Engineering

A day in the life of a senior software engineer

March 1, 2022
7 minute read
Lucy Drennan
Tell us a bit about you, your educational background and career before starting at Phlo. When did you join Phlo, what you like to do in your spare time?

I started having an interest in computers at a young age.  I was fascinated over the technology and the endless possibilities it had. Although I was interested in the computer hardware, I knew I wanted to learn what was going on behind the scenes.

Before I left school, I made the decision to go down the electronics route, I didn’t enjoy programming at the time, so I wanted to focus on electronics with minimal programming involvement. I went to university to study electrical and electronic engineering, but I quickly found out that I was more drawn to the software side after all. I managed to switch to a computer science course which looking back now, was the best decision I made.

After university I started working for a large automotive retailer and then few years later onto a money management start up. I soon realised that I enjoyed working for smaller companies and start-ups as it was more rewarding to me. Working at start-ups feels more personal to me as the decisions made me feel like they matter more. I joined Phlo around a year ago, and have been primarily focusing on building the mobile app. Although I have worked on other parts of software development, my passion is building cross platform mobile apps.

In my spare time I like to keep active and one of my main goals this year is to train for a triathlon. I enjoy the running and biking part, but my swim needs a bit of work - I’m usually gasping for air at the ends of the pool! Other than triathlon I enjoy exploring, whether it’s tackling a new Munro or visiting a new country- I have a long list of places I still want to visit!

Mark at the suspension bridge in Bratislava

Morning

What you do in a typical day - any team stand ups/huddle work, focus of the day?

My day starts by reviewing my work from the previous day. I like to see my work with fresh eyes to ensure that it all still makes sense. Afterwards, I will normally catch up on messages from the team and start planning my day ahead. Before my daily stand up I’ll usually read a Medium post or two, as I like to gain some insight into what’s going on in the world of programming.

Lunch time

What do you normally do at lunch time?

My lunch times are quite varied but it’s usually a quick meal and a few YouTube videos. I’ve recently been trying to learn Spanish though, so I’ve been trying to learn a few words a day with Busuu. My progress so far has been slower than expected but I’m hoping to understand the basics before my trip to Barcelona this year.

Afternoon

How do you collaborate with other members of the team? Are there some examples of work that you'd like to show?

After lunch I’ll start by checking the progress of my assigned tickets and determine the work still left to do. I work closely with design and product, so I’ll usually be clarifying work with both to ensure the features that I am building match the expectations. As my role mainly involves user interface development, I am consistently referring to designs made by the designer on my team to ensure it matches the output from the code I have been developing.

What’s the best thing about working at Phlo?

I love finding solutions to business problems. I think the most important thing about being a software engineer is finding a solution regardless of the technologies used - this the part I enjoy the most.

As a developer one important principle that I stick by, is developing a product that makes a difference for the better. Before I joined Phlo, I learned the service they provided and thought it was fantastic. It is very rewarding working on a product that is making positive impact on peoples lives. I enjoy the journey of progression and as software development is very iterative in its nature it is very rewarding continuously improving the app for our patients.  

What do you hope to achieve in your role at Phlo?

I aim to make the patient’s life as easy as it can be when using our app. Therefore, I hope to continue learning about how our patients use the product so we can iterate on the existing app and improve it. This will involve a lot of research and development and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can achieve with the apps.

One feature that I’ve been working on for the new Android app, is biometrics - commonly known as fingerprint login. The team have been looking for ways to improve the user experience in the new mobile app and realised that we would look at ways to make the login process easier.  Biometrics login is very common in most mobile applications so we decided that we would include this into the new Android app.

Biometric login

Once a patient has logged into the new mobile application for the first time, we will show the prompt above. Then, after verifying the biometrics prompt every login after this will use biometrics. It is a significant improvement for the app as it makes logging into the app effortless.  

What piece of advice would you give to someone looking to join a tech company?

I’d say find a part of technology that you feel most passionate about. In any tech company there’s a variety of different roles and responsibilities but there will be one that suits you best. Before I got my first role in tech, I tried to analyse existing products out there. I did this to find out what inspired me therefore I’d try to the same and find a product out there you think you could do better and try to build small parts of that.  

I think a part that discourages some people from getting into tech is how many different roles there are. My role has evolved over the years and my responsibilities have changed so I’d recommend starting to learn one and see how it goes – you can always change in the future!

If you’d like to join the Phlo team and help us shape the future of Pharmacy, check out our careers page.

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