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Engineering & Product

Harvey Kane, Senior Developer at Rocketspark

Self-described typical nerd behaviour of writing computer games as a kid was how Harvey Kane, Senior Developer at Rocketspark talked about the high likelihood of him working in tech.

We caught up with Harvey to learn more about his career journey, what he loves about the team he works alongside at Rocketspark as well as the need for a few dad jokes sprinkled in the day. Thanks for sharing your story, Harvey.

“We make a tool that anyone (even five year olds) can use to create a website.”

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

We make a tool that anyone (even five year olds) can use to create a website.

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

On a good day, it’s working quietly in the background adding new features to make the product better / faster / more robust. Coding away happily in the productive zone all day long with minimal customer interactions and meetings.

On a bad day, it’s fixing urgent bugs that are affecting people’s livelihoods, usually caused by bad programming decisions in the past.

A typical day is somewhere in the middle.

What are some of the common misconceptions about working as a senior web developer?

I don’t really know if there are misconceptions about developers - we probably deserve whatever stereotypes are thrown our way.

“... always figured I’d end up in some sort of tech role. ”

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

Yes, I always figured I’d end up in some sort of tech role. I used to play pen and paper role-playing games as a kid and write computer games in BASIC, typical nerd behaviour for the time.

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

I started off working with computer hardware and networking, initially at a computer wholesaler and then as a self-employed IT fix-it man.

At some point, the Warehouse started selling computers for $1000 and I realised that selling consumer hardware was going to start getting harder as people weren’t valuing the extra service provided by a small owner-operator.

So I gradually switched to software, initially for the same customers I already had, then for a design agency, and later as a SEO consultant.

I was living in Wanaka when I started remote contracting to Rocketspark, initially on a couple of small jobs then working regularly on one of their bigger clients in the UK.

At some point, I decided to exit the self-employed lifestyle, due to the constant chore of appeasing the IRD and trying to manage customers plus do all the development work. So I asked Rocketspark if they’d consider taking me on full-time and they agreed.

Seems like the arrangement has worked out well for both parties so I’m still here several years later and enjoying the challenge of working on a bigger product.

“Charge based on the value something provides, not what something costs to create.”

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

Charge based on the value something provides, not what something costs to create.

What do you love about working at RocketSpark?

Rocketspark values doing the right thing, giving people a good deal, being a good employer, looking after the customer, and not promising things that can’t be delivered. This aligns nicely with my view of the world. 

The dev team has a great culture where we can openly talk about problems and solutions without someone getting defensive.

Practically speaking I love being able to work from home from a different city, which frees up a couple of hours in my day and makes all the difference in the world.

Also, no toxic employees who bring everyone else down.

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

Hard to say. Personally, I value easy communication above all else. As a remote worker any communication barriers are amplified, so someone who can share a bit of light banter and dad jokes makes it easier to collaborate on the real work.

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