Sandrina Pereira — Meet the Mentor

Published Feb. 7, 2019

MentorCruise wouldn’t be anything without our amazing mentors. In the ‘Meet the Mentors’ series we talk to the people behind MentorCruise about their experiences and passions. Today, we are talking to Sandrina Pereira, a UI Engineer with a love for Design.

Sandrina Pereira — Meet the Mentor

Hey Sandrina! Before we get started, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Hi there! Thank you for this opportunity and being a part of the MentorCruise community.

I’m a frontend developer with an eternal affair with the design world. I have a background in design but what I love the most is to code. I’m a web lover and I really enjoy helping turn ideas into accessible products. Currently I’m doing that at Farfetch as a Senior UI Enginner.

I’m that kind of person that just can’t stay away from the keyboard for too long. During free time I’m constantly exploring stuff and pushing pixels around to create new user human experiences through interaction. When I’m away from the computer’s keyboard, I switch to other types of keyboards, mainly to play piano or video games.

Over the years, you have worked on several different exciting projects and have collected a lot of experience. How did you get started? How did you get your first job?

I started messing around in the web at 12 when I got my first computer. Back then I had no idea what “frontend” or “digital design” meant. I was just a kid that genuinely had fun experimenting with Photoshop and tweaking blog themes with code snippets that I found along the way. That was one of my favorite hobbies for sure.

After finishing my degree in Communication Design, I started looking for my first “real job” — frontend jobs and designer jobs — I always got the same question from the recruiters: “Do you prefer design or frontend development?”. That’s an unfair question. What do you mean by what do I prefer? It’s exactly in that mix of fields that I feel comfortable. Both need to coexist, so something immersive can be created.

Still, at the end of the day I had to pick a side. The first door to open was a UI Designer role. I couldn’t code and rarely interacted with the developers, so I felt like I had no power. That was the moment I decided I wanted to become a frontend developer. It took me a few months to re-build my portfolio from scratch and get a job as a “web designer” doing both design and development at the same time. There, I discovered how frontend was an endless world of experiences with room for a lot of improvement. From there on I never left the code editor and always kept a close relationship with the designers. On my side projects, I always kept an eye out for design experiments, so I could keep the flame alive.

What would you say is your biggest success so far?

Today I’m grateful for being able to make a living based on my teenager hobby. It doesn’t feel like work for me most of the times and that’s a great feeling at the end of the day. I never get bored of learning and I love to help other people. Because of that, last year I started providing trainings about how to test Javascript applications. It was a great experience being in front of a bunch of people having real conversations and helping to solve problems even if they weren’t my own problems. That’s kind ironic because I’m an introverted person, so that’s a big thing for me. At the moment I’m preparing more workshops about Web Accessibility and collaboration between designers and developers.

What are you currently working on at Farfetch?

I spend my days helping multiple teams to build maintainable React applications. When I’m coding, probably I’m doing pair programming or code reviews as a way of mentoring. Meanwhile I keep a close relationship with the design teams so we can together ship our core components following our patterns and guidelines with accessibility and performance in mind. It’s been an incridible journey that excites me everyday!

You are an advocate and expert in accessibility. Why is this so important to you?

Well… the question here should be “Why it isn’t important to everyone else?”. I think the answer to that is simply because most people are not aware of it. I don’t blame them. We still live in a society that doesn’t care much about minorities and that sucks. I love the web for being this unique immersive place of multiple communities where we can share ideas. But what’s the point of sharing something if it’s not accessible?

We, as designers and developers, are the last barrier before something goes online, so it’s our duty to make it right. As individuals, we should do our part and spread the word until accessibility becomes one of our main priorities. The web is the most awesome thing we have and everyone should be able to enjoy it. Most people think that making a website accessible is hard. Well, that’s a myth. Here are some first steps as a designer or as a developer for you to start with.

Now that you are a mentor — who would you like to mentor? What is your desired mentee like?

I would love to mentor someone that wants to make the web a more inclusive place. Someone who wants to build a solution that will have a positive impact on the person that’s on the other side of the screen, that person being another developer or a user. Web development is not just about you and me, it’s about everyone and sharing is what makes us better.

Anything you would like to tell us?

For those who are reading this… don’t be overwhelmed by all the stuff out there. Don’t worry about what’s the perfect thing to start something. Just start it. Be ambitious but pacient. And don’t forget to have fun during the journey! You can find me tweeting ideas at @a_sandrina_p and you can also reach me by email at [email protected]. Feel free to do it, I’d would love to hear your next idea for a side project!