Priscila Heller is an Enterprise Support Engineer at GitHub, working to empower and support our enterprise customers and their system administrators. @talktopri is her GitHub handle and when she is not helping organize events for Girl Develop It, you’ll find her studying programming to better understand developers and doing CrossFit because like she says, “The mind is always busy while at work, so we need something to keep the body going too”.
Hi @talktopri, what's the most rewarding part of your day to day work?
For me [it's] when I am able to help a challenging customer, I deal with very experienced administrators and sometimes [it's] hard for them to accept my help. I practice keeping an open mind and being especially caring when this happens, working with the customer closely to help them understand that I want to help them fix their problem. It’s great when you are able to find a solution.
Do you recall a particular challenging support experience that you’ve faced, and how did you work with them?
I had a customer who was very frustrated and not very open to receiving our help, we exchanged many email messages to which they’d replied very bluntly and [were unwilling] to try our suggestions. I took many deep breaths and reached out to my manager to suggest other ways we could reach this customer. I then ended up doing a two-hour call and screen share. In the end, I was able to get through their wall, helped them fix the problem, and the customer was in a much better mood when we finished ... [they] even wished me a “good week”.
What would you like your customers to know that you might not always be able to convey during a support call/email?
That we truly, truly care; you are not just a number to us and everyone in my team wants our customers to have peace of mind. It is a team effort - although I might be the engineer assigned to their ticket there are many hands in the background looking for solutions and at the ways that we can prevent this issue from happening again to any customer.
GitHub is a very unique place to work. What would you say was the most surprising thing you experienced as a new Hubber?
How much my team was willing to help. I’ve had experience in support but was not extremely experienced in Linux. When I came on board my team really helped out, they made me feel like “I wasn’t rowing alone”. They all came together to guide me, though we work remotely and distributed we really work together.
If you could have any job in the world other than Enterprise Support Engineer, what do you think you'd like to do?
I’d open a daycare. I love kids, working with children is very challenging but rewarding. When I first moved to the US it was my first job and I loved the experience. You have such an amazing opportunity to help them grow.
What's your favorite new technology?
Whoop ... a smartwatch that syncs up your workouts, it scans your body and gives you feedback on recovery times, lets you know how much water you should intake, really helps you understand your body. They are pricey but I think worth it. Soon, I’ll buy one.
Who is your favorite superhero?
Mario. As a child, [I] used to play Super Mario Brothers with my brother, and it is still my favorite. I have a big collection of Mario figurines by my desk. I loved the fact that it was him and his brother, Luigi, in the game, reminds me of me and my brother.
Do you think Super Mario could do your job?
No way! I think he’d be bored sitting in front of the computer not having anything to jump over. Mario would prefer a job that is a lot more physically active.
What's the best and worst advice you've ever received?
Best advice, I’d say is actually two pieces of advice from my uncle:
To be kind. You never know what the other person is going through, so always leave them with a word that would not hurt them. This advice has helped me a lot working in support, being empathetic and being kind goes hand to hand, understanding that nothing is personal and sometimes people are just going through a lot.
Another good [piece of] advice was to always save 30% of your salary when you have a salary that allows you to save.
Worst advice was to play it safe. Moving to the US from Brazil was a big risk, I like taking chances, I miss my family but I have no regrets. I’m living the life that I’ve chosen.
If one of our readers is considering a career in Enterprise Support Engineering what advice would you have for them?
To work in support you need two sets of skills, soft and technical. You must be personable. Soft skills are hard to learn but you can practice them every day by being nice to people. And of course technical skills, definitely learn Linux and Git.
Are there any other activities you are involved with that you enjoy and would like to share?
I’ve been volunteering with Girl Develop It, a global organization providing accessible web and software development education for adult women, and it has been a very rewarding experience to help facilitate real hands-on learning.
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