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Beyond the Job: Software Engineering Team

Our “Beyond the Job” blog series gives you insight into what it’s like to work at Shiftgig. Learn about different positions at the company, our culture and more!

Today, we’re speaking with Ty Hendrickson, our Director of Backend Engineering in Chicago. Welcome, Ty!

How long have you been a Software Engineer?

I have been a Software Engineer for about six years, and I’ve done software and website development in various forms professionally for quite a while. I started working on Shiftgig a little more than five years ago when I was an engineer at AIS Inc. and was part of the team that released the first version of our website. Several of the earliest Shiftgig employees were originally from that company, and I was part of that transition.

What’s your favorite part about being a Software Engineer?

All the interesting problems that need solving! I love that there are always new things to learn.  And there’s something very rewarding about making tools that people use in their daily lives and being able to know that I helped build them.

Can you briefly describe your day-to-day activities?

Planning, testing, writing, reviewing, and releasing code that helps make Shiftgig’s technology function (maybe not always in the same day). We put a lot of care into planning what, when, and how our work gets done, so generally I’m collaborating with all the various people who are working together to make it happen – whether they’re stakeholders, product managers, designers, or fellow engineers.

Of course sometimes there are bugs that come up and need to be addressed swiftly, but thankfully that’s nowhere close to a daily occurrence! Most of the time, my days are oriented around looking at what we just did to inform what we’ll do next.

What has been your biggest learning experience in this role?

It’s hard to say because there are so many learning experiences, but probably something having to do with sequencing and pragmatism. So much of software development is finding a balance between the long- and short-term, so there’s a lot to learn about taking objectives of varying levels of immediacy and figuring out the best way to realize them.

Also, it’s one thing to judge when one person might finish a single task, but trying to understand when many people might finish many tasks that are all individual parts of a larger goal is a skill in its own right. So yeah, learning how to strike that balance has probably been the biggest thing.

Can you share a story about your most successful or exciting moment on the job?

It’s always nice when you see everyone rally together to roll out an important new feature.  Recently, my team was tasked with revamping the way people apply to become Specialists. We completely overhauled the Specialist application page and wrote new server-side software to manage the job applications we receive in pretty short order.

This was one of those times when everyone sat down, looked at the problems on the table, and played to each of their individual strengths. We were able to quickly deliver a new system that benefited both our internal operations as well as our prospective Specialists. It’s really amazing when everyone operates in such a synchronized fashion and I loved seeing that happen.

What are the key factors for success for your position or within the Software Engineering team?

When a significant number of our users, the engineering team, and people across the business are excited about a recent or upcoming release, you know you’re doing something right. There are obvious metrics like faster response times, fewer bugs, etc., but it all comes down to your ability to collect and leverage your results.

Additionally, knowing how to work with different types of feedback coming from various angles – the people you work with, the software you build, and the people who use it – and figuring out how you’ll parse, and then apply that feedback to your future goals is crucial.

What’s your favorite thing about working at Shiftgig?

The people and the product. It’s great to work with a team of talented people who are all passionate about working at a company with a product that can actually change the lives of our users in a positive way.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

I’m pretty passionate about music. I used to be a piano teacher, so I practice that, as well as the myriad of other instruments I own. I also like to garden and I’ve been doing a lot of baking lately. A good Netflix or HBO drama can keep me pretty occupied, too.

Does a software engineering position sound like a good fit for you? If so, check out our corporate job opportunities for the engineering team here. We’d love to have you on our team!

November 30, 2016 | Tricia Cagua