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Meet Chau Nguyen, a Software Engineer at Abnormal

February 3, 2023
Learn how Abnormal's culture inspired one software engineer to pursue a people management path.

Chau loves to travel, occasionally tells a good joke, and self-identifies as a “classic millennial.” After getting her master’s degree in computer science, she kicked off her career at a range of top tech companies including Twitter and Twilo. As Chau began the search for her next role, she was particularly impressed by how the leadership team at Abnormal described the company’s goals in relation to where the company currently was. That transparency was refreshing given her experience talking with other companies. “I chatted with several other startups in the Bay Area where most of their leaders kept selling the growth story despite having never backed them up with concrete goals or results,” Chau recalls.

She also noticed that other companies balked when Chau’s stated career goals didn’t align with their objectives. As Chau puts it, Abnormal’s recruitment strategy was a different experience, and she appreciated that both leaders and the recruiting team at Abnormal were willing to spend time and effort to listen to her career goals and put together a plan for her to achieve them.

Continued Support for Shifting Career Goals

In fact, since joining the team, Chau experienced a surprising shift in her ultimate career trajectory. In her early days at Abnormal, she was primarily interested in sharpening her technical skills as an engineer—but after seeing the influence managers have on the career growth of their engineers, she became increasingly passionate about pursuing a people management path.

“Effective managers can help achieve both business goals and personal growth goals for their direct reports without sacrificing the health of their team,” Chau says. Her new interest in management has inspired her to investigate common pitfalls, question default assumptions, and propose new processes to optimize cross-team collaboration.

Her managers and coworkers have been supportive of the move, giving Chau ample opportunities to practice management skills in everyday situations while simultaneously helping Abnormal achieve its engineering goals. Chau has had the opportunity to take on the role of Product Manager for the team by collecting feedback, identifying problems, and figuring out high-level solutions to improve the developer experience. She’s also been able to flex her people management skills by allocating work to team members that best match their skills and interests.

Establishing Ownership Through Courage and Vision

As Abnormal’s engineering org has grown considerably since Chau joined, she’s witnessed significant ownership from all of her teammates when it comes to stepping up and taking on new projects.

Ownership “requires courage and vision to establish,” says Chau, and she describes how the engineering team has embodied that ownership by establishing new principles and frameworks in an effort to continue solidifying Abnormal’s product market fit. From pushing forward on adopting a new programming language, investing in security and privacy initiatives, and emphasizing microservices, Chau and the engineering team’s continued ownership has already made lasting and tangible impacts on Abnormal’s success.

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