Engineer insight: What it's like to work on these 3 Austin dev teams

by Kelly O'Halloran
March 22, 2018

Design. Build. Test. Repeat.

While their job descriptions may overlap, what sets these developers apart are the teams they serve and the projects they’re building. We caught up with three software engineers, including one CTO, to learn what’s it like to work beside them.

 

inmotion austin
photo provided by inmotion

When Brian Howard was a software engineer, the quintessential “work hard/play hard” attitude was more startup cliché than reality. That is, until he co-founded InMotion Software in 2008. Today, he leads a team of more than 40 developers as CTO — and said that old adage has become a perceptible part of their culture.


What is the most interesting project your team is tackling?

We are working on a workflow management platform for users that gathers data out in the field on potentially remote sites. We have been building technology that allows us to sync and merge data collected offline into the cloud in a robust and reliable manner while retaining full transaction history. It’s really interesting work that involves algorithms and data structures.  

I've learned that soft skills are what keep high functional teams productive.”

What is one tool you’ve found indispensable?

Slack and GIT — do I have to pick just one?


What is the most helpful thing you’ve learned from a fellow dev on your team?

I have a very talented team who I learn from every day in some capacity. Those of us who work in a technical field tend to think that the most important things to learn are technical in nature. I've learned that soft skills are what keep high functional teams productive. There are a few individuals on my team who have really helped me grow as a human being in this regard, and I’m very thankful for that.


What is your team’s biggest win in the past year?

Launching a successful Pharmacy app for H-E-B that has averaged a 4.7 star review from more than 900 reviews.

 

cratejoy engineering
photo provided by cratejoy

Sometimes, tech makes an impact outside of just product performance. Cratejoy’s engineering manager, Josh Dover, said using React has helped his team quickly build large apps without the help of additional developers. With a scrappy team of six, Dover said his team has a knack for honing in on both the technical and human side of the job.


What is the most interesting project your team is tackling?

We are building a well-tested, fast and beautiful UI library that is being used by all of our engineering teams.

Our relentless focus on becoming a better team is what’s different.”

What is one tool you’ve found indispensable?

React. The ability to encapsulate and understand frontend logic much quicker has enabled us to build really large, stable and fast frontend apps with fewer developers. Collaboration is easier and UI is tested much better.


What is the most helpful thing you’ve learned from a fellow dev on your team?

I’ve learned the importance of giving team members room to fail and learn. Balancing effective mentorship and experience building has made me a better engineer.


What is your team’s biggest win in the past year?

We turned a large, sluggish product into one that feels snappy to customers of all sizes. Seeing the impact of change like this, both in the numbers and in customer feedback, is extremely rewarding.


What's different about this team than any other team you've worked on?

Our relentless focus on becoming a better team is what’s different. We constantly talk about what is working, what isn’t and how we can all help achieve both the team’s goals and each individual’s goals. What’s unique is that it’s not just about process, it’s about how we feel, too. I’ve found other teams often ignore this human element of working together.

 

praecipio consulting
photo provided by praecipio

Alongside a team of five at Praecipio Consulting, Renuka Joshi develops integrations and add-ons for the Atlassian suite of products, including Jira and Confluence. Since joining the company in August, Joshi said the most helpful thing she’s learned from a teammate is to always debug and cover all edge cases until identifying the root cause of the problem — even if it seems fixed.


What is the most interesting project your team is tackling?

DocuSign for Confluence is an exciting product that we are building. We are working to make our existing REST APIs public for others applications to integrate with. We will release the new version soon with new and exciting features such as Bulk Send of DocuSign Envelopes, and handling multiple recipients from within a Confluence page.

If there's something you don't know, there are always plenty of team members who are ready and willing to lend a hand.”


What is one tool you’ve found indispensable?

Atom Text Editor — it’s a text/code editor developed by GitHub. You can edit normal text/code files as you would in notes. It makes it easy to look through large event logs and you can take notes as you go using their markdown preview mode feature. It made my life much easier as a developer.


What is your team’s biggest win in the past year?

Our biggest win was the recent release of TurboKit for Jira. This is a power-packed product with exciting features to control/automate your workflows and transactions in Jira, which reduces writing complex post functions/workflow configurations. Conditions and validators use all-new designed JQL functions to verify correctness of JQL statements before saving your workflow. Post functions are very useful in automating your workflow transactions.


What's different about this team than any other team you've worked on?

My colleagues are reliable and helpful. If there's something you don't know, there are always plenty of team members who are ready and willing to lend a hand. We are also encouraged to pursue continued education and professional development opportunities.

 

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