#PeopleOfWantedly: Think Software Engineers just write codes all day?
Software engineering is all around us, from the alarms that help us wake up to the laptops we use every day. Sadly, not many think about its importance and impact on our lives.
Software engineers are the architects behind software solutions - they make plans and design systems, and generally focus on applying the principles of engineering to software development. With strong demand across various industries, largely driven by the fact that almost any company needs an online presence, and has growing tech needs, software engineers enjoy extensive career pathways.
Meet Aubin, Wantedly Inc.’s Software Engineer, as he lets us in on what he does behind the scenes - or rather, your computer screens, and tips to get your career started in software engineering!
Tell me about yourself!
I come from Brittany, in the West of France, and have been working at Wantedly for almost half a year. I’ve been working as a developer in Japan for around four years, and have been mostly focusing on the front-end side of things, such as building user interfaces. I’m currently working in the Developer Experience (DX) squad at Wantedly, where we try to improve our code infrastructure to make other developers’ lives easier.
What brought you to Japan and eventually into Wantedly?
Like many young French people, I have been interested in Japanese culture since I was a teenager. First mangas, then movies, and music, kept my interest in this culture alive. I then decided to study Japanese at university and had the chance to visit a couple of times. After graduating, I decided to take a shot at living in Japan and have been here since. Nowadays I still enjoy Japanese music a lot, but I’m also a big fan of ramen! I joined Wantedly after receiving a scout message on Wantedly and got interested in the DX Squad’s work possibilities, as well as the overall product trying to help workers and companies find each other.
What is a typical workday in your life as a Software Engineer?
I usually start the day by looking at our monitoring services to check nothing unexpected happened during the night. Then, we often have a team meeting to share our advancement on various tasks. Since the DX team is very multidisciplinary, we don’t always work together on the same tasks, but we always keep an eye on each other to give feedback and make sure our work all fits together. For that reason, we also often participate in product meetings, not necessary to present but also to make sure we’re aware of what everyone is working on so we can jump in if there are technical issues we need to tackle. Then usually I get some time to work on my own tasks. Throughout the day, we may have incidents happening on the live website and we would often help find the origin of the bug and draft solutions. If we’re all in the office at the time, we sometimes gather in the “pantry” - the shared space - to discuss it all.
What is the biggest misconception people have about software engineers, is it true you write codes every day?
Before I started learning to program, I thought it would be too hard for me because I wasn’t good at math. While math does help in some domains (games for example), it’s much more important to be logical, curious, organized, and be able to reason about problems by breaking them up into small pieces.
I think I do write code everyday, but this does not mean I write pages of code! Oftentimes, we developers may spend hours trying different solutions, investigating a bug, exploring all parameters, and end up with only two new lines of code shared at the end of the day! As with good writing, quantity does not make everything. Less code is often easier to reason about and a sign of quality. This is particularly important for teamwork since developers rarely work alone!
What do you like most about your job and why?
It’s both a blessing and a curse: in programming, there never is a single solution. You can solve problems in many different ways, using many different tools and programming languages. This is a very creative aspect of the job that makes it interesting everyday. Modern computers are also very complex and have many layers, so there is always something new to learn.
The “curse” side is that you have to learn to accept that you will probably never be able to find a “perfect” solution. You have to pick your tradeoffs, and have to live with the fact you don’t know everything about the system.
What would you consider as your biggest achievement/project at Wantedly?
Due to the DX team’s goal, we rarely push new big features and projects, and work incrementally on improving the state of things. I have helped improve the loading performance of the site, helped remove deprecated dependencies in the code, or sped up the CI pipeline on a project to make it easier for developers to deploy and try their changes.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get started as a software engineer?
First, you should try to make things! If you have a computer and internet, you can learn and try many tools for free, and practice is an excellent way to learn to recognize all the common mistakes. The bonus is that you get things to share and show your progress to everyone! Then, you must stay curious and persevere. When facing very difficult problems and crazy bugs, digging deep until you find the reason for your program’s behavior will often teach you a lot. The good news is that you can keep running the same program hundreds of times until you find a solution since the computers will always do the same thing and never complain.
The software engineering field is vast, with different roles based on the complexity of the application. From Front-End Engineer, Back-End Engineer, Full Stack Engineer, Software Engineer in Test (QA Engineer), DevOps Engineer and Security Engineer, ultimately, they all work towards providing a seamless user experience of their respective application.
Whether you’re a tech student, an aspiring software engineer or looking to switch to this field, you can be confident that there will be growing demand over the next decade and beyond. As long as you develop a strong work ethic, are committed to the field, and continue to learn as you go, then you'll have plenty of job prospects in any city or industry!
Connect with Aubin on Wantedly.
#PeopleofWantedly is our monthly series where we showcase the people behind Wantedly, peek into a day in the life of what they do, and learn what it takes to kickstart a career in the roles we’ve featured. If engineering is not your cup of tea, take a look at what it’s like to be Wantedly’s Country Manager, International HR, Creative Strategist and Senior Marketing Lead!