressed like a girly-girl, I'd be considered stupid. Now I legitimately don't care. It took awhile to get to that point. But I like the way I dress, and I like to dress up.

5. Paola Maldonado, iOS Developer

What does an iOS Developer do?

I write code to build mobile apps for the iPhone. Specifically, I write code for the BuzzFeed News App.

What were you doing before working at BuzzFeed?

Mostly learning iOS. It took some time. I took a course or two, did a couple internships, and some consulting, and then just worked on building my portfolio and gaining experience. Before that I was an Executive Administrative Assistant for several non-profits. I'm proof that with hard work you can completely make over your career and find work that is exciting and fun.

6. Alice DuBois, Director of Editorial Products

What were you doing before you worked at BuzzFeed?

I worked at NYTimes.com for 12 (twelve!) years. Over the course of my career at the Times, I had many different jobs in the newsroom, always on the digital side, and my last role was fairly similar to what I do now. I was an editor in the newsroom but it was a product-y role working with both developers and writers.

How would you describe your personal style?

I tend to dress like a 10-year-old French boy. Jeans, sneakers, a striped shirt. When I start to feel like I should make more of an effort to look like an adult woman at work, I muster up the energy to swap sneakers for flats and put on a necklace.

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7. Lucy Wang, Data Analyst

What do you think is the biggest misconception about working in tech?

That you need to have a formal degree in a quantitative or computational discipline. I graduated with a degree in biology and anthropology. I was exposed to the data science field in a few statistics classes in college, but wasn't confident that this small amount of experience would suffice. Working at my finance job, I decided to write scripts to replace the manual spreadsheet tasks that I had to do— and I got a huge kick out of this. This further motivated me to aggressively start preparing myself for a career in data science. I taught myself new programming languages while applying for graduate programs and sending in job applications to dozens of tech companies per day.

How would you describe your style?

Canadian appropriation.

8. Daphne Grayson, Project Manager

What does a Project Manager do?

It's a keep-the-trains-running-on-time role. I work with developers and designers who build iPhone and Android apps for BuzzFeed, assigning and scheduling their work so that we can bring sweet updates regularly to our readers.

What's something really cool you learned recently?

There is a German word, Kummerspeck, for the excess weight you gain from emotional overeating. It's literal translation: "grief-bacon." Was this supposed to be something about BuzzFeed?

I did recently learn how to create a one-post blog written in Django during BuzzFeed hack week.

9. Sri Ponnada, iOS Developer

What's a typical day at work for you like?

I come into the office, have a couple meetings in the morning, start working on my ~super secret~ project, have lunch, chat with coworkers for a bit, continue working, become frustrated because what I'm trying to do won't work, try to fix it, feel satisfied when it's fixed, then I go home.

What's something really cool you're working on now?

I'm currently working on a project where I've had to train a classifier to be able to identify offensive comments on BuzzFeed posts. I was surprised to see that the classifier even picked up on some sarcasm in a post + tagged it as being offensive when I ran it with test data. Pretty neat!

10. Nicolle Richard, Product Designer

What do you work on at BuzzFeed?

I help design and brand internal platforms and tools to help the business and operations teams track, manage, and report orders.

What advice do you have for people considering a career in tech?

As someone who graduated in fine arts with a painting degree, thinking I would only work as an artist, scraping at the bottom of the barrel with a ton of loans stacked up, the tech world has given me a new outlook in life. It takes motivation, determination, and the curiosity that will allow you to learn anything you want to learn. There's a place for everyone in the tech scene. Don't get to caught up in the specifics like "there's too much math involved" or "I can't design". It's about problem solving and building great things and working with smart people.

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What do you think is the biggest misconception about working in tech?

Sabrina Majeed / BuzzFeed

"No, but I mean we all learn from each other, we ask each other questions, we all have different strengths and weaknesses."

11. Justine Bienkowski, IT Manager

What does it mean to be an IT Manager at BuzzFeed?

I manage the daily operations of BuzzFeed’s internal help desk team, which supports all of our full-time employees, interns and fellows. I manage vendor relationships and handle procurement for the tech department but also for the company at large when it comes to equipment, software and services. I’m also very involved with the IT (internal technology), AV and security aspects of any new offices we open.

What do you think is one of the biggest misconceptions about working in tech?

That if you don't have every single requirement in a job description, you wouldn't be good at the job. It's more important to have an analytical mind— the technologies themselves are all easily learnable. It's more about having a passion for learning and for being able to process things a certain way. And of course, someone giving you a chance.

12. Ashley Miller, Software Engineer

What do you work on at BuzzFeed?

I work with the data infrastructure team to build highly scalable systems that help us collect and analyze all of the data generated by our site.

How would you describe your personal style?

A mix of vintage and modern. A little girlie, sometimes a little tough, always quirky. And finished with a pair of big heels. It's definitely become more adventurous and girlie over time.

What's something neat you worked on recently?

I built my first golang app!

13. Rachel Brandt, Product Support Manager

What does a Product Support Specialist do at BuzzFeed?

The support team assists our editors, creatives, and community users with any issues they may run into while using BuzzFeed or our internal tools for writers. We also provide training and field all tech support and feedback inquiries from the users of our apps.

What advice do you have for people who want to enter the tech industry?

While prior work experience and a relevant skill set are both important, I think that eagerness and a desire to provide great user experience are assets that are often just as valuable. Also, you can work in tech without writing code!

14. Polina Giralt, Software Engineer

How would you describe your personal style?

I spent the first 20 years of my life in jeans and t-shirts. In my 20s, I wore more dresses and skirts. When I worked in Finance, I had to wear business casual, so that influenced what I bought. Now, I'm back to jeans and t-shirts on most days. But I do own a ton of nice dresses and heels that I barely ever wear.

What is the biggest misconception about the tech industry?

People assume that everyone is either a super-genius engineer or computer-illiterate. In reality, people are somewhere on a bell-curve, where we all start at 0 and make our way through by learning new skills and core technologies. Also, if someone is knowledgable in one area, it doesn't mean they know everything.

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15. Jen Wohlner, Project Manager

What were you doing before you started working in tech?

My undergrad education is in fine art. I studied and made sculptures, video installations, and performance art. Also, way, way, way back before I got my first jobs and internships in tech during college, I was a caddy...like I carried golf bags. Fun fact: I have never played a round of golf, but I LOVE the driving range.

What's your proudest accomplishment?

Last summer, I biked 124 miles in about 9 hours by myself. I encountered huge elevation climbs, heavy headwinds across sometimes boring landscapes, and two flat tires. I have never felt like quitting something as badly as I felt it during hours 7-8 of that ride. But I finished, and I finished strong. I feel really proud about completing that ride.

How would you describe your personal style?

Camp counselor couture.

16. Lauren Jones, IT Coordinator

What do you do at BuzzFeed?

I work with BuzzFeed employees across all departments insuring that they have the technology equipment to work at their best! I get to help people ALL THE TIME - it's awesome.

How would you describe your personal style?

Pretty laid back, jeans and t-shirt mostly. I like animals - so anything that looks cute and has a llama on it, I'm probably going to purchase it.

17. Rachel Edelman, Product Designer

What do Product Designers do?

I help design new features and tools on the site, and redesign existing ones. My job is to make things that users can intuitively understand, that meet our business needs, and that look good. I work with product managers, developers, and users to define problems and solve them.

What's a typical day at work like for you?

Check email, leave feedback on the designs my coworkers have posted, check in briefly with my project team, open Sketch to work on some designs, go to another meeting for a different project where we can define the scope and discuss possible solutions, check Basecamp to see what feedback I've gotten on the work I posted, open Sketch and iterate on my designs based on the feedback, chat with coworkers on Slack about issues with the website/a cool design event someone heard about/lunch, read more email, go to more meetings, do more research... and read Buzzfeed.

18. Lyle Payne Morgan, Data Analyst

What's something really cool you learned recently?

This week I've learned a bit about Raspberry Pi. I was never a kid who took apart computers or played with circuits, so I am amazed at how powerful something so small and rudimentary (seeming) can be.

What do you think is a misconception about this industry?

I think the biggest misconception is that people in tech are single-minded hackers, constantly writing code. The people that I work with have incredibly varied interests and pursue a range of other things outside of work— learning a new language, a new instrument, a new sport. If anything I think the best part of the "technical mentality" is that people are more open to learn and less likely to be dissuaded by what they're unfamiliar with.

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19. Tara Wilson, iOS Developer

What advice do you have for people considering a career in the tech industry?

Be confident! When I first started computer science in undergrad I knew that I loved it, but I was hesitant to declare that I was a computer science major for two years because I felt like an imposter. Everyone else in my classes had been programming for a while and I was always unsure of my skills and felt like a newbie. Now I know that everyone in computer science has felt unsure and confused at times. If you love tech, don't be afraid to say so. 💕

What's something cool you learned recently?

In between the time that pluto was discovered as a planet and the time that pluto was disqualified as a planet, pluto had not even gone around the sun one full time.

20. Jacqueline Yue, Product Designer

What does a Product Designer do at BuzzFeed?

I work on the data team, so I use design to make data easily understandable and insightful to the average human being.

Do you have some advice for people considering a career in tech?

Everything you learn and experience in tech is light years ahead of the rest of the world, which is crazy but amazing. With your knowledge, consider to give back, teach, or volunteer to help those who desperately need young, tech-savvy people like you.

What's your proudest accomplishment?

Being a mom!

21. Jane Kelly, Data Science Lead

What were you doing before working at BuzzFeed?

I studied geography and art in college and didn't get into computer science until my last year. At school I became very interested in the ways we can collect, organize, explore, construct and understand data into information. Collections, objects and layers are beautifully flexible and abstract concepts for exploring almost anything.

How would you describe your personal style?

Have a uniform. My family always jokes that I've been wearing the same outfit my whole life and in the past few years I've come to embrace it. Timeless and simple.

22. Nicole Leffel, Product Lead

What's something really cool you worked on recently?

I've been making tools that empower editors to create their own interactive content, and one of my favorites is our Choose Your Own Adventure format. Editors have been excited about having more conditional controls for quizzes, and it's a really compelling problem to tackle!

What's the biggest misconception about working in tech?

That tech is a pure meritocracy, where everyone has equal opportunity to break in and succeed. It's an alluring fantasy that we all want to be true, but we have a lot more work to do before it actually is true.

23. Dara Elass, Data Analyst

What does a Data Analyst at BuzzFeed do?

I write code that looks at a lot of numbers and presents them to people who want to understand some aspect of BuzzFeed.

What's something really neat you're working on right now?

Recently I got to interview one of my favorite hip-hop artists and wrote about it for BuzzFeed! I'm also learning how to build a map visualization in d3.

What do people often get wrong about the tech industry?

That we're all a bunch of dudes calling each other "bro" and drinking beer all the time. Actually, it's mostly like that, but that's not everyone :)

24. Steph Zhang, Software Developer

What are you working on right now at BuzzFeed?

I write a lot of A/B tests to make our site more efficient. I also worked on the BuzzFeed News App launch! It was cool to show the serious side of BuzzFeed to millions of people. Before BuzzFeed, I worked in wine as a sommelier.

How would you describe your style and how has it evolved?

Flamboyant tomboy. My style's changed a lot over time. I've come into my own in terms of feeling comfortable with an androgynous style. Last year I chopped a foot of hair off.

What wine should I be drinking like right now?

Sandlands 2013 Chenin Blanc

25. Dao Nguyen, Publisher

What does the Publisher do at BuzzFeed?

I manage the engineering, product, data, and design groups. I work on overall strategy, team organization including recruiting, communications, and partnerships.

Do you have any career advice for people who are just starting out?

From your second job on, choose your employer based on the company's potential. You learn a lot at a growing company, and you have more opportunities to grow along with it.

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