rita garcia interview
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rita garcia interview
BY: ADMIN | CATEGORIES: | TAG:

Meet Rita Garcia, RSP’s Senior Infrastructure Engineer.

RSP’s Senior Infrastructure Engineer Wants to Improve Workflow and Empower Artists

Rita Garcia joined Rising Sun Pictures last year as Senior Infrastructure Engineer. She previously held a similar position at Weta Digital for four years and was extremely successful, not only in streamlining workflows but in enabling people to work more productively, collaboratively and creatively.

Rita grew up in Texas and received her undergraduate education at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. She earned her Master of Science degree in Computer Science at the University of California, Santa Cruz before beginning her career with Pixar in 2003. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Adelaide focusing on computer science education.
She recently spoke about her career and what she hopes to accomplish at RSP.

Tell us something about your responsibilities at RSP.

RSP was looking for a software engineer, a release engineer, and a DevOps engineer. I’ve done all those things formally or informally, and I was excited about the chance to combine all three in one position. A release engineer is someone who is detail oriented and has bulldog skills in making sure things are working for people and not wasting their time. A DevOps engineer is someone who is responsible for the general health of the network, for monitoring certain systems and ensuring everything is alive and well. My role spans all those areas. For example, in my DevOps role, I might spot a tool that needs a little TLC and then, in my capacity as a software engineer, I can jump in and optimize the performance.

How did you get your start as an engineer?

I’m originally from Texas, but I’ve totally lost that accent. I went to Wisconsin for my undergrad—the snow was a bit of a shock—and then graduate school in Santa Cruz. That’s a really good school for software engineers. They get students prepared for working in industry. That’s how I got a gig with Pixar. I did a year-long internship doing quality assurance. When I graduated, they were looking for a release engineer and my mentor at the time, Jeremy Holland, who is now at Apple, brought me over. I had wanted to go into teaching but Arnold Schwarzenegger cut university funding and teaching positions dried up. I worked at Pixar for seven years.

What happened then?

I felt that I’d done my work there. The workflow had improved and I was pretty pleased with how we had gotten people talking to each other more. So, I rode off into the sunset. I took a year off and traveled. Then I landed in New Zealand at Weta. There, I was more focused on release engineering. Most businesses have just one release tool, but when I arrived at Weta they had five or six doing various things. The software was going all over the place. By the time I left, we had deprecated most of them and most departments were on a new system that I brought in. So I felt I made an impact.

You take a lot of satisfaction in your job.

It’s definitely a culture-change position. I like to watch people work and think about how to do things better. I want people to think of long term interests and not just “How do I get this built and out to production?” I want them to push boundaries and the only way to do that is to simplify the process of getting software from A to B. You want to make it as easy as possible to get information out to people so they can ramp up quickly and start doing things on their own.

Are there many women in software engineering roles?

A lot of build engineers are women. One of my mentors at Pixar was a woman. I hired a woman as a junior release engineer at Weta. It is a multi-tasking role. You are the contact switch between one problem and another. It requires patience. It is a thankless job, but it’s one that alleviates problems. That may be why women gravitate toward it. Maybe we just know that it’s a job that has to get done and we volunteer.

What do you hope to accomplish at RSP?

There is always room for quality improvement. I want to streamline the workflow and help people get software out faster. I want to put systems in place that will give production the confidence to move onto the newest software without fear of it breaking or having to roll back to a previous version. I want to encourage people to try new things, because when people are doing new things they are more excited about coming to work.

Meet Rita Garcia, RSP’s Senior Infrastructure Engineer.

RSP’s Senior Infrastructure Engineer Wants to Improve Workflow and Empower Artists

Rita Garcia joined Rising Sun Pictures last year as Senior Infrastructure Engineer. She previously held a similar position at Weta Digital for four years and was extremely successful, not only in streamlining workflows but in enabling people to work more productively, collaboratively and creatively.

Rita grew up in Texas and received her undergraduate education at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. She earned her Master of Science degree in Computer Science at the University of California, Santa Cruz before beginning her career with Pixar in 2003. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Adelaide focusing on computer science education.
She recently spoke about her career and what she hopes to accomplish at RSP.

Tell us something about your responsibilities at RSP.

RSP was looking for a software engineer, a release engineer, and a DevOps engineer. I’ve done all those things formally or informally, and I was excited about the chance to combine all three in one position. A release engineer is someone who is detail oriented and has bulldog skills in making sure things are working for people and not wasting their time. A DevOps engineer is someone who is responsible for the general health of the network, for monitoring certain systems and ensuring everything is alive and well. My role spans all those areas. For example, in my DevOps role, I might spot a tool that needs a little TLC and then, in my capacity as a software engineer, I can jump in and optimize the performance.

How did you get your start as an engineer?

I’m originally from Texas, but I’ve totally lost that accent. I went to Wisconsin for my undergrad—the snow was a bit of a shock—and then graduate school in Santa Cruz. That’s a really good school for software engineers. They get students prepared for working in industry. That’s how I got a gig with Pixar. I did a year-long internship doing quality assurance. When I graduated, they were looking for a release engineer and my mentor at the time, Jeremy Holland, who is now at Apple, brought me over. I had wanted to go into teaching but Arnold Schwarzenegger cut university funding and teaching positions dried up. I worked at Pixar for seven years.

What happened then?

I felt that I’d done my work there. The workflow had improved and I was pretty pleased with how we had gotten people talking to each other more. So, I rode off into the sunset. I took a year off and traveled. Then I landed in New Zealand at Weta. There, I was more focused on release engineering. Most businesses have just one release tool, but when I arrived at Weta they had five or six doing various things. The software was going all over the place. By the time I left, we had deprecated most of them and most departments were on a new system that I brought in. So I felt I made an impact.

You take a lot of satisfaction in your job.

It’s definitely a culture-change position. I like to watch people work and think about how to do things better. I want people to think of long term interests and not just “How do I get this built and out to production?” I want them to push boundaries and the only way to do that is to simplify the process of getting software from A to B. You want to make it as easy as possible to get information out to people so they can ramp up quickly and start doing things on their own.

Are there many women in software engineering roles?

A lot of build engineers are women. One of my mentors at Pixar was a woman. I hired a woman as a junior release engineer at Weta. It is a multi-tasking role. You are the contact switch between one problem and another. It requires patience. It is a thankless job, but it’s one that alleviates problems. That may be why women gravitate toward it. Maybe we just know that it’s a job that has to get done and we volunteer.

What do you hope to accomplish at RSP?

There is always room for quality improvement. I want to streamline the workflow and help people get software out faster. I want to put systems in place that will give production the confidence to move onto the newest software without fear of it breaking or having to roll back to a previous version. I want to encourage people to try new things, because when people are doing new things they are more excited about coming to work.



RSP sent a balloon 40km into the atmosphere for photographic reference for 'Gravity'.
Contact us:

Level 1, 180 Pulteney Street Adelaide, South Australia 5000 Australia

+61 8 8400 6400 vfxinfo@rsp.com.au

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Contact us:

Level 1, 180 Pulteney Street Adelaide, South Australia 5000 Australia

+61 8 8400 6400 vfxinfo@rsp.com.au

Sign up to our e-Newsletter
Follow Us On: