How I Work: Julie Bacon, engineering lead at The Washington Post - Technical.ly DC

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Feb. 26, 2020 8:38 am

How I Work: Julie Bacon, engineering lead at The Washington Post

In this series, we’ll take a look at the tools and tips the region’s founders and technologists use to get through the day. To kick it off, Bacon discusses how she tracks progress, and hydration.
Julie Bacon.

Julie Bacon.

This is Technical.ly’s How I Work series, where we take a look at the tools and tips the region’s founders and technologists use to get through the day. If you’d like to be a part of this series, email us.


Julie Bacon is an engineering lead at The Washington Post, where she has worked for two years.

As a technologist at the Franklin Square-based journalism stalwart that has transformed into a media and tech company over the last decade, her main responsibilities are  “making architecture decisions, providing technical direction for my teammates and working closely with stakeholders to solution design new features.”

This is how she works.

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Technical.ly: What’s one thing should folks know about your team?

Bacon: We take hydration very seriously. Several of us now have gallon water jugs and an ambitious goal to finish one per day. It’s super important to stay hydrated when you have back-to-back meetings or you’re in peak coding “flow state.”

In all seriousness, I get to work with a group of insanely talented individuals who ship great code, support one another and keep each other accountable. Including our water drinking goals💁‍♀️

What’s the first thing you do every day before doing any tech-related work?

Mornings are a sacred ritual for me to get in the right headspace before the craziness of the day settles in. I spend the first 15 minutes of the morning listening to a guided meditation using the Calm App. After I’ve set a tone for the day, I grab some coffee and take my dog Wolfgang for a walk in the park.

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How often do you check your email, and do you use any program to get to “Inbox Zero“?

I typically set aside a half hour first thing in the morning to tackle my inbox. I also get a lot of automated emails (everything from JavaScript error reporting to daily Analytics snapshots) that I have filtered into respective folders to keep my inbox organized.

For ongoing projects, how do you keep track of your progress?

We work in an agile environment with two-week sprints. Part of this process involves working closely with our Product Managers and Scrum Master to keep on top of things like project roadmaps and sprint goals. We regularly review what we’ve built and deployed, what is coming down the pipeline and how it aligns with our high-level goals.

As we ship new features, also it’s critical that we stay on top of our more technical objectives such as our performance, accessibility and SEO goals. We’re constantly monitoring key performance metrics, running regular accessibility audits and structured data tests.

When you need to take a break, what are you turning to?

I throw on a favorite album (“Signs of Light” by The Head & The Heart) and go for a walk.

Where do you turn for inspiration when you’re feeling low?

My fiancé and I are big hikers. Nothing helps replenish my energy like unplugging and getting outside. Once the temperatures start creeping up to the 50’s, you’ll find us heading out for a local hike at Scott’s Run or Great Falls.

What’s your gear?

Software: VS Code, Github, Slack, Calm App

Hardware: iPhone, Macbook, Apple Watch, Bose noise cancelling headphones, gallon water jug

What’s one time-saving tip you have?

Write down two or three goals for the day. There’s never a shortage of work to be done, but by focusing on a few realistic goals, it’s easier to block out distractions and focus on what’s important.

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