When I was first embarking on the software engineering path, I got asked by my friend’s daughter what I was studying to become. When I explained, she gave me a mystified look and said: “programmers sound like wizards and coding their superpower”. Her words continue to inspire me because although wizards and superpowers belong in fairy tales and superhero films, I like to look at little Ella’s words as a metaphor for the inventive process involved in what I do in my day to day.
What do Software Engineers do?
Simply put, software engineers create software applications and systems. It might sound monotonous, but there’s actually a lot of variety in the job, which is one of the things I love about it the most. In truth, no two days are exactly alike, which keeps things interesting.
What does your day-to-day look like?
I come into the office in central London’s Shoreditch area up to twice a week, working from home the rest of the time. This allows me to balance my personal life, but still feel connected to my team. I don’t begrudge the time I spend commuting, as I love to read while in transit and you can often see me arriving at my desk with a book in my hand.
Mid-morning my team gathers for a 30-minute daily status meeting, which gives everyone an opportunity to share the progress they made on their tasks and discuss any blockers they are currently facing. We generally try to avoid overloading our calendars with too many meetings, but this is an important one, as it allows us to keep track of the workload, and also promotes the exchange of ideas and visibility.
The lion’s share of my time is dedicated to project work. A wide range of tasks can fall into that category, starting with designing, developing and implementing solutions to problems, testing them, identifying and resolving issues (where detective skills can come in handy!), all the way to managing product deployments, performance monitoring, and maintaining documentation.
How do you work with others?
There are many different ways that we actively collaborate with our workmates, whether it’s asking for advice when tackling an ambiguous task, brainstorming ideas when problem-solving, getting feedback during design reviews, or joining forces with other teams on projects with a broader scope or requiring a cross-functional approach.
Code reviews help us maintain exceptionally high standards for the work we deliver. Before any change can be made available to end users, it is submitted for review by other members of the team. It’s a chance to get a fresh perspective, and to catch potential issues early, but it’s also a great learning opportunity for the submitter and reviewer alike, as we do learn the most from each other.
How do you relax?
Making time to pause, relax and socialize allows us to be creative, and stay focused and motivated. When I’m in the office I like to catch up with my teammates over lunch or a cup of coffee, unwind during a game of table tennis, or enjoy the picturesque view of the city from the terrace (which is particularly beautiful at sunset).
What motivates you?
Every day at Amazon is a challenge and a discovery, and I continuously find myself inspired to be better and to grow. For me personally, knowing that I’m contributing to an improved experience for millions of Prime Video customers around the globe is particularly motivating and meaningful.