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Engineering & Product

Tim Finucane, Fullstack Engineer at ezyVet

A childhood fascination with how things worked has naturally led into a career in software development. We caught up with Tim Finucane, Fullstack Engineer at ezyVet to learn more about his career journey into tech, what the day-to-day of his role looks like and why he is loving ezyVet. Thanks for sharing your story with us, Tim.

Tell us what your day-to-day role looks like?

I work on improving our application, and making sure anything wrong with it gets fixed quickly. This could be anything as simple as adding new buttons, to creating entire webpages and sub-applications to allow vets to do more through us, rather than on pencil and paper. Each new feature we work on could require:

  • Investigating problems users have told us about the application, and seeing whether they can be fixed
  • Designing the look and feel
  • Measuring how easy it is for people to do what they want
  • Testing whether we can break things, and making sure that the users can’t
  • Writing notes and communicating with other developers so we all agree on what to do
“Ever since I was about five, I loved engineering. There is an old kindergarten portfolio of mine which shows me trying to explain how the electricity in the street wires worked..”

Was working in tech something you dreamed about doing as a kid?

Ever since I was about five, I loved engineering. There is an old kindergarten portfolio of mine which shows me trying to explain how the electricity in the street wires worked and making a little aqueduct system carrying water from a tap into the sand.

When I was twelve that fascination turned into one with computers, trying to figure out how video games and websites worked. Since then, I have always wanted to be working in software.

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

I went from computing classes in high school to starting a degree in software engineering once I reached university. During our degree we are expected to do about 800 hours of actual industry work, which ends up to about two summers worth of internships. 

After doing some quite interesting work in those, involving machine learning and AI, I worked part time in a startup for my final year, on a mobile app. Once I had graduated, I wanted to try something a bit more corporate and stable, where I would be working in a team and on a larger application. 

ezyVet had the right mix of medium-sized-corporate-career and startup-sized-culture that made it a great next step full of interesting challenges and even more interesting people.

Can you share some more insight into what that transition from university into working in tech was like? 

Going from university to a full-time job can be a quite daunting change, even if internships have prepared me for it. The biggest benefit is that you go from always worrying about studying more, having assignments to do and tests coming up, to putting in eight hours a day and knowing whatever is left can be done tomorrow. 

It’s also a great experience to be part of a team, you have a lot of very smart people that can guide and advise you whenever you’re having trouble. I’d say even though you graduated, you’ll always be finding new things to learn. 

If anything, I would say work can be easier than studying a lot of the time. You don’t have to worry about constantly switching between different subjects and completely new tasks, and there’s always people there to help.

“Working in tech is never mundane. The nature of the work means that you are often creating new features and performing some complex problem solving.”

What is it specifically that you like about working in tech relative to your past jobs? 

Working in tech is never mundane. The nature of the work means that you are often creating new features and performing some complex problem solving. In addition, you’re usually collaborating with others, which I’ve found is much easier and more fun than working alone. 

Third, you can directly see the benefit you’re giving to users when you make part of the application faster or give them a feature that 100+ of them have requested. Finally, you usually get free coffee.

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

A lot of companies look at practical work you’ve done before. If you can find and do odd jobs for others (e.g. I helped design a website for a charity a family member runs), then these can always bolster your resume even if you can’t get work. 

Worst case, you can think up your own projects and try them out, or contribute to an open source project; there are tons out there for just about any subject. Extra work also gives you an opportunity to improve your programming skills and experiment with new technologies. 

Attending events and workshops can also be a great way to network and meet some of the actual employees at tech companies.

“I also get pretty excited about the free beer when it’s Friday.”

What gets you excited about working at ezyVet?

Getting to work on new and interesting challenges. I always look for ways to improve not only the application and its features, but also the quality of the code, and the tools in place for developers. 

As a result I have a large number of possibilities for what to work on next, as well as an opportunity to learn and try out new things. I also get pretty excited about the free beer when it’s Friday.

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

ezyVet, like most tech companies I know, looks more for personality than it does for ability. We look for people who can work well in a team, rather than lone wolves, who are willing to train and be trained depending on the circumstances and can reason about problems. 

When it comes to ability, that depends on what we’re hiring for, but we’ve recently been hiring a lot of junior positions where all you need is some basic OOP knowledge. Being able to bring up obscure 80s television show trivia and terrible puns is a bonus.

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