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Meet Andrew Shield: The Fast Interview

Andrew Shield, senior software engineer at Fast

Andrew Shield

Role: Senior software engineer (contractor)

Team: Buttons and Checkout

What do you do at Fast?

I'm building out the user experience of Fast Checkout: from clicking the button, to order batching, to updating order details. Our team wants a seamless experience that just works without you having to think about it.

Describe your typical day here.

I’m back in New Zealand after seven years in London, so I’m a day ahead of my team. The time zone difference is perfect because I can collaborate in the morning and focus on coding in the afternoon; I also interview engineers applying to work here. Thanks to Fast Flex, I work remotely, so I’ll take breaks to play with my son.

Where did you grow up, and what were you like as a kid?

Christchurch, New Zealand. I was really into skateboarding and snowboarding. I was also the family computer fix-it kid (still am), which got me into computers. I’d play the floppy disk games.

What led you to engineering?

I have a degree in business and marketing, but one of my first jobs out of university was technical support at Xero, so I worked closely with developers. Watching them create magic from a keyboard led me to ask questions; they started teaching me, and soon I began building websites for fun and knowledge-building in front- and backend. Later, I moved into a frontend development role there.

Where were you before Fast?

I built the ordering system and data visualization for a healthtech startup. I was the first engineer and second employee, building a lot of the tech stack from the ground up. I learned a lot of ins and outs, which was so exciting. 

Why did you say yes to Fast?

I was tired of typing in my details or losing a purchase because I didn’t want to go find my credit card. I was wondering how we could improve the checkout experience in New Zealand when I came across Fast and saw they were hiring all over the world. The buzz around the company online was intoxicating and something I really wanted to be a part of.

What’s something you’ve found at Fast that really stands out?

Our engineering, product, and design teams are so collaborative and empathetic to the buyer’s problem when shopping online. We're also the users, and we care about our users.

What are Fast engineers doing that catches your eye?

We have a strong willingness to help. We don’t just say, I don't know and leave it to you. We all have ownership of this problem we’re solving, and doing it as a team.

What food or drink is always at your desk?

Coffee, even after it gets very cold. And a bottle of water. 

What's something you regularly do, but you know you shouldn't?

I eat a lot of snacks, candy, and biscuits. I have a bad sweet tooth.

Morning person or night owl?

I used to be a night owl, but having a baby makes me a morning person as well.

What’s your favorite thing about being an engineer?

Creating something from nothing. A blank canvas can be intimidating, but there’s something thrilling in engineering when you start throwing things on there and seeing what pans out. In frontend, you can get visual feedback response immediately in the browser. 

Also, the ability to reach everyone in the world with what we’re building: it’s out there as soon as you push a button. That’s incredibly satisfying.

Your non-negotiables for life?

Spending time with family is my top priority, especially with my son being so little - I don't want to miss a moment!

One thing about you that is always and forever true.

I’ll always be willing to help, and empathetic to people’s problems. 

Where can we follow you?

LinkedIn

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