Engineering

A day in the life of Noah Valuks, Junior Software Engineer

May 3, 2022
5 minute read
Lucy Drennan

Noah is one of our Junior Software Engineers here at Phlo, currently working on the development of the patient experience. In this blog, we speak to Noah who tells us about their journey to becoming an engineer (from a non-engineering background) and talks us through a typical project outline in the Phlo engineering team.

Tell us a bit about you, your educational background and career before starting at Phlo?

Hi! I’m Noah, originally from London but I’ve been living in Scotland for 6 years now. I left school at 17 to train as a hairdresser but after going through the course and receiving my certificate, I realised that the job just wasn’t for me. I then spent the next few years bouncing between pub work, running my own dog walking business and being a postman. Over this time, I developed an interest in coding but assumed that I had missed my opportunity by not going to university. I was delighted when I came across a 16-week intensive Professional Software Development course offered by CodeClan in Glasgow. I absolutely loved my time at CodeClan and it really helped to solidify that this was the career path that I wanted to pursue moving forward.

How did you hear about Phlo?

I actually found a job advert for Phlo on LinkedIn. I started applying for roles during careers week at CodeClan but I wanted to work for a company that I felt was doing good in the world. So when seeing the ad for Phlo, researching the company and discovering that they offer a service that not only saves people time but also allows more vulnerable people easier access to their prescription medication, I knew instantly that I wanted to apply!

Tell us about a specific project you are involved in at the moment:

I sit on Phlo’s patient experience team. This team ensures that our patients have the best possible experience across all elements of Phlo’s service. It means constantly iterating and listening to patient feedback to find out how we can streamline and make our patients lives a little bit easier. At at the moment we’re working on giving the user more control over their communication preferences, allowing them to better choose how we get in contact with them and for what reasons. Through research we found out that some patients like very regular communications and updates on the progress of their medication orders and some prefer patients just prefer to order and get on with their day.

What were some of the ideas for this and the research behind this?

As mentioned, one of the things that we do well at Phlo is listening to our patient feedback to identify ways in which we can make the app better. We even have an in-house researcher whose sole job it is to understand the needs and wants of our patient base. Phlo received really helpful feedback from users about how the previous system didn’t give much control over how we get in contact and communicate with users.

What is going to be the solution or final outcome for this?

We are creating a new component in Phlo’s app settings that allows users to toggle on/off receiving SMS or email notifications for different communication categories. These can be updated at any time by going into the settings. This allows users to really have control over how and what we share with them to stop them being overwhelmed with notifications or feel like they’re missing out on information.

What is next as a project or for iteration?

After we finish this project we’re moving on to adding push notifications into our React Native app, being used for both iOS and Android. Implementing our communication preferences first will help give us a solid understanding for creating a push notification strategy for our patients. This will be the first time we are implementing a feature like this and I am excited to see how we tackle this as a team.

What’s the best thing about working at Phlo?

One of my favourite things about working for Phlo is how friendly everyone is. I joined the company at the end of March so I'm still very much a new member to the company but everyone is so nice and I never feel bad for having to get something explained or working at a slower pace whilst I learn the ropes. I feel very lucky with my team especially, we all like to mob program or sit in a call with each other and therefore there’s always someone to lend a hand if it’s needed.

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

In my role at Phlo I’m hoping to gain as much experience and knowledge as possible, while being a productive member of the team. One of the great things about being in software development is that there’s always more to learn. Phlo are great at encouraging you to work on your self-development and give you the time to do so.

Noah and their daughter dipping their feet in Loch Rannoch

What do you like to do in your spare time?

In my spare time, if I’ve got my daughter, then you’ll find me at some attraction (usually involving animals or dinosaurs) or I like to take day trips around Scotland. It still amazes me how beautiful it is up here. If it’s a daughter-free weekend then you’ll usually find me gaming, I’m big on PC gaming! I’m also keen to get back into bouldering now that the world is settling again, though that might be a shock to the system after nearly 3 years since I was last able to.

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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