How do I solve the interview puzzles

Interview: Maria Hollweck: "Programming is like solving puzzles"

Maria Hollweck works as a programmer for Facebook in California. Born in Neumarkt, she spoke to us about her job

Maria Hollweck has been programming since she was 13 years old and is the founder of Girls Can Do IT. With this initiative, she is committed to ensuring that girls come into contact with IT at an early age and can learn to program.

With free workshops on programming basics and general information about IT professions, Maria Hollweck would like to arouse interest in IT among girls and young women.

In an interview, she tells us about her work at Facebook, her life in California and what experiences she had as a German programmer in America.

GEOlino: Do ​​you have a nice job?

Maria Hollweck: Of course! I work as a "software engineer", which is the English term for "programmer". With my job, I can get a taste of every industry and get to know and solve many different challenges. I really enjoy that!

As a programmer, I also help shape what you will see on your cell phone tomorrow or how you can use it. Sounds exciting, doesn't it?

How did you come up with the idea for this job?

Even as a child, I wanted to know how a computer works. Also, I started building my own website early on. I think the job is great because I can help many people in different situations. I face new technical challenges every day.

How did you get from Regensburg to California?

After leaving school, I decided to study computer science and went to New York for an academic year. From there, I applied for internships in Silicon Valley, California. Silicon Valley is, so to speak, the global capital for everything to do with computers and apps. That's how I found my job where I can let my creativity run free.

Because as a programmer you can not only work in pure software companies, but are in demand in many areas. Today, for example, the automotive industry also needs female programmers to work on the latest cars.

Have you always wanted to work on Facebook?

I can't answer that question at all. When I was younger and programmed for the first time, Facebook didn't even exist! If Facebook had already existed back then, it would certainly have been. I am allowed to solve new tasks every day, help billions of people around the world and connect them with one another.

I also work in a totally extraordinary office. We have lots of colors, art, couches, and free food and drinks everywhere. It's really fun to work here.

Do you deal with many different people in your job?

Oh yeah! Right now I'm working with people from all over the world. I regularly meet people from Brazil, Israel or China and many other countries. I learn something new about other cultures every day and I am happy to show a few people our German customs. Plus, it's fun when everyone speaks with a different accent!

Is it exciting to work in another country?

Yes very! Because here in sunny California people from all over the world come together. I can eat dishes from different countries and celebrate a variety of festivals. I share a lot of interests and hobbies with my friends here, even though they grew up on the other side of the world.

But sometimes I also get homesick. I especially miss my family and Germany at Christmas time. Then I'd like to just come home for a few hours. My friends and I then support each other because we all experience the same thing.

Do you have a role model?

My role model is Sheryl Sandberg, the CEO of Facebook. She runs the company together with Mark Zuckerberg. I admire her because she runs Facebook successfully and is raising two children at the same time. She also advocates more women's rights, which is also close to my heart.

Do you also use social networks a lot privately?

I am a very big fan of Instagram because in my spare time I am passionate about being a photographer. Instagram makes it super easy for me to share my photos with the world and to exchange ideas with other photographers. My friends in Germany are happy when they can see on their cell phones what my life is like in America.

Do you have any tips for dealing with Facebook & Co?

If you are at least 13 years old and want to open a Facebook account, it is best to do this together with your parents. So you can go through and discuss the privacy and account settings together. As everywhere on the Internet, it is of course important not to reveal your own password to anyone else.

In addition, you should always carefully consider whether and what you post and share with others and with whom you get in contact. By the way, until you are 18 you will be specially protected by Facebook. This means that strangers cannot send you friend requests and you will not be shown in the search.

Which skills are particularly important for a software developer?

As a programmer, you should of course have a basic interest in technology. In other words, you'll find it exciting how you can, for example, place funny animal filters over a photo or how self-driving cars work.

What I do all day can be compared to puzzle solving. It never gets boring because I can solve new challenges every day. My creativity and the many ideas that I try out help me with this. I design a large part of the apps myself and am allowed to act when we are looking for new ideas for products.

What would you recommend to children who are interested in this profession and want to get a taste of it?

Inquire about a course that gives you an introduction to programming. You can also borrow a book on app programming from the library. That's how I programmed my first website when I was 13.

At the age of 14 I also did a trial internship as a programmer. Today I am happy that I was able to turn my great passion into a job.

Thank you for the interview, Maria!