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Work Diaries: YouTube Main App engineer also co-leads an internal Women@YouTube Summit

  • By Archana Ajith
  • Software Engineer
  • Mar.16.2021
Work Diaries: YouTube Main App engineer also co-leads an internal Women@YouTube Summit
I’m Archana Ajith, an Android engineer on the YouTube Main App team and our internal Women@YT Global Summit Co-Lead.

We’re peeling back the curtains with our series, Work Diaries, where you can experience inner workings of YouTube. How do decisions get made? What goes into a product, feature or policy? We’re asking YouTube employees to give us the low-down during a five-day period. 




In my day job as an Android engineer, I work on YouTube’s “Watch” page -- the page where you watch videos. This means I work on everything that's on and below the player on the Android app. I’m also active on the Women@YouTube ERG (Employee Resource Group), which hosts an internal Summit for our employees every year. This year, the Summit will be virtual, so we’re making it a global 17-hour telethon event. I get to co-lead!

WFH setup

WFH setup

Monday


8:00 am - A year into the quarantine, work-from-home life, I’ve come to learn that I’m more productive at work if I try to maintain some amount of normalcy in my life by getting dressed for work in the morning. I walk down the stairs (my “commute” during WFH), grab a cup of coffee and settle into a seat next to the kitchen island to catch up on emails.

9:00 am - Time to start work at my desk. Today’s calendar is fairly light on meetings, so I’ll mostly just catch up on pending tasks. It’s crunch time for the Women@ summit, so most of my morning disappears as I get working on that. We’re at 860 employees registered for the summit! 

1:30 pm - Back from lunch. Time to switch gears and start coding. I think I’ll work on some of the bugs that I haven’t had a chance to look into yet.

virtual trainer

Today’s highlight: Finally started virtual training with my personal trainer again. With my wedding coming up at the end of the year, I really need to get back in shape!


Ace

Ace!

Tuesday


9:00 am - Today, I’ll start off with some engineering work and move onto summit-related things later. I’m still working on the bug from yesterday. It’s turning out to be quite a bit harder than I anticipated, but I’ve reached out to my teammates for help.


11:00 am - Feeling a little stuck on my current task, I move on to writing a design doc for another feature that we’re working on implementing. This design doc is based on the feedback I got back from a design review last week, so I’ll need to share the doc out to the team once it’s done for a final review. 


1:00 pm - I noticed a bunch of pings from the Summit committee when I got back from lunch. It looks like we’ve got over 900 employees registered for the summit, worldwide, with over 440+ attendees interested in our “Coffee with Leadership” session. To keep the networking groups small, we’re going to need nearly 50 leads to volunteer. I’m probably going to need to spend the next hour or so reaching out to more leads to invite them to the session.


3:00 pm - We’ve got a meeting with the summit production team. To give you an insight into the scale of the event, for a 17-hour virtual telethon event spanning multiple regions, we need four different sets of production teams to split the entire agenda, and a few folks to stay on at all times. We have a few production syncs to ensure that everyone is on the same page.


Today’s highlight: My puppy, Ace, and I tried our hand at painting together! I poured paint onto the canvas, wrapped it and smothered it with peanut butter. He used his tongue as his brush. He was SO happy because he had never had such a large treat in his life!

games

Wednesday


8:00 am - Today’s workday is starting a little earlier than usual. Due to the global nature of the summit, we need to set up meetings that work for all time zones. So, in order to keep all 30 members of the committee in sync, we’ve organized three different meetings throughout the day.


9:00 am - Usually before I start working on a feature, we go through a review process where we send out our design doc to all the relevant stakeholders. This time around, we had a pretty quick turnaround on the doc that I was working on yesterday and got it approved the same day. So I’m going to start implementing the design.


3:00 pm - I’m meeting with my co-lead to run through all the content for the summit to make sure that it’s all cohesive and works with our theme. This year, we’ve chosen the theme of “Reimagine Together.” It’s been a year of firsts for everyone, and the rest of the year will be about figuring out the new normal. But we have an amazing community of Women@YT all over the world to help support each other through it all, and that’s what we want to really embrace during the summit. I just looked at the registration count and we’re at 970! 


Today’s highlight: One of the perks of WFH is that I get to spend a lot more time with family! This week, my fiancé and I are visiting my parents in East Bay, and we’ve got a fun session of board games and card games planned for tonight.


Evening walk

Evening walk

Thursday


10:30 am - One of the things that I’ve been doing every morning is checking the number of registered attendees and adding them to our attendees mailing list to include them in all future announcements. I just found out that we crossed 1000 registrations, which is the most we’ve ever had for any Women@YouTube event! It’s both nerve-racking and exciting at the same time. I’m going to send an email to the committee thanking them for all their hard work, and congratulating them on getting 1,000+ registered participants.


1:00 pm - Thursdays at 1 p.m. mean it's WFH trivia time! A team based out of New York started setting up a weekly trivia show when the pandemic started, and my team and I have been joining in every week since May to answer two rounds of trivia questions. It’s been so much fun, and a great way to collaborate with my team on a more casual note. 


3:30 pm - As I continue work on the new feature, I need to add an experiment gate so that the feature isn’t visible to our users until it’s complete and tested. Given the scale that we work with, we have a process in place to enable the feature to a small set of users and ramp up visibility as we verify that everything works as expected.


Today’s highlight: Went on a walk with Ace this evening and we got to see a beautiful sunset.


WFH

Friday


9:00 am - Since the summit is virtual, we’re planning one keynote speaker per region, and we just finalized our external speakers for the summit. Woohoo! I’m so relieved that we’ve finally got those sessions sorted out.  What a relief. Now, I get to announce the array of speakers who will be featured during the summit, including Gemma Arterton, Lilly Singh and some more amazing people.  


10:00 am - Joined the Watch Bug Bash meeting. Every week, the team meets up to test new features. We get together and the engineer quickly goes over what the feature is and how it should work. We then test that feature on our devices and log any bugs that we come across.


12:00 pm - As some of our external speakers will be unavailable during the summit, we’ve scheduled pre-recordings for their sessions. With the summit less than a week away, my co-lead and I need to make sure that the live and pre-recorded pieces fit together. So we’re meeting up to go over the run-of-show and livestream logistics.


3:00 pm - Come Friday afternoon, I always look forward to YTF (YouTube Fridays). YTF is an internal employees session where Susan Wojcicki joins the company on a livestream to update everyone about the latest happenings in the company. Sometimes, this also involves some fun games or talks with YouTubers. When we used to be at the office, this was followed by a YTF social event. This is, by far, my favorite perk of working at YouTube.


Today’s highlight:  I decided to wrap up my week with a small picnic on the roof, followed by a movie night. During the pandemic, my family got into the habit of watching a movie together on Friday nights. This week we’re watching “Ocean’s Eleven,” a classic.




Interested in a career at YouTube? Peruse through open positions here.