Were you interested in tech growing up?
It was something I was always somewhat interested in. I did a little bit of programming in high school, but it wasn’t something I had explored as a career path until later. One of the things I like about the tech industry is that they make it very open. You can always pivot in from pretty much anywhere you are in life, as long as you're willing to put in the time and try to learn.
What drew you to the tech industry?
I originally majored at Yale University back in the States in Economics and East Asian studies. While I was there, I focused a lot on finance and economy in Asia, specifically around China. I got the opportunity to do a finance internship in Hong Kong. What I discovered was that I really enjoyed the programming I got to do. When I came back from Hong Kong in my last year of university, I decided to focus a lot more on computer science and getting into the tech industry. That brought me to my first tech job.
I kept focusing on trying to learn more about the tech industry. I took night time classes at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in programming and computer science. I later joined and started to lead a part-time development team and I kept working on my development skills through that. After about five years there, I decided to really focus full-time on becoming a software developer.
I came to UCL in London to do a master's in software engineering. I had a really great time with that and did several interesting projects working with companies like Microsoft. At the end of that one year program, I decided to look for a tech job here in London, which brought me to Client Server. And I worked with you all to find a job and I'm now very, very happily working at a company called Trayport as a software developer.
Where do you see your career heading?
In the short term, I want to continue focusing on growing as a software engineer, learning, continuing to practice, continuing to build reliable code, and getting better at working as a team. So, chiming in more on code reviews, and helping out when there are critical incidents. I spent a lot of time in my old job managing people, I was a team lead and I'd like to get back into that in the longer term. Once I've established more of my technical skills and feel really strong and comfortable here, I would like to move back into helping coach others, leading others both through projects and their career.
Do you have a mentor?
Trayport assigned me a mentor on day one who showed me around, introduced me to everyone, and in the beginning when I was learning their tech stack would constantly be checking in with me, and walk me through some of the more complicated stories he was tackling. I also have a team lead who I meet with at least once a week who does more long-term planning. Trayport has been really, really good for that.
What’s one of the biggest lessons you’ve learned in your career so far?
One of the biggest lessons for me was learning to proactively reach out and ask people to sit down and talk through things with you and work side by side with them. I really enjoy looking in and trying to research a topic myself, but there is nothing quite like sitting down next to someone who really understands in detail and having the chance to bounce ideas off each other. If you're at a great place, which is what you should be looking for, those people will be excited to teach you and want to help coach you as well. It's really about putting in the time to learn the material yourself and get some questions and sit down to get those questions answered.
Do you have any side projects that you’re working on?
It's not so much outside of work, but Trayport has facilitated a communal book tech reading group. Once every couple of weeks we go through different chapters in this book called C# in Depth. We're tackling topics at a more advanced level. They encourage you to practice these skills and read up and discuss them with your work peers. Continuing to dive in and build my expertise in C# is something I'm working on right now and I appreciate that Trayport is making time for that within my job.
How did you find your job search?
I found Client Server when I was applying for jobs on LinkedIn. I was applying for a role with Python, but Libby was proactively reviewing my resume and noticed that I had a strong C# background. She contacted me, and said, "Hey, I realized you originally applied for a Python job but I've got several opportunities I think you could be a really good fit for". We talked through a couple of things. She listened to my preferences in industry. I told her that I really was primarily interested in C# and we took it from there. And it was a very, very good experience. She quickly lined up several interviews. I got very detailed descriptions of the job openings, what people were looking for, what the company was like, to help me prepare for those initial interviews. And then after each interview, she would give me feedback, give any coaching on what to do for the next interviews either at that company or with others. She was always calling to check up on how I did after each interview, which was really nice to have. I had a very, very positive experience.