As more and more people from underrepresented groups lift their voices and launch their careers in tech fields, it is more important than ever that we share their stories widely. We all need visible role models who can challenge, inspire, and motivate us.
With this in mind, we’re starting the #bewhoyoucansee series. Every week, we'll profile someone from an underrepresented group working in tech to learn how they got started, what they're passionate about, and what advice they have for other people pursuing a technical career.
If you're a role model, or want to share who and what inspires you, follow along with us on Facebook and Instagram by tagging your posts #bewhoyoucansee.
Week One: Ming Hua, Engineering Manager
How did you become interested in tech?
During my high school years, Yahoo was born, grew rapidly, and changed people's lives. This brought out my curiosity for technology and completely changed what I want to do in life: from being an artist to being an engineer.
Where did you study?
I went to Fudan University in Shanghai, China, for undergrad, and got my Ph.D. in the field of data mining and machine learning from Simon Fraser University in Canada.
Who have you worked with in the past?
I joined Facebook in 2009 after getting my Ph.D., and have worked with the most talented people since then. I want to highlight some of the many amazing women among them: My first team at Facebook was founded by Yun-Fang Juan, a senior female engineer who set a great example for me when I started my career. My broader team had Jocelyn Goldfein, a female engineering director, as well as Raylene Yung and Jing Chen. Both are super-awesome engineers and mentors for young technical women in the community. Later, I also worked with great female product managers like Rose Yao and product design manager Elizabeth Laraki. Currently, I'm working closely with Sophia Chung and Lu Chen, who are both smart, fun, and hard-working engineers.
What are you most passionate about this field?
I am passionate about big data technologies, building good products, and making people's lives better.
What are you focusing on now?
I'm working on several infrastructure projects that focus on modeling relationships among entities and building large-scale systems to improve the user experience across Facebook products.
What are you looking forward to?
My artist dream is still alive. I am taking part-time courses on product design, looking forward to creating good products with the help of data in the future.
Words of advice to other women in the field?
"Look far ahead" is the advice I got when learning to drive. I find it great advice for life and career as well. By looking far down the road, you will be more focused on what's important in the long run and less concerned on optimizing the short-term route. It also helps you stay positive in the face of adversity, because you'll realize how trivial it is compared with the long, exciting journey in front of you.