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Engineering & Product

Minh Vu, Senior Software Developer at Parrot Analytics

Having dreamed of getting into computer programming at a kid, Minh Vu, Senior Software Developer at Parrot Analytics is not only living out his dream, he is doing it with a company he loves.

We caught up with Minh to learn more about the journey that led him to New Zealand and ultimately into software development. Minh shares some common misconceptions about his role and some sage advice for anyone considering tech as a career path that would translate well to any industry. Thanks for sharing your story, Minh.

“... what I do is to watch lots and lots of TV shows and movies then pick popular ones among them ”

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

I would tell my son that what I do is to watch lots and lots of TV shows and movies then pick popular ones among them. He is only two years old, too young to understand it, but he also likes watching Kids' TV shows too.

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

My day-to-day routine is to capture demands and onboard metadata of trending TV shows, movies, and talents (aka celebrities) into our big data system.

We also provide a world-class SaaS portal for customers where they can analyse TV shows, movies and talents demands and ranking.

What are some of the common misconceptions about working as Software Engineering Team Lead Role in Parrots?

- Working for a Big Data company like Parrot, I can do very cool Artificial Intelligence (AI) cutting edge tech stacks every day: 

Even though AI algorithm is applied to produce our Demand for TV Shows, Movies, Talents, 90% of the time of our Big Data Engineering team is spent on marshaling, normalizing, cleaning up then productionising data.

This is because big volume data comes in all sorts of forms and abnormalities.

- Being Team Lead means I work on my own to create the new entire system:

It is a very common misunderstanding(even for some senior roles). I always work 'with' our Engineering teams here to create building blocks for Parrot's big data system. It is my preferable way so that we (as a team) can go very far.

“I thought I was settling down in Wellington after four years of having a fantastic time, making a lot of friends, buying my first home in the Capital.”

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

I like programming and have dreamed of working as a Software Developer since I was a kid.

18 years ago, when I first studied in New Zealand, my sole purpose of studying overseas was to become a Software Engineer and work in cutting-edge companies like Parrot.

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

I came to New Zealand as an international student 18 years ago. I studied at Auckland University, majoring in Software Engineering. I landed my first job as a Java developer in a startup called Harmonic Analytics, then Regen Ltd in Wellington.

I thought I was settling down in Wellington after four years of having a fantastic time, making a lot of friends, buying my first home in the Capital.

However, my wife and I decided to move to the much warmer city Auckland, where I started to work for WEX Inc as a permanent Senior Developer.

I started to explore my career path as a contractor/freelancer that is where I adapted myself to learn new fields of expertise on each company I have contracted with: WEX Inc, Aviat Network, Freedom Internet. Harmonic.

One of the benefits of being a contractor is I have gained an enormous amount of knowledge from different business domains. I do not limit myself to being solely a developer who only works with Java technology.

I am kind of the developer who hit-the-ground-running, quickly picks up new tech stacks such as Javascript/NodeJS, Angular/Typescript, Python, Scala, Docker/Kubernetes, Amazon Web Service (AWS), etc.

I initially got an offer from Parrot Analytics as a 6-month contract Angular Frontend Developer.

The six months period passed quickly as I have moved from Frontend to Backend, Fullstack to DevOps then System Design and Architecting.

I have contributed and learnt much more than I bargained for at Parrot. I realised that Parrot is the company that keeps me challenged and growing. Then I was extremely excited to be offered a permanent role.

“Success will follow where your heart goes”

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

One of my English school teachers has given me wisdom for my career: “Success will follow where your heart goes”. I cannot say I am successful in my career but I truly have found happiness in my career.

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

As I mentioned above, my advice to people is to have passion for what they are doing in their tech career. Sooner or later, success will find them.

Lastly, Parrot Analytics is set to start growing quickly.  What kind of candidates do you think Parrot Analytics is looking for in terms of experience, attitude and character?

We are looking for rockstars in their field of expertise. Someone who also has a positive attitude as well as a passion for lots and lots of TV shows and movies.

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