people-focused developer & designer

Elena Czubiak Profile Photo

I create web experiences that are thoughtfully designed for everyone involved—from intuitive interfaces for users, easy-to-read code for teammates, and clear priorities for business managers.

My primary project is  my app Imaginarie, but I’m also available for freelance work. In my previous career, I worked at Google solving user issues with empathy, communication, and gorgeous spreadsheets.

I’m based in beautiful Berkeley, CA where you can find me adding to my fun fact repertoire with a constant stream of podcasts and cooking over-complicated dinners.

favorite tools






5 signs you should quit your job & become a developer

  1. Your spreadsheets are your creative outlet, and the highlight of your day is getting a particularly fancy formula to work.
  2. You manage to make it your job to work with engineers to improve your team’s primary tool, instead of just using it like everyone else.
  3. You read about why so many women choose not to study computer science and think “Damn, that’s me.”
  4. You remember that in high school you loved math, won a web design award, and continued to make websites in college.
  5. You spend the year learning to code and take a sabbatical to do Hack Reactor’s Software Engineering Immersive program where you learn “I’m good at this…”

That’s where I was in the Spring of 2018—newly-promoted with another department-wide project to manage, but also a whole new technical skillset and a big decision to make.

During my six and a half years at Google, I worked on products I love, helped millions of users, and had the best teammates. Reflecting on my career, I knew my past experiences gave me unique insights and skills that I would be able to take to my new career. For example:

  • As a Program Manager leading the strategy for a new type of support—making sure the Google Assistant could answer support questions about itself—I weighed technology and process trade-offs, planned for future scalability while making sure we experimented and iterated based on data, and worked cross-functionally with multiple teams and engineers.
  • After facilitating over 40 hours of usability testing, and observing over 200 hours of participants using Google products, I learned that it doesn’t matter how “tech-savvy” a user is, everyone prefers to use products that are more obvious and simple than subtle and clever.
  • When I was a help writer for products like Gmail and Android, my job was to take complicated concepts and make them as simple as possible for the widest audience imaginable (my articles have been read hundreds of millions of times in 44 languages). Writing code often feels like the same process.

In the end, it wasn’t really a hard decision. Programming lets me use my imagination, problem-solving obsession, and fascination with people in ways that I still find thrilling. Since taking the leap to work for myself, I’ve gotten to work on interesting freelance projects, build my own products, and travel to a few continents!