Thoughtworker Spotlight: Jason Zheng
January 20, 2023
Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes
Who better than Jason Zheng to jazz (or should we say, Jepsen, as in Carly Rae) us up this January? Whether he’s delivering product impact to our clients or coaching and mentoring future generations of engineers, his skill, dedication and passion always shine.
When he’s not busy wearing iconic nature landmarks shirts (or looking for new ones to add to his collections), you’ll find Jason cooking up new recipes, gaming with friends, or savouring in the runner’s high. Now, can you guess what his favourite product is? Here’s a hint: he can spend hours with it and has not parted with them even after discontinuation, buying multiple pairs as backup. Check out his Thoughtworker Spotlight to find out!
Tell us about what you do in 50 words or less.
I am a software engineer currently working with a leading automobile manufacture to consolidate their wide swath of sites for their commercial fleet division. At present, we’re migrating their marketing pages in time for the yearly refresh of their vehicle offerings.
What’s the most interesting challenge you’re working on?
Infrastructure. I worked on incorporating feature flagging for asynchronous releases and A/B testing for the site. Coordinating with stakeholders on the process improvements necessary for using these tools and running a learning session has been rewarding in the short couple of months I’ve been on this project.
What inspired you to have the career you have today?
As early as university, I was drawn to the open-ended approach to problem-solving that my field allows, so much so that I changed my original degree in physical sciences. I’ve kept that sense of freedom, discovery and scrappiness as a core part of what is necessary for my day-to-day no matter where I work. My current inspiration is finding a new interesting problem that I truly think is important for this world and devoting the next chunk of my life to it. It drove me to Ritual and Thoughtworks and, hopefully, will be the next chapter of my career.
What achievement are you most proud of in your career to date?
Not one specific moment but the combined success of all the co-ops, students and juniors I’ve helped or mentored drives me considerably. Many of them, both from previous companies and at Thoughtworks, have gone on to have great success in their careers and lives. My co-ops left a long-lasting impression on me and where my life has gone and I hope to give the same breath of opportunities and warm memories to those that work with me.
If you could go back in time and give yourself career advice, what would it be?
Don’t always follow “fake it till you make it.” It’s valuable to stretch your comfort zone to grow, but it’s detrimental to push too hard and take on so much that it’ll backfire. The line between “too much” and “just okay” is thin but just ask yourself, “am I okay with this quality of work going out into the world?”
What do you love to do outside of work?
Cooking, gaming and running.
The meticulous side of cooking has always appealed to me. The process of tweaking dishes is absorbing. Good food is always a quick way to get people together and create memories. Cooking a delicious feast for those close to me is the easiest way to show how much I care.
Games quickly draw me into another world. I can get lost for weeks in another world and experience a story in a way no other medium can provide. That and most of my lifelong friends have built most of our bonds and memories in our favourite games.
I discovered the joy of running during the pandemic and as a tool to go through some physical rehab to help me understand my body more. The freeness and runner’s high that one gets from the activity has been so addictive I’ve surprised myself with how much I’ve come to look forward to each run.
If you were stuck on a deserted island, what album, movie, and book would you take with you?
And finally, what’s your favourite product and why?
My Bose Soundsport in-ear wired buds. They’ve got a unique patented shape that allows for the most comfortable wear I have ever experienced. I can wear them for hours and hours on end with no discomfort. Their design allows me to hear everything around me for safety while running while not having to turn up the volume super high to hear the music. As with Bose quality, the sound tuning is superb, and one pair of earbuds lasted five years before dying, and it was only because I accidentally stepped on it for the 50th time. I’m livid that they discontinued this line and never made a USB-C version since phones have gotten rid of the headphone jack. My love for these earbuds is so great that I bought three pairs as a backup after discovering they’re discontinuing them.
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