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Meet Sean Cady: The Fast Interview

Sean Cady, staff engineer at Fast, with his cats Simba and Dublin

Name: Sean Cady

Role: Staff Engineer

Team: Buttons

What do you do at Fast?  
I work on the frontend team building out our awesome checkout.

Describe your typical day at Fast. 

I’m based on the East Coast, so I start my day around 8 a.m. I normally start with catching up on what happened outside my hours, then reviewing pending pull requests. After that, I dig into coding. After lunch I have most of my meetings, so I grab my computer and hang out on my deck with my cats for those.

What led you to engineering?  

I am a hands-on person and love to build things. In high school, I worked in our tech department building and fixing computers, and ran the school website. (Fun fact: I recently found an old copy on a CD-R. I can report my coding skills have greatly improved.) 

Where were you before Fast? 
The Hartford Insurance Group and General Electric.

Why did you say yes to Fast? 

When former colleague Dan Carter posted about Fast – and that I didn’t have to relocate – I was interested. Learning about the team and a great interview process sold me on Fast.

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

I grew up in Connecticut. I was a Boy Scout and spent a great deal of time riding my mountain bike. I think I was a pretty decent kid.

What are Fast engineers doing that stands out?

I really enjoy learning from other engineers. I appreciate the feedback on pull requests, design sessions, and our ability to balance a good versus perfect solution. I am also thankful for the trust given to us to get the job done without extreme oversight.

I appreciate the willingness of everyone to jump into a problem and solve it. We are given a lot of latitude to prioritize our work. Sometimes that means you get pulled into something else, or are calling people in to help you. At the end of the day you are making Fast Checkout better.

How is your desk set up?

I have two! One for personal and one for work. This helps me separate work and life. My work setup is one monitor and an adjustable height desk, where I stand most of the time.

Proudest moment as an engineer?

I wrote a notification service at a previous employer. The first time I ran it and it worked at scale was wild. I learned a lot of scaling, reliability, and debugging.

Favorite thing about being an engineer?

I love being given a problem, the constraints, and solving that problem. It provides a great way to learn new ways to do things, while knowing the end goal and driving toward that.

Morning person or night owl?

More of a morning person now. I coach a 6 a.m. CrossFit class. Between that and my cats waking me up at 5 a.m. most days, I am up doing something before 7 a.m. every day.  That said, my most productive period is generally 2–8 p.m.

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

I check Slack outside my normal working hours.

Your non-negotiables for life?
If you are not learning, improving, or enjoying, it is not worth your time.

One thing about you that has been and will always be true?

I will keep taking on projects outside my skill set, make mistakes, take three times longer than it should, and be glad I did it.

What advice would you, the engineer today, give the you first starting out?

People skills matter more than you think. We don’t work and live on a personal island of choice and impact. Your ability to influence others and understand the impact your choice makes on them can be more important than the engineering solution.

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