Maya Kumits, Engineering Manager & Spiritual Warrior
What I Do
Whether I’m estimating scope or building out requirements, architecting a solution or even laying down the code myself, I do whatever it takes to keep our engineering projects on track and our clients happy.
engineering | product management | developer
In a landscape where devices outnumber people, I’m helping AAA create next-generation home security and maintenance services centered around the people that will use them.
How I Work
I've been working remotely for about 8 years now and can really work anywhere. Sit me down with a laptop and I will stay there for hours. Especially at home where it’s all creature comforts and no distractions. I have a lot of work stations in my apartment that I rotate between depending on my mood. I’ll work at a desk in my bedroom, on the couch when I want a cushy seat, at the kitchen bar (aka my standing desk), or at my bicycle desk (yes, I own a bicycle desk).
Part of the appeal of working remotely is the ability to see my kids when they come home from school. Instead of water-cooler talk, I get to catch up with them about their days. And then they pull out their homework and we get to work side by side.
My Product Stack
I use Jira to track tickets and transparently see what state a project is in at any given moment. I like it because it natively supports my preferred software methodology: agile. It’s also highly customizable and it’s the de facto standard, which makes it easy to onboard developers and customers onto my projects.
I use Hangouts Meet for meetings. It lets us screen-share so that we all see the same thing (such as the Jira Board for our daily Stand-ups), which makes us feel like we’re in the same room together.
I use Slack for messaging to communicate with my colleagues throughout the day. I have channels for each team and prefer to have most project-related discussions in the channels so that everyone is informed. To keep the signal to noise ratio high, I will occasionally message someone directly if I don’t feel the discussion adds value to the entire team.
Other tools that I use regularly are Sketch for creating diagrams, Skitch for screen capturing, Mac Notes for...taking notes, Postman for working with APIs, and Chrome Dev Tools for building websites.
I also use an IDE, a DB client, and source control on a regular basis. These can vary by project and tech stack. Some favorites are git/GitHub, IntelliJ Idea, Wing IDE, Android Studio, Navicat, Atom.
When I’m not working
For years, I’ve had a daily meditation practice. I couldn't do what I do without it. It helps me be present, centered, and productive. I'm such a fan of meditation, that years ago, I became a teacher and opened a Vedic Meditation studio in SoHo called The Spring Meditation. It's too good not to share with others! The best part is, once you learn the simple technique, you can do it on your own anywhere, any time - no apps or teachers necessary.
I’m rock climbing
Since I was a kid I remember loving to climb things and being up high. Rock climbing makes me feel like a kid again!
It’s also the only sport that is as mentally demanding as it is physically demanding. Most sports have a mental component to them, but this one has you facing an innate human fear on a regular basis - fear of falling. I love the challenge of keeping a cool head while climbing and not letting fear stop me while balancing that with the risks of climbing.
I enjoy puzzling out moves and stringing them together. I love the sense of accomplishment I get when I try something that seems impossible, then “send it” after working on it.
There are endless ways to grow and improve as a climber. I could do this for the rest of my life and never get bored.
Maya on the sharp end
I dance, I draw, I do Aerial silks, I practice inversions, but lately, climbing has been my primary hobby. As a kid I was a competitive gymnast, in high school I was captain of my swim team, as a teen I was a competitive ballroom dancer. I’m also a yogi and a yoga teacher but I don’t teach often, by choice, and don’t advertise that because if one more person tells me I don’t look like a software engineer but I look like a yoga teacher….grrrr :)
What’s in my backpack
Laptop, laptop charger, iPhone, iPhone charger, Moleskin Cahier Journal unlined, Pentel Arts Hybrid Technica .5 mm, Buxom Lip Gloss, laptop case that looks like an old school boom box, AirPods, almonds.
Books that have mattered to me
There are many books that I love, but I only consider one book life-slash-career changing. That book was Refactoring by Martin Fowler. I was lucky to read it early in my career. The book completely changed the way I thought about code and coding. My education at The School of Engineering and Applied Science at Columbia University was great, but this book taught me some of the most valuable lessons about building software. Martin Fowler recently released a 2nd edition and I had the pleasure of meeting him and getting a signed copy 🤩
Podcasts I’m listening to
I don’t listen to too many podcasts because I can’t listen while I’m working and I don’t have a commute :) When I do listen, I’ll usually play
- Death, Sex, & Money with Anna Sale or Modern Love because I love stories on those topics
- Enormocast because I love all things climbing
- Akimbo because Seth Godin is brilliant