An Interview with Nicole Cornelson, Adobe’s Director of Engineering

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When Nicole Cornelson joined Magento in Austin, Texas, she was joining right in the middle of Adobe’s acquisition of the Ecommerce company. Some people would be turned away by the uncertainty of such a big acquisition, after all, Nicole had worked for large tech companies in the past and she was looking for something more close knit and dynamic. But after learning more about the opportunity and Adobe’s mission, she was impressed.

Today, through her role as a Director of Engineering for the Digital Experience organization, Nicole leads a team of software engineers, data architects, and data scientists dedicated to building high value products for customers and contributing to Magento’s Open Source community. We took a moment to hear about Nicole’s experience and what kind of candidates she needs for her growing team.

I see that you joined Adobe through the Magento acquisition. Can you tell me how that experience was like for you?

I actually joined Magento two weeks before the acquisition closed. When I found out it was part of the opportunity, I was excited. Here in Austin, there are a handful of large tech companies with engineering teams, but Adobe wasn’t here yet. I’ve worked with large tech companies before, and Adobe just seemed to have a different profile—it was people focused and how work was done. I was impressed by that. Once the acquisition closed, I was surprised by how fast the integration and growth was.

What makes your role and team unique?

For me, the opportunity is unique in the sense that there’s good structure but also a lot of autonomy. There’s a lot of flexibility to make decisions, and there are more guide rails instead of walls. Even more so, Magento is known for its flexibility. We have widely diverse customers—from Coca-Cola to Sugarfina. And we help them all with a tailored Ecommerce experience.

For those interested in joining the team, what are some of the skills you’re looking for in ideal candidates?

In the data space you need some special skills. That being said, the key is computer science fundamentals. Make sure you don’t skip the fundamentals, regardless of how many years of experience you have. We want to see how you’ve used your experience over the years or find folks who have aced their classes, so that teaching is easier to do. From there, we can focus on specialization once you have a solid foundation. If you’re really trying to hire for the future of your organization you need really good fundamentals. That’s important.

If you could tell your younger self career advice, what would it be?

I think I could have done better in listening and adapting. The skill I’ve leveraged a lot recently is adaptability. It’s more useful to have an open mind rather than a closed mind. I have always been fortunate enough to have great mentors.

Interested in joining the team? Apply today on our career site!

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