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Engineering & Product

Jasmine Vickery, Senior Software Engineer at Vital

Dreams about doing something cool with mathematics, being creative and smart, certainly look to have come true for Jasmine Vickery, Senior Software Engineer a Vital. We caught with Jasmine to learn more about her career journey into tech and why she loves working at Vital, an Emergency Department waiting times platform.

She has some great insight into what makes a good software engineer beyond just writing code as well as some very sound advice to others that might want to consider getting into tech. Thanks for sharing your story, Jasmine. 

“I help build a website you can see on your phone when you go to the hospital..”

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

I help build a website you can see on your phone when you go to the hospital that provides an estimate for how long you might be waiting in the emergency room. It also lets you share your visit information with your friends and family.

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

I work on a team writing Scala and Typescript where we integrate and standardise data from various hospital feeds, combine it with machine learning estimates, and then use it to display helpful information to the patient and clinicians in a consumer-grade UI built with React.

What are some of the common misconceptions about working in ROLE?

"The best way for an Engineer to spend their time is writing code."

A valuable engineer doesn't just 'write code'; they write tickets, proactively search for bugs, design solutions, do lots of up-front planning, write documentation, search for tools and libraries, and spend time taking calls with SASS vendors who manage things they don't have to build themselves.

This is especially true at a startup like ours, where we need to take on a lot of ownership and wear a lot of hats.

“I dreamed about doing something cool with mathematics and being creative and smart.”

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

I didn't think too much about tech as a kid because I hardly knew any software engineers. I dreamed about doing something cool with mathematics and being creative and smart.

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

I wasn't initially going to study Computer Science at University, but I tried out one paper in my second semester and never looked back. I started working in tech the day after my last exam and continued both here in NZ and for a stint in London for a few years.

When I heard about Vital I jumped at the chance. I was impressed with the calibre of talent, technical standards, and dedication to quality that I saw there.

I was also attracted to working on a product that felt like it would make a tangible difference in the quality of people's lives.

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

"No Pull Request is too small."

One thing I struggled with for a long time was biting off chunks of work that were too large and took a long time to write and get reviewed due to all the complexity being tackled at once. It took quite a lot of practice to feel for just how small I needed to make things. Even when I thought I was breaking up the work to be small enough, I would still get caught out by not making it small enough.

“Don't let your fear hold you back!”

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

Don't let your fear hold you back! Half the trick with tech is ignoring the voice that says you're 'no good at technology' when you encounter a problem and staying calm and curious as you examine it and research and try various things to solve it.

It's also not too late to start a career in tech. I initially thought people who got into software had to have been playing with computers and tinkering with code ever since they were little, but that's not the case.

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

Our Code of Conduct is very important to us so we're looking for people with the kind of character for which it’s important to them too.

Otherwise, someone passionate about writing high-quality code and focused on relentlessly simplifying complex problems into simple solutions.

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