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Engineering & Product

Jae Huh, Software Engineer at Joyous

Dreams of becoming a teacher, nurse, vet, zookeeper, foreign exchange dealer, optometrist, but certainly not Software Engineer, Jae shares her story of how a hobby learning to code has turned into a full time job that she loves. As the first employee of the fast growing Joyous, it sounds like she has found her place. Thanks for sharing Jae.

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

When a group of people work together and they want to know how they think about working with each other, they get feedback. 

With that feedback, they can start conversations and make things better so that everyone in the group is happier. I help make the tool where the feedback can be shared between those people.

And for the adults, what does a typical day-in-the-life of a Software Engineer at Joyous look like?

I work at Joyous as a software engineer. I help develop a platform where employee feedback is shared which leads to conversations that spark action to make work joyous for them. 

In my day-to-day life, I write code, pair up with other engineers and take part in planning for upcoming work with the product team.

“While I liked maths at school, I was definitely not a student that stood out for being smart.”

What are some of the common misconceptions about working in Software Engineering? 

When I tell people that I am a software engineer, a lot of them say I must be really smart and good at maths. While I liked maths at school, I was definitely not a student that stood out for being smart. While you don’t have to be super smart, I believe logical thinking and the passion for problem solving are the key parts of software engineering.

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

As a kid in my view, computers were for the smart people. I had lots of dream jobs but a software engineer wasn’t one of them. A teacher, nurse, vet, zookeeper, foreign exchange dealer, optometrist to list a few.

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

I studied primary education in university. After graduating, I got a job at a private maths tuition centre where I worked for about four years. I loved working with children, but towards the end of those four years, I felt like I was grounded and there was no space for career growth. 

At the same time, I was teaching myself some JavaScript, HTML and CSS as a hobby. I really enjoyed it and I wanted to learn more about web development. After lots of consideration, I enrolled in Enspiral Dev Academy (EDA).

After finishing the course at EDA, I planned to go on a holiday for three months. Just before I left, I saw someone’s post on a Slack group about Joyous looking for a developer, so I asked them to pass on my details. 

After my holiday, I finally got to have a coffee with Philip, one of the co-founders of Joyous, who I happened to have already met at a couple of meetups. The chat over a coffee turned into a coding interview and I soon became the first employee to start working at Joyous.

“..I asked lots of questions, sometimes the same question over and over to make sure I understood the concepts before moving on. ”

Can you share some more insight into what that transition was like? 

It took me a lot of thinking and I had lots of concerns leading up to my decision to change careers, so once I made the decision to join EDA and committed myself to becoming a developer, I was super excited. 

Of course there was lots to learn in a short space of time, and getting the first job after finishing the course wasn’t going to be easy. I really wanted to finish the course with as much knowledge as I could gain so I asked lots of questions, sometimes the same question over and over to make sure I understood the concepts before moving on. 

It was a very intense and stressful experience, but I also really enjoyed the journey.

What is it specifically that you like about working at Joyous relative to your past jobs? 

It’s difficult to compare Joyous to my past jobs because they’re very different. I love working at Joyous because I joined at the very early stage of the business. 

Being able to build features and learn from my colleagues as a junior engineer and participating in building the processes and work culture are not something you can easily experience in your career. I feel really lucky that I could have this unique experience and watch Joyous grow.

“I always tell people who are considering switching their careers to teach themselves some basics using online courses and see if they really enjoy it before making any decisions.”

Do you have any advice for people considering tech as a career path and how they might get there quicker?

I always tell people who are considering switching their careers to teach themselves some basics using online courses and see if they really enjoy it before making any decisions. 

It’s a big sacrifice to change careers. It requires lots of money and time, so it’s important to know that you will like what you do. It’s also a good idea to talk to a lot of people already working in the industry and hear about their work experience. 

Rather than trying to get there quicker, I would recommend them to take time and find out as much as they can about working in tech, so that when they commit themselves to the change, they know exactly what to expect. 

Lastly, Joyous continues to evolve.  What kind of candidates do you think Joyous is looking for in terms of experience, attitude and character?

We collaborate with each other a lot at Joyous, and it’s a great learning environment. Someone who is kind and has the desire to learn and pass their knowledge to others will be a good candidate regardless of their experience.

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