Engineering and Product
Sean Tindale, CTO at Spidertracks
Sean grew up wanting to be a Software Engineer due to the limitless possibilities of tech. True to his childhood dream, he has carved at a really interesting career spanning two decades and now heads up the technology arm of Spidertracks, helping to make our skies safer. Knowing how to code is one thing, however Sean highlights the need for developing the soft skills to compliment. Thanks for sharing Sean.
Firstly, how would you explain to a five year old what it is you do?
I have a five year old and the best acknowledgement of my career I get from her is an eye-roll. I tell her daddy helps people fly safer and that's enough for her.
And for the adults, what does that translate to in regards to your day-to-day?
At Spidertracks we build aviation safety electronics and software. I look after Spidertracks product technology and people. A typical day for me is usually spent helping our people do their best work as well as evolving or supporting any key technology strategy decisions we need to make.
What are some of the common misconceptions about working as a CTO?
It’s all about tech. It’s so not. Supporting, challenging and inspiring people to do great work is 80% of what I do.
Was working in tech something you dreamed about doing as a kid, if not what was?
It was. From about the age of ten I always wanted to be a “Computer Programmer”. I just loved this abstract world of code and the near-infinite possibilities of it.
“I find it immensely satisfying to influence a group of people to achieve a big goal. ”
Tell us a little bit more about your career journey and ultimately about how you ended up working at Spidertracks?
I think I’ve had a fairly orthodox path to the role I have today. Studied Computer Science at Uni, various hands-on coding roles. Then about twelve years ago I discovered how much value I could add by enabling many people at once to do good work (leadership).
I find it immensely satisfying to influence a group of people to achieve a big goal. Spidertracks has big big goals and I'm naturally drawn to ambitious companies like this.
Who have been your greatest role models and what have you learnt from them?
There have been too many role models to name. But perhaps weirdly I've learnt the most from the bad actors I’ve encountered. Ive learnt what not to do and how these things can impact people and businesses. There is always something to learn.
What is it specifically that you like about working Spidetracks relative to your past jobs?
I really like Spidertracks core purpose of saving lives. The company also has an almost family vibe to it and I can genuinely say I really like the people I work with.
“Study and grow your ability to 'talk business' with business people. This will set you apart from the crowd.”
Do you have any advice for people considering tech as a career path and how they might get there quicker?
Two things come to mind:
1. Read and listen to podcasts. There is SO much to learn and establishing good habits to consume this info is important.
2. Work on your soft skills from an early stage in your career, in particular communication skills. Study and grow your ability to “talk business” with business people. This will set you apart from the crowd.
Lastly, Spidertracks continues to evolve. What kind of candidates do you think Spidertracks is looking for in terms of experience, attitude and character?
When getting to know people we might bring into the team we look for two key attributes before any techie skills. We want to see initiative and courage. We like people with lots of ideas but we also want to see how people have stepped forward to make these ideas real, especially when it's uncomfortable to do so.