Employee Spotlight

Alisha Zuté

May 4, 2024

Alisha Zute

Meet Alisha Zuté, who went from reluctant member of her high school’s Computer Science Team to software engineering whiz. Alisha’s tenure at Violet Labs has been impactful to say the least. Since joining the team in early 2023 as the second engineering hire, Alisha has played a key role in a number of cornerstone features, from enabling OAuth and Slack to spearheading Scripts. Find out more about our resident Swiftie below!

Tell us your engineering origin story.

I got into computer science as a whole when I was entering high school. My brother was studying it and told me I should take that elective as well. First thought was: that sounds boring, but I needed something! Then I got into it and it was really fun. I joined a computer science team and we did some competitions where I did horribly, but it was more like hanging out with friends. I then started my career at a large enterprise software company. I learned a lot, but I realized I wanted to be with a smaller company where I could have a little bit more freedom to work on the full stack.

How do you describe what you do to your friends and family?

I tell them we're trying to build the tool that is the first thing a hardware engineer logs in to in the morning. Hardware engineering teams use all these different tools and they don't talk to each other. So engineers have to go to every single different application or website to see how different parts of their project are going. We want to build one central platform where they can go and see all of that information in an easy to read way.

What do you think is the biggest challenge that Violet faces as a company?

I think it's a challenge that what we can build and where we can go is so open-ended. There's so many different directions that we can go with the platform and the product. At this point, it's a lot of fine tuning and narrowing down exactly what it needs to do and how it's going to be most useful. Figuring that out is so challenging but it's also so rewarding.

Photo by Alisha ZutePhoto by Alisha Zute
Which of the projects that you have worked on are you most proud of?

The Violet Scripts project is like my baby. I started working on it about six months ago. It came out of a smaller initial idea where we just wanted to integrate with Python. From there, it has ballooned into a much larger feature - essentially user-facing Scripts that are built on Jupyter notebooks in Violet. It allows a user to write and execute scripts, but the powerful part is that you can define variables within those scripts that are linked to data being ingested from other Violet Integrations. This means it’s always live and up to date - it runs automatically when any Violet variable changes. There is just a lot you can do with that. It’s really exciting!

What does it take to be a good fit at Violet?

Everyone here has such different personalities, and we all fit into such different boxes. I think all you need is a genuine excitement for what we're building. I think that's what links us. So it's less about personality and more just kind of drive. Everyone seems like they're happy to log into work in the morning.

What would you say motivates you?

I really believe in Violet and our vision. It's something that is going to be really helpful to a lot of people and a lot of engineers.

Personally, my internal motivation comes from wanting to learn new things every day and I want to grow as an engineer and as a person. I would love to be someone people could look up to one day. I look up to Lucy (CEO, Founder at Violet Labs) so much. She's my role model and I would love to be that to someone else one day!

What do you do outside of work?

I think most days I just watch whatever sports I can find on TV. I love to paint, and I’ve been taking some classes. I think I like doing things with my hands. I'm trying to learn to crochet. After looking at a screen all day, it's nice to just do something physical. I like to travel a lot, too. I have an aunt that lives on the other side of the world, so meeting somewhere in the middle is always a good excuse to travel somewhere.

What do you think it is about software engineering that holds your interest?

I think it's just because it's “not one thing”. You're constantly working on so many different things and solving across different projects. The whole field changes every couple of years. Right now AI is everything, and in five years who knows what the buzzword will be.

Tell us about your work from home set up!

I actually never work at my desk except to take meetings a couple times a day. I just take my laptop and I'll work from anywhere in the house. Usually I'm just perched on the kitchen table. I really just like the flexibility of just being able to move with the sun.

If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?

I would say Haunted by Taylor Swift. It just never gets old. I am a Swiftie and her concert last year might have been the highlight of my life. I made a whole outfit with hand sewn sequins.

What would be your dream job (aside from Violet)?

I would be an astronaut. I'm really scared of heights, but I think if I just close my eyes on the way up I’ll be fine. It's the coolest field to be in, for sure, and it's always so neat to hear how Violet can contribute to it.

What three people are coming to your dream dinner party?

I think I would start out with Taylor Swift for the aforementioned reasons. Simone Biles. I love watching her gymnastics and the longevity she's had in the sport is unheard of. She's training for her third Olympics right now and she's still at the top of her game. Michelle Obama would be my third pick. I read her book “Becoming” in college. I don't pick up memoirs often, but I got through that one in one sitting.

What is your most used Emoji?

Side eyes! 👀👀👀It's definitely one that I use every four texts minimum.

Interested in learning more about the Violet team?

Contact us at hello@violetlabs.com or visit our Careers page.