Culture

Meet the Team: Colette Kinnaird, Full Stack Developer

February 2, 2022
6 minute read
Lucy Drennan

Tell us a bit about your educational background and previous roles before you joined Phlo

Growing up, my older brother was always really interested in Computer Science and as I got a bit older, I was often found watching over his shoulder as he carried out his most recent coding challenge or built our first ever household PC. He started teaching me how to write little bits of code when I was about 8 years old, and we would build games together in Scratch.  

My favourite subjects at school were Computer Science and Drama and I took both subjects right up to an Advanced Higher level. I remember at the end of my Advanced Higher in Computer Science I had to build a web app or game for my final project and decided to build a web application that helped people diagnose and self-medicate illness.  

When it came time to decide what I wanted to do at university, I was set on studying Computer Science and went on to do so at the University of Strathclyde here in Glasgow.  

I found that my course focused a lot on setting its students up to work in the banking industry. I always felt that that career path wasn’t made for me and I lost interest for a while, so I was relieved and excited when I discovered Digital Health.

When I reached 4th year, I came to do my final year individual project and was tasked with building a product which used gamification to encourage health behaviours. I chose to create a web app for children which encouraged and rewarded them for correctly taking medication through the use of a virtual pet. I had so much fun building it and my supervisor encouraged me to go on to do a Master’s degree In Digital Health.

I was offered a scholarship from the Digital Health & Care Institute and went on to complete my master’s degree before starting my career. I learned so much about the up-and-coming Digital Health space and how I could apply the skills I learned from my undergraduate to the health and care field.

What attracted you to work for Phlo?

The first thing that attracted me to Phlo was an interest in Phlo’s journey. I’ve always wanted to use the skills I learned through school and university to help people and could immediately see the benefit of the product to it’s patients. I wanted to work here even more after learning about the start-up culture of Phlo and the tight-knit community of people I could have the opportunity to work with every day.  

What does your role entail and what does a typical workday look like for you?

I began working for Phlo as a Full Stack Developer in September 2021 and joined the web team where we build and improve Phlo’s web application.  As my first ever development role, I’m still learning the ropes of full stack development and my team has been amazingly supportive.

A typical work day begins with a fresh cup of coffee whilst I check any emails and messages. Sometimes I’ll have the chance to do some development work before our daily 10am stand up call where we discuss our progress from the previous day and our goals for the day ahead. It’s a great chance to get together with the rest of the team and a very optimistic start to the day.

Recently, my team has been experimenting with mob programming, so we often jump on a slack huddle after stand up and begin working on our project work for the day.

What are the key skills required to perform your role successfully?

Knowledge on how to build and deploy software is vital but it also helps to have a solution focussed mindset and the ability to work openly and collaboratively. The most important part of my job is working with the rest of the team to find a solution for every problem.  

What do you most enjoy about your job?

My favourite part about my job at Phlo is that it is so rewarding. I know that every project the web team works on ultimately makes a huge difference to the business and (most importantly) has the ability to improve our patients lives. I find nothing more exciting than seeing a project complete and knowing I was part of the process.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

My biggest hobby is weight training. I spend most of my evenings and weekends at the gym working on building my strength and physique.  In the warmer months, I love to take my dog hiking in the Scottish mountains or heading out to the lochs or the beach to do water sports. I also love music and will never miss it when my favourite bands play. I’m heading to Long Beach, CA in a couple of weeks to attend a reggae festival!

Colette enjoying a hike up Ben A'an (Scotland) with her partner, and dog Odie

What makes Phlo different and why should people join us?

The main thing that makes Phlo different is that our patients are at the heart of everything we do. Sometimes, in bigger companies, the opinions of 1 or 2 patients can get lost but in Phlo, we review every bit of patient feedback and take it on board to constantly improve our product for our patients. That’s really special.

Any advice for young professionals looking to work in technology?

My main piece of advice is that it’s amazing to learn new languages and constantly work on improving your skills but you shouldn’t feel like you need to know everything. Technology changes all the time and even developers that have been in the job for decades learn new things every day.

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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