Our Swipe With series highlights members of the Tinder team. We are always looking for top talent and inventive problem solvers. Check out our openings here!
Abby Johson: iOS Engineer, Revenue Team
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to be an actress/musician/performer of some kind. I used to put on plays in the living room and choreograph dances to popular songs in the ‘90s that, in retrospect, I definitely should not have been listening to at the age of 10 (e.g. Salt n’ Pepa, TLC, etc).
What is your background?
I’m originally from Maine, and went to college in Massachusetts as a theater major and music minor. After my sophomore year I got impatient and decided to “take a break” and move to NYC. After three or so years of fruitless auditioning, taking classes at various esteemed dramatic academies, and interning at an acting and modeling agency…I decided to pack up and return to New England. It was after a few years working as a receptionist for a Harvard-affiliated firm in Boston that I decided to finally go back to school. Thanks to the then-burgeoning video game industry in Boston, I got inspired to pursue a career in computer science instead. The thought process being that I’d always been a bit of a math-loving tech nerd, and felt that the video game industry offered a uniquely fun and creative atmosphere (as far as office jobs were concerned ). Long story short, I was able to finish with a Computer Science degree at Harvard and get my foot in the door doing QA testing for a casual web and mobile game company just outside the city. After almost five years of working there, I decided to escape the snow storms and humidity to pursue new professional and creative opportunities in Los Angeles.
Why did you come to Tinder?
I actually applied at Tinder when it was still relatively small. I had installed the app back in Boston and was really intrigued by the overall product model and how it fit into social media and technology. At the time, the user base in Boston was pretty grim (from a dating perspective)…but I found myself continuing to use it just as a fun way to interact with people in my neighborhood. So when I decided to move to LA, I made a point to send an application in to Tinder (despite my relatively minimal experience with native mobile apps). It actually wasn’t until after a couple of years of living and working in LA, gaining experience at both a mobile start-up and a large-scale gaming corporation, that a recruiter from Tinder contacted me. All about the timing, I guess!
What is your role at Tinder?
I joined Tinder almost a year ago as a QA Automation Engineer for the Backend team. Earlier this year I was given the opportunity to transition out of QA and into development. I was even given the option to choose which platform I wanted to focus on… and with full support of the engineering team, I was paired with a great mentor who’s helped me get up to speed on the code base as well as Swift and Objective-C (languages I previously had limited exposure to). Today, I’m an iOS Engineer working on the Revenue Team!
Can you describe a few of the Tinder features you are working on now and/or you have helped build in the past?
As a QA Engineer, I mostly worked on maintaining and improving our suite of backend regression tests. But I did also help with some features such as the Spotify integration and Tinder Social/Swipe With Friends. Since joining the Revenue Team, I’ve been focusing mostly on a brand new feature for Tinder Plus users that’s (not to brag) going to be a pretty big deal. Like… * I * would 100% pay to use this feature. Can’t wait for everyone to see it! 😉
What is the most satisfying part of your job?
The most satisfying part of my job is definitely knowing what a high level of impact our work has. Tinder is arguably one of the most recognizable brands in the world - even people who don’t use it know what it is and have an interest in what we’re doing. Every time it gets mentioned on TV, in some stand-up comedian's routine, by someone in line at Starbucks…I mean, for better or worse, it’s a phenomenon that has (directly or indirectly) affected areas of our lives that go well beyond social media and technology. It also doesn’t hurt that I, myself, am a Tinder user. So my own personal investment in the features we’re building also adds another level of excitement for my job.
What is your favorite Tinder feature and why?
I think my favorite features are those that help to beef up user profiles - such as the integrations with Spotify, Instagram, and Facebook. It really allows users an easy way to communicate who they are without the pressure of having to write up tons of detailed information or encompass their entire personality within a few calculated sentences. They’re also features that, I think, provide an added layer of security for people (particularly women) who may be nervous about meeting a stranger off the internet. I know I am quantifiably less likely to meet someone in person who hasn’t provided any humanizing details about themselves or their interests. Also, musical taste is HUGELY important to me (for obvious reasons) 😉
What are 3 things someone who is considering working at Tinder should know?
- I recommend being proactive about asking questions and communicating feedback. Not only will your enthusiasm be warmly received, but chances are good that you’ll be duly rewarded with new enlightening information and/or opportunities later on down the line. One thing I’ve come to appreciate about the people that work here is they’re constantly looking for ways to improve things… whether it be with the product, within the company, or even their own way of doing things.
- The swag is Top. Notch.
- Think about how much you love food and/or snacks. Then be prepared to learn the meaning of “The Tinder 10” first-hand, should you end up working here.
If you could use 3 adjectives to describe Tinder’s culture, what would they be?
Chill, Supportive, Snacktacular
What is one fun fact about you?
I’ve never been able to provide just ONE fun fact about myself:
1. I have an unhealthy obsession with sharks.
2. I can recite the alphabet backwards.
3. I am physically incapable of burping. (Seriously. It’s a real bummer.)