A Day in The Life: Cindy Xu, Senior Software Developer at Varicent

1. Describe your journey to Varicent; What work did you pick and why ?

Before joining Varicent, my background was in mechanical engineering within the oil and gas industry. Varicent was my first step into the tech industry after I had decided to pivot my career towards software development. I really enjoy coding and doing technical work so joining as a backend developer on the Symon (now ELT) team seemed like a great fit for me.

2. Describe a typical day in your role? 

The typical day starts with a short stand-up meeting where the team would discuss progress on tasks and raise any blockers. After stand-up, I'd put on a spotify playlist and start coding out whichever feature was assigned to me at the time. Usually I can get in a few hours of uninterrupted focus time before lunch. Occasionally, there may be a short meeting with the product owners or other developers to discuss the feature if there are things to be clarified. In the afternoon, i'd continue writing code and end with doing some testing on what i've written so far.

3. Tell us about a challenge that you’re working to solve right now? 

Rather than one big challenge, my day typically consists of solving a bunch of small challenges. For example, right now i'm working on a feature that involves taking two datasets and outputting a summary of the differences between the two. There can be multiple different ways to do this so the challenge was to take into account the technical requirements and find the best way to achieve this in weighing the pros and cons. ex. coding a solution from scratch may provide more flexibility but will take longer. Using a pre-existing package that someone else has already written might not meet some of the requirements. If using a pre-existing package, evaluating which one works the best for this use case. And then finally developing a proof of concept with the chosen solution.

4. What is one thing that you have worked on that you’re really proud of? 

I've been a part of the team working on the New Composer (maybe called Varicent Designer now?) project from the ELT side. Its one of the few projects i've worked on that involves collaborating with other product teams in the company. There's no one thing in particular but generally proud of the work i've contributed so far and watching the work help progress the project from a figma drawing to a useable product.

5. In your words, what makes working at Varicent unique? 

I think it's always exciting to work at a company that is growing and releasing new features in their products all the time rather than just preserving the status quo. 

Varicent also has genuinely great culture in my opinion (a lot of companies claim to have good culture but it's hard to actually deliver on this). The perks such as being 100% remote and summer/flex fridays are amazing for work-life balance.

6. What advice do you have for women looking at joining the tech industry? 

Don't let impostor syndrome talk you out of pursuing roles that you want. When I first wanted to join the tech industry, I struggled with comparing myself to others and feeling under-qualified but after being in my role for a while I realized that everyone else was more or less in the same boat. Theres so many different technologies out there that when someone brings up a term, its more likely than not that you'll have no idea what it is. What's more important in my opinion is being self-motivated enough to quickly learn on the job and not being scared to ask questions.

7. Which of our values do you relate to the most and why? 

Collaboration is a big one i think - I believe the learning curve of starting in this role would have been a lot steeper if it weren't for my coworkers that helped mentor me at the time. Even to this day, not a single week goes by where I don't ask someone for help on something and vice versa. My experience is that everyone is more than willing to take time out of their day to help each other, pair program etc.. which I definitely think contributes to getting things done more efficiently.