Career Stories

How This Tech Company Encourages Software Engineers to Make a Meaningful Impact

Samantha Monteiro, software engineer at Intuit
Samantha Monteiro

Samantha Monteiro was born and raised in Brazil and always dreamed of working in Silicon Valley.

As an undergrad studying computer science at Federal University of Campina Grande, she landed an internship at the Mountain View, CA office of the global financial platform company Intuit—the makers of TurboTax, Quickbooks, and Mint. The following summer, she did another internship with the firm, this time in their San Diego office. “That’s when I knew this was where I wanted to work full-time,” she recalls. “I felt welcomed and empowered to perform tasks just like every full-time employee. Even as an intern, I felt like my work was valued and the learning experience was very rewarding.”

Today, she’s a software engineer on the Tax Content team, which is responsible for tax law implementation in products like TurboTax and Quickbooks. Monteiro works on ProConnect, a product that connects tax and accounting professionals with essential resources to better support their clients. And she’s found a community as the leader of Intuit’s Women of San Diego JavaScript community, which helps expand the skills of other women in tech.

Trace Monteiro’s career path, and follow her advice on how to find a supportive workplace that encourages you to bring your whole self to the table.

What attracted you to come back to Intuit after interning there?

Definitely the culture and values. I spend most of my time at the office and I want to feel great about where I work. And, let me tell you: Intuit does a great job making me feel supported! Other than the day-to-day work, Intuit provides several tech initiatives and conferences to engage its employees, and lots of opportunities to do cross-functional work and contribute to open-source projects.

Another big plus is the culture of openness and access to leadership. One example that quickly comes to mind is when I was an intern in 2015, I was able to schedule a quick meeting with our CEO at the time, Brad Smith. Another thing that I love about Intuit is how they care about health as a whole. In our San Diego office, we have a sand volleyball court where I love to take a break and play a few games and have some fun. I’ve made great friends and have grown so much over this time at Intuit, both as an engineer and as a person.

What are you responsible for in your role?

As a software engineer on the tax content engineering team, my main responsibility includes automating and creating tools for the team so they can deliver and innovate with speed and quality for Intuit customers. We are very customer-obsessed, which means we define and measure the success of our tools through the customer’s eyes. We do that by using uniquely Intuit techniques like Follow-Me-Homes, Customer-Driven Innovation, and Design for Delight (D4D).

With Follow-Me-Homes, for example, we usually visit the customer’s place of business or home, to observe firsthand what they do to accomplish their tasks so we can find opportunities to make their jobs even easier. As an engineer, I use these techniques to develop customer empathy, putting myself in their shoes.

What are you working on right now that excites or inspires you?

Imagine that you’re a developer and got assigned to a new project or got hired to work somewhere new. You’re super excited to start working on your tasks, but there’s just one important thing you have to do first: set up your computer's environment. So you take a day or two for environment setup, only to find yourself facing several issues, some of which can be resolved by someone more senior on the team, while others are issues nobody has seen. The person who knows more has left the project, works in another country now and is unavailable.

Well, what if you could just get the whole environment set up with just a single click? That’s what I am working on. I am using infrastructure as code and making sure the computer itself does the step-by-step setup automatically for the Tax Content team member while they are at lunch or working on something else. This is a great opportunity to increase the productivity of over 40 tax developers across Intuit and it allowed me to learn a lot of new tools and technologies I wasn’t familiar with before, like Chef. I have always done a lot of web development but this project helps me improve my DevOps skills.

What employee benefits help set Intuit apart from other companies?

We have a benefit called Well-Being for Life, where employees can get reimbursed for expenses related to their physical, mental, or emotional health. I used that benefit to get a surfboard. Intuit has a great work environment as well. It is very collaborative, there are people from all different backgrounds, and it’s very easy to connect with people from different teams.

What do you like best about the company culture at Intuit?

I love how employees and customers are the number one priority at Intuit. I really feel that the company strives to create a diverse and inclusive workplace where everyone is supported and can bring their whole selves to work. Diversity and inclusion is at the core of Intuit. We have 11 employee resource groups, like the Intuit Latinos Network and Intuit Women’s Network which I both love, but there’s also the Intuit Indian Network, Intuit Pride Network, etc. I love being able to connect and get to know more people across these networks!

You lead Intuit’s Women of San Diego JavaScript community, which helps expand the skills of other women in tech. Can you tell us more about it?

It’s a monthly meetup hosted at Intuit with the goal of bringing as many people as possible together to learn more about the best JavaScript practices. I’m very passionate about teaching and empowering women in STEM and I could talk about that all day long. My goal is to bring technical resources to our meetup attendees by applying JavaScript in different contexts. I have done meetups focusing on functional programming, accessibility, and open-source where I was able to successfully get about 16 pull requests into Intuit open source projects, even from junior programmers. I hope to be doing this for a long time and bringing even more people together.

Updated 10/22/2020