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Meet the Trulian: Marissa Marquez

A series to connect you to the Trulians behind the magic

This “Meet the Trulian” features Marissa Marquez, a front-end engineer working on Trulia’s property details pages. Marissa became an engineer after starting her career in Web development and switching gears to go through the Hackbright Academy fellowship for women to learn software engineering. Read on to learn more about Marissa.

What’s your role at Trulia?
I just celebrated my three-year anniversary at Trulia as a front-end engineer. I work on the property details pages, where you’ll find photos, maps, crime and school resources, and of course, information about the property, including price history, comparables, etc. There’s so much information on these pages that our team is constantly trying new ways to make it easier for consumers to find what they’re looking for. We’re currently using React, a JavaScript library, to update and build these new features.

I am also one of the founders of Trulia’s Women in Engineering Group, which I’m quite proud of. We meet monthly to discuss and share concerns, successes, and learnings, and the group has grown a lot since it began.

What inspired you to get into your role?
I started my career designing websites for small businesses. After several years of coding the UI, I wanted to learn more about building a complete website, so I went through the Hackbright Academy fellowship for women to learn software engineering. After I completed the program, I was looking to work for a company that had a great product – one that I would use myself. I was also interested in real estate websites after my hunt to find a new home, so Trulia was a great match!

What was your dream job growing up and why?
I had a lot of different interests growing up, and architecture was one of the careers I had seriously considered. Conceptualizing a building and the surrounding space, designing it, and seeing your vision come to life really appealed to me. However, learning physics was not as appealing, so I pursued fine art and graphic design instead.

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?
Megan Smith, America’s Chief Technology Officer. Before that, she was on a team to race solar cars across Australia, was the CEO of Planet Out, a VP at Google, and co-founder of WomenTechmakers. That’s a pretty impressive resume! I’d ask her what she thinks has been her biggest accomplishment since becoming CTO.

What’s the one gadget or personal tech item you cannot live without and why?
Definitely my iPhone. It keeps me sane during my BART commute. I can zone out and listen to music, read, catch up on email, or look at photos and videos of animals doing cute things. I also use my iPhone as my primary camera now. I take a lot of reference photos for future paintings and artwork, and I’m so glad that image search is possible now, so I can find what I’m looking for without having to manually organize my photos.

What was the last movie you saw or book you read and what – if anything – would you change about the ending?
I just read “Desert Solitaire” by Edward Abbey. The author wrote about the three seasons he spent in Moab, Utah as a park ranger at Arches, before it became a National Park. His deep appreciation of the canyons and desert really come through in his writing. He paints such a vivid picture of Canyon Country that I’m eager to revisit Utah. The author is pretty salty and opinionated, and has some questionable ideas and antics, but it can be comical to read.

In my favorite chapter, he writes about his rafting adventure through Glen Canyon before it was flooded by a dam. It’s a true story, so if I could change one thing about it, I would love for this area to be accessible for others to explore, but it’s now submerged underwater.

What’s your proudest accomplishment and why?
Realizing that I really can accomplish the things I want to do in life. Whenever I find myself saying, “I wish I could…” I ask myself why I can’t, and if I’m willing to do the work to make it happen. This has come into play when I wanted to live abroad, learn to snowboard, and during my career transition to a software engineer.

If you could master one talent or skill that you don’t have now what would it be and why?
Public speaking. I’m slightly envious of people who can get up in front of a room full of people and eloquently speak about a topic or their ideas. I especially admire the ones who take questions from the audience. It’s something I’m slowly working on, but it still fills me with dread.

If you could have one superpower what would it be and why?
Being able to breath underwater. I snorkel and scuba dive, but would love to explore the ocean even more – apparently, only five percent of the ocean has been explored. I’d love to checkout underwater mountains, trenches, caves, and shipwrecks. It’d be cool to see some crazy-looking sea life too.

If you could time travel, would you go into the future or past and why?
Probably the past. I’d like to see how accurate certain ages really are compared to how they’ve been portrayed, and what we’ve been taught. Could be really interesting.