Meet Lead Software Engineer Andrea Wayte

HopSkipDrive Full Stack Engineer Andrea WayteAndrea Wayte’s love of learning and desire to help children — as well as her master’s degree in education — led her to a six-year career in teaching. Her interest in devising creative solutions to solving problems while making a difference in the world led her to HopSkipDrive, where she works as the Lead Software Engineer on the client experience team. 


Where are you located, how long have you worked for HopSkipDrive, and what exactly do you do for the company?

I live in Los Osos, CA, and I joined HopSkipDrive in October of 2021 as a full stack developer. I am primarily focused on front-end development of RideIQ.

How did you hear about HopSkipDrive, and what made you want to work here?

Vice President of Engineering, Jacob Green, reached out to me. As a former teacher, I was thrilled with the opportunity. Going into the interviews, I already knew I liked the product. Throughout the process, each person I met increased my confidence in the company due to their drive, knowledge and passion.

What is your educational background?

I graduated from the University of California Santa Cruz with a bachelor’s degree in marine biology and a master’s in education (science education, specifically). 

What made you interested in pursuing engineering as a career?

I’ve always considered myself a maker, a board game enthusiast and a creative problem solver. I worked in education for six years, and although I loved being a teacher I decided to look for something that was better suited for me. 

Through the experience of building a static website for my personal craft business, I realized this was something I could do professionally. So I began teaching myself through courses, and I eventually enrolled in a coding bootcamp. 

What are some of the biggest challenges you encounter in your role?

The biggest challenge is knowing that the consequences of a mistake could put a child in a worrying situation. This is why it’s important to think outside of specific features to make sure we are creating a safe product.

Being a developer has its own challenges, as well. The tools of the trade are always changing; decisions you make today often have an impact on the future; and there are always things to improve, learn more about or fix — as well as unexpected bugs. 

There are many ways to solve a single problem. You need to be able to identify and decide on the best solution based on parameters such as user impact, code complexity and time to implementation. 

What is the biggest positive of the work you do?

Being able to work on a project that can increase the success and safety of a child. As a former teacher, I have always been passionate about working in the education space in some capacity, and I am grateful I get to use my skills for a company that helps youth. 

What are some of the characteristics you need to be successful in your job?

I think it starts with a passion for designing good software. The more you learn about design, the tools and the language, the more experience you gain and the better your ability is to make good decisions about ways to solve problems. 

Effective communication skills are also important. I work closely with product, design and other developers, and I need to be able to convey information through documentation, code and design.

How has your experience been working with colleagues at HopSkipDrive? 

Though I work remotely, I have enjoyed the virtual events the company offers. They provide an opportunity to see other faces in different departments. At last year’s virtual holiday party, I participated in margarita making. There were lots of laughs and new faces, and it was wonderful seeing everyone having a great time. I have been making margaritas for my family ever since!

What is your favorite thing about working at HopSkipDrive?

All of the dog photos — I really enjoy the Slack channels, which enable me to share my interests with others. And the people, too. There is a culture of getting to know those you work with, which increases empathy, drive and communication. 

What are some of your personal interests?

In my spare time, I enjoy mountain biking and walking with my dog and my husband. In the evenings, you will find me sewing, baking desserts or playing games online with my twin sister.  

What do you tell other people about HopSkipDrive?

I tell them it’s a great place to make a difference and excel with a team. 

What advice would you give to someone who may be interested in joining the HopSkipDrive team?

Coming from a large engineering department, I find there is opportunity here to take ownership and make change. I’d tell new or potential employees they can find something they feel passionate about to work on and ways to improve what they care about. 

Outside of feature development, I am passionate about web accessibility, team process, user experience and code quality/design.


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