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Meet the Trulian: Hamza Kubba

A Series to Connect You to the Trulians Behind the Magic

Today’s “Meet the Trulian” features the Engineering Lead for Trulia Rentals, Hamza Kubba. Hamza has been with Trulia for nearly two years, and is in charge of product interfaces and APIs. Read on to learn more about Hamza and what motivates him.

What’s your role at Trulia?
I lead a small team of super smart engineers for Trulia Rentals. My team’s primary focus is building slick user interfaces and the APIs that power them, for our desktop and mobile websites. Being an engineering lead involves wearing many hats: I help my team move quickly while writing high-quality code (we like our code reviews at Trulia!). I work closely with our product manager to size up and plan our projects, and to coordinate with other teams. I still get to design and code cool projects as well, which I love. My favorite part of the job, though, is pressing the big red button.

What inspired you to get into your role?
I got into Web development in the late 90s, mostly because of video games. At the time, most people had dialup Internet at home, but my brother worked for a Web development startup whose office had a T1 connection. A T1 connection is only 1.5mbps, slower than residential Internet today, but that was 50 times faster than what I had at home back then and it totally blew my mind once I tried it.

I was into online video games, so I made a deal with the startup’s CEO: I would ‘lend’ the office my PC so they could use it for website development during the day, and in exchange I would have access to their office after hours to play games. It was great for me, but the CEO eventually got tired of me distracting the programmers who often worked late. He decided to give me a small client project as a test. I passed, and I’ve been doing Web development ever since!

What was your dream job growing up and why?
I don’t recall having a specific dream job, but I’ve definitely been fascinated by computers since I was very young. When I started my computer science degree and my first job, I had no idea computers would become as ubiquitous as they are now, or that a career as a software developer would be what it is today. I just did what I enjoyed, and feel lucky that it ended up working out well as a career. I’m also blessed to have the opportunity to press the big red button.

If you could have drinks with one tech luminary – dead or alive – whom would it be and why? And, what would your first question be?
Nikola Tesla. He was personally responsible for numerous discoveries and technologies that we rely on today, and that many computer technologies are built upon. At the same time, he was also reclusive and in some ways strange, so I think he would have been very interesting to have drinks with. I would ask him about his process of learning and experimentation.

What was the last movie you saw or book you read and what – if anything – would you change about the ending?
I watched Top Secret! for the first time over the holidays. I thought it was hilarious and wouldn’t change a thing about the ending.

What’s your proudest accomplishment and why?
That would be my career. Individually, I’m proud of many of the projects that I have worked on over the years, but more than that, I’m proud of the fact that I have constantly pushed myself beyond my comfort zone and have always managed to keep learning while contributing.

If you could master one talent or skill that you don’t have now what would it be and why?
I guess us Trulia engineers are cut from the same cloth because I’d also say being able to play an instrument well. I don’t think it’s too late for me to start playing an instrument, but I do believe it’s too late for me to master one, sadly; it takes a ton of dedication, and starting young certainly helps. Music is an amazing form of expression, and I feel like I’m missing out by not being able to speak it fluently.

If you could have one superpower what would it be and why?
Being able to do all the chores at home with the snap of my fingers. That has to be the best superpower!

If you could time travel, would you go into the future or past and why?
The future. I’d love to know how far humanity gets, and how people will solve today’s major challenges (e.g. completing chores at home). Luckily, I’m already time traveling there!