Meet Etsy Software Engineer La Vesha Parker

La Vesha Parker
Software Engineer, Etsy
Brooklyn, NY
Twitter: @feministcoder

8:30am: I wake up to the sound of my digital alarm clock. Resisting the urge to check my iPhone for any unread messages, I enjoy a few minutes of doing nothing before my day begins. I’m much happier and efficient in the mornings when I don’t immediately reach for my phone.

9:00: I put on a pot of Earl Grey tea and scroll through some of my favorite Twitter handles – @Lin_Manuel (I’m still not over Hamilton) and @dog_rates (because cute pics of dogs always take the edge off of news on all the injustices in the world). I’m a member of Code Corps, a group that creates software projects for social good, so I check the Slack channel the group uses to communicate and catch up on a few announcements. Then I get dressed. Etsy has a very casual dress code, so people tend wear whatever makes them feel comfortable. Today, I opt for a skirt and blouse.

9:30am: Off to work. My commute is an easy 30 minutes from downtown Manhattan to Etsy’s new headquarters in Brooklyn. Going through emails on my phone on the way helps me get into the right mental space for work. As a software engineer at Etsy – a global online marketplace where people buy and sell goods, from handmade jewelry to furniture – I spend the majority of my day working on code that will fix any bugs in the Etsy user experience, as well as adding new features to enhance it. I love solving problems that make it easier for entrepreneurs to run their businesses, and it’s an amazing feeling to know that what I do supports what I consider a more sustainable form of capitalism.

LaVesha at work

10:00am: I greet the building security team and head up to my floor. We have a kitchenette with snacks on each floor, so I pick up my morning fix of cheese and tea on the way to my desk. I absolutely love our open space office – it allows for spontaneous conversations with colleagues and room to breathe. There are plants everywhere and beautiful mosaics, as well as super comfortable egg chairs to lounge. The roof and outdoor terraces in the warmer months don’t hurt either.

10:05am: I catch up with my coworkers about their weekends before logging into our Slack channel to review everyone’s updates for the day. My colleagues voted awhile back to forgo in-person standups (tech speak for quick team check-ins); instead, we do digital ones, and our stand-up bot is programmed to alert our team of five engineers of our work progress. I go ahead and type up a few lines about what I did the previous day, what I’m doing today, and whether anything is blocking my work from progressing. I read a couple pull requests (a code review on GitHub where engineers send our code that we would like our coworkers to provide feedback on) I didn’t get to yesterday. Next, I check Jira, our task management system, to see what top-priority items I will work on for the rest of the day.

12:30pm: Time for one of my favorite biweekly lunch services at the office: Eatsy! I’m a big fan of stepping away from my desk for lunch whenever possible. I head down to our servery – a large room that resembles a well-designed cafeteria with great natural light and a view of lower Manhattan – to meet some colleagues to eat. On today’s menu? Shepherd’s pie and a salad. I finish off lunch with a cookie (or two).

1:30pm: I return to my desk to continue coding. I’m constantly chatting with other engineers on my team via Slack or in-person to discuss how our code should work together. Etsy practices continuous deployment, meaning we push code out many times a day and have a bunch of mechanisms in place to make sure that what we push doesn’t have negative impact on buyers and sellers.

3:00pm: Time for a coffee break and some fresh air. My coworker Sasha and I step out to grab Brooklyn Roasters. We practice our Spanish (a weekly ritual to brush up our skills) and catch up on work projects and our personal lives. We return to the office refreshed and ready to do more work.


6:00pm: I leave the office and head to my CSA (community supported agriculture program) to pick up this week’s vegetables for dinner. Back home, I make pumpkin white bean chili (a favorite).

9:00pm: I wrap up the night with a visit to my local pottery studio. I’ve been practicing pottery for about a year now and love that my mind can take a break while I’m at the wheel. The longer I stick with it, the more I learn how far I can go creatively while remaining safely in the realm of what the clay will and won’t let me do.

10:00: Back at home, I watch an episode of Black Mirror before drifting off to sleep.