Role: Software Engineer
What do you do at Fast?
Our team rotates the projects we spearhead, so right now I’m working on adding caching to DynamoDB.
Describe your typical day at Fast.
I’m excited to start interviewing engineering candidates; that will eventually be part of my day. Until then, I have a standup in the morning and a few other meetings throughout the day, but our team is good at blocking off mornings for meetings so we have afternoons for focus time. We have a wide array of time zones, so it’s great how Adam (Oren, Engineering Manager, Catalog at Fast) manages us, so we can collaborate asynchronously and yet all be able to focus together.
Where did you grow up, and what were you like as a kid?
Maple Ridge, but we just say Vancouver, British Columbia, since it’s small. There’s not much to do but commute to Vancouver, so as a kid, I was a shut-in who played a lot of video games. I went into competitive e-sports when I got older and still compete today. I never disliked anyone in school and I’m looking forward to my 10-year reunion next year.
Why did you say yes to Fast?
Jonathan (Loewen, software engineer at Fast), Kai (Wai Zhen, software engineer at Fast), and I are long-time friends, so I learned from them about the Fast Flex policy, the work environment, and most importantly, the work itself. Also, Fast uses a tech stack I wanted to broaden my experience with.
Overall, Fast is a cool company doing great things in languages I wanted to get into with good people, working all over the world. And in talking with other engineers here, I knew I'd be happy.
What food or drink is always at your desk?
Today it’s a plant-based chicken sandwich. I’m a sparkling water person, and I have coffee in the mornings...and afternoons.
What are Fast engineers doing that stands out?
Everyone is incredibly willing to help. I never feel bad asking questions. It’s psychologically safe to raise your hand. We don’t struggle here. When you’re new, you wonder if you’re expected to know everything, but our work culture really does mean it when they say any question is legitimate.
And, I love how invested we are in tracking and optimizing our initiatives and projects to the tiniest detail. So, for example, when an endpoint is a half-second too slow for our liking, we have great tracking that allows us to optimize it right away.
Morning person or night owl?
Night owl, 100%.
Proudest moment as an engineer?
Building a messaging client. It improved the lives of those who used it by so much. I felt like my work was finally impacting people at that point.
What’s something you regularly do, but know you shouldn't?
Play the wrong video games. I’m semi-pro in Super Smash Bros., so I should be practicing that.
Your non-negotiables for life?
Try new things until you find what’s for you. Don’t worry about hating it; use the experience to make the next decision.
One thing about you that has been and will always be true?
When I think, “More people should do this thing,” then I try to also do that thing. That’s how I came to veganism, focusing on climate change, and becoming a minimalist...be the change you want to see.
Advice for other engineers wondering what to do next?
Make decisions based on who you want to be in the future. I wanted to grow, so rather than coasting on what I’d been doing and applying for comfortable jobs, I pivoted to another language and embraced the challenge. If you’re happy in one place forever, great. If not, great things await if you’re willing to go there.
Where can we follow you?