Get to know Propeller’s world-class team in our ongoing employee spotlight. Today, we talk to Mahsa Bayat, who serves as a product designer on the engineering team. Mahsa is based in Sydney.
What do you do at Propeller?
I’m currently a product designer, and I work on the visualizer delivery team. When I joined in February 2018, I joined as a QA engineer. At the time, I was working part-time because I was going to uni, doing my thesis. I graduated in late 2018, and became a front-end engineer. Recently, I was promoted to the role of product designer.
What’s the most interesting project you’ve worked on so far?
There are a few, but I think my most recent favorite would have to be design folders. It didn’t occur to me that people were struggling with the current means of organization. Basically, this project is about creating a way for our customers to organize their uploaded design files.
I never thought this was a problem because the sites I usually interact with only have five or six files, but our product team pointed out that there’s sites with tens and tens of design files. It’s a simple concept, but it’s been adopted really well.
How did you become a product designer? What’s your career background?
There’s not much to it. I studied software engineering at the University of Sydney. In my last year at uni, I started working here. My brother’s the one who got me into programming.
When I was in high school, I had no idea what I wanted to do when I grew up. I was good at math a little bit. All of my subjects included math or physics, and for some reason I wanted to study chemical engineering, but I’m really glad I didn’t.
There were times when I questioned why I listened to him. I thought, “he doesn’t know me, how could he tell me I would be good at this?” Now that it’s been a year since I’ve been working in the industry, I feel like it’s the right decision.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Tehran, the capital of Iran. I lived there most of my life and only moved to Sydney in 2016.
Two of my siblings were already here. Ever since the first of the three of us moved over to Sydney, we all made it our family goal to get together again. I’m really close with my mom, my sister, and brother, so eventually we all ended up in Sydney.
I think the best part of Sydney is the weather. It snowed in Iran occasionally, but I don’t like cold weather very much. In Australia, it’s mostly sunny, and you can go to the beach.
Before becoming a product designer at Propeller, what’s the strangest or most interesting job you’ve held?
In my country, it’s not really the culture to work at a young age. I started working when I finished high school as an after-hours English-as-a-second-language teacher at a primary school.
I worked with kids from seven to nine years old. They’re very difficult to manage in the classroom. If they love you, they really love you, though. If they see you on the street, they’re not ashamed or embarrassed to yell your name and give you a hug. It was a fun job. It increased my tolerance a good bit.
Any talents, secret superpowers, or fun facts about yourself to share?
This is going to sound silly, but I can tell if someone’s had a haircut within seconds of seeing them. For girls, if we get a haircut or change something about our hair, it’s very obvious. But for guys, it’s not that easy to notice. I would say it’s an eye for detail.
There’s this thing in my culture where, as they’re about to cut your hair, they say, “congratulations.” Every time I see that someone’s had a haircut, I go up and congratulate them.
What’s your favorite Propeller memory?
Thailand, for sure. It was the first time I traveled without my family. I didn’t know half the people there, especially all the sales and marketing people from Denver.
I’d been with Propeller for sixth months exactly when we want on the company retreat. We were there for seven days, and every day you had workshops planned throughout the day. It was all a vacation-work sort of thing.
But on Thursday, we had a big dinner party. Everyone was jumping in the pool and having fun.
Do you have an office nickname? If so, what is it and how did you get it?
I’ve got plenty. One is “Masha” and I absolutely hate it. People see the S and the H in my name, but they don’t pay attention to which one comes before the other.
I have a joint name with one of the girls I work with closely. Jes and I call each other “Mes.” It’s an easy way of referring to ourselves when we’re assigned to the same thing.
What’s your favorite Slack emoji and why?
Party parrots. There’s one party parrot for every occasion. Amongst those, the ultra-fast one is my favorite.
What’s one thing you wish people understood better about your job or Propeller as a whole?
In my team, there’s a diverse range of things you can work on. For example next month, I’ll be interning with another team at Propeller, working on projects that are very different from my day-to-day tasks as a product designer.
Want to join our team? We’re hiring!