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Engineering & Product

Dirk Swanepoel, Squad Lead at Re-Leased

It was love at first PC for Dirk Swanepoel, Squad Lead at Re-Leased. We caught up with Dirk to learn more about his career journey into tech as well as immigrating to New Zealand. 

Dirk shares some great insight into why he loves working in a collaborative team at Re-Leased, the lifestyle benefits of working in the sunny Hawke's Bay as well advice around turning your weaknesses into strengths. Thanks for sharing your story, Dirk.

“We build a website that helps people lease properties.”

Firstly, how would you explain to a five year old what it is you do?

We build a website that helps people lease properties.

And for the adults, what does that translate to in regards to your day-to-day?

Our platform helps property professionals to manage their portfolio of commercial property leases. This includes everything related to a lease, including financial information, tenants, landlords, and various maintenance contractors.

Every day will be different, but my day will typically involve at least one meeting where we as a team can ensure we are on track to achieve our goals, and to also highlight any obstacles that might stop us from achieving our goals on time.

What are some of the common misconceptions about working as a Squad Lead

Being a Squad Lead means getting involved in various areas within the software development life cycle. This means that you will not only lead a squad, but you will also be actively involved in software development on the product.

“I was about ten years old when my dad bought the family’s first PC.”

Was working in tech something you dreamed about doing as a kid, if not what was?

I was about ten years old when my dad bought the family’s first PC. At that age it was basically just used for gaming, but it did get me into the world of tech.

A few years later a friend and I started “programming” in Logo on his PC, and after the first 3D games launched we started to spend a lot of time trying to understand how these worked and to program simple 3D engines.

This need to understand how things work is what has made me love tech and specifically software architecture. With the software development landscape changing all the time, it is a very exciting field to specialise in.

Tell us a little bit more about your career journey and ultimately about how you ended up working at Re-Leased? 

My first employer was in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The company was a salt mine and they needed to track the weather amongst other things.

Before I started there they relied on external companies to maintain everything software, and even hardware-related. I was thus involved in many areas, but primarily worked on a desktop app to track various aspects of the business.

After just over two years I decided it was time to relocate and I found a company in Cape Town that was looking to expand their development team. The company specialised in B2B software for the property market, assisting in sale of real estate.

With over 90% of the market using their software, they grew at a rapid pace as the number of property sales kept growing in South Africa. After a few years they were acquired by a large group who owned a property listing portal that needed some TLC.

An opportunity to join the development team as an architect came upon the property portal and I made the move from our B2B side to B2C on the property platform. Over the years I was involved in many of the teams there, and I managed to learn many new technologies.

After 14 years at this company, we got our visas for New Zealand, and I started looking for a new company to work for. I was fortunate that I had an open visa, which allowed me to try and find the perfect fit.

After a few months, I came across a job listing for Re-leased, and after chatting to various people at Re-leased during my interview process, I knew this is where I want to work.

“You need to make sure you love what you do, and make sure you have more good days than bad days.”

What is the best piece of career advice you have ever received? 

I have two that I believe are equally important. You need to make sure you love what you do, and make sure you have more good days than bad days. Like everything else in life, there will be parts of your day-to-day that you like doing more than others.

More than likely, the areas you like less will be the areas in which you need to grow. Once you become more comfortable in those areas it will become one more thing you love doing.

What do you love about working at Re-Leased?

The first thing I love about working at Re-Leased has to be the people. Re-Leased has an amazing group of people. Re-leased has some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet.

As a growing company, there are many aspects of the platform that is evolving. This presents a steady stream of challenges, which presents an excellent opportunity to grow.

Being in Hawke’s Bay also means you have access to some excellent outdoor activities.

Lastly, Re-Leased continues to grow and evolve, what are the key traits and characteristics of people that will be well placed to work there?

A desire to grow is a must-have skill. Re-Leased has a highly collaborative environment, and you will need to work well within a team.

We have a unique product and some great minds at Re-Leased, which will allow anyone with a positive attitude to grow their career.

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