Meet Ellen! 👋
Ellen is a Software Engineer in Vanta’s Engineering, Product, and Design org. She started at Vanta in April 2019.
Tell us about your role at Vanta.
I have done a lot with integrations for Vanta, like our version control integrations and our Azure integration. Right now I’m particularly interested in the work I’m doing to clean up some fundamentals — like planning out improvements to how we represent users in Vanta, or building the foundation for improved error handling across the integrations. I like to build new things while also making sure that what we’ve already built continues to work for our customers. :)
Every six weeks or so I’m also on a support on-call rotation, which means the Support Team refers customers to me for bugs. Half of Vanta engineers rotate on support on-call, and the other half rotate on infrastructure on-call. It’s fun since it’s more customer-facing than regular work — but not so customer-facing that I have to talk to strangers!
What made you realize this was the right career field for you?
I just really like programming! I learned how to code in high school. I grew up in Maryland and the state required a tech class to graduate. Our options were learning to use Microsoft Office, or learning C++. I thought Microsoft would’ve been boring (though ironically, I later took an internship there), so I chose coding. And I realized, This is actually really fun, and this could be a career path for me.
Why did you choose Vanta over other companies?
I chose Vanta based on a few factors. One was meeting Vanta founders Erik and Christina and seeing how they run the company. I was really impressed with how organized everything was. It was a tiny startup with fewer than 10 people, but it didn’t have that frantic startup energy. I wanted to work with people who can run a company that is so small and new, and still have it under control. I got this sense from Vanta, which made joining a tiny company less scary and more appealing.
I also liked everyone at the company! I thought, I would enjoy working with these people, and I want to work with these people. There was also a product market fit — what they were selling made sense, and there was a plan for expanding that made sense. Everything tracked very well.
What excites you about Vanta’s product?
The product market fit is key: it makes a lot of sense to have a tool that helps you keep track of all your security things — especially security things that may typically require more “steps for humans to take” or that leave room for error. It may not be as flashy as building other types of security tools but it is real, everyday work that is really important to our customers.
I also think it’s a neat mission to start with the SOC 2 market and then generalize into other compliance standards. We can also generalize into good security practices that aren’t linked to specific compliance standards. It just makes a lot of sense, and I like things to make sense! :)
What’s your favorite quarantine activity?
I live really close to Golden Gate Park, near the Rose Garden. Working from home, it’s very nice to be able to go outside, look at trees, and, in a way, satisfy my interest in being around people without actually coming within 20 feet. It’s especially nice now, because if I was working from the office, I wouldn’t have the daylight during the weekday to go to the park!