Hi there, please tell us a little bit about yourself! Who are you? What do you like to do for fun?
Hi! I'm Sean and I am currently a software engineer for a FinTech company based in Boston, but thankfully working from home in Southern California. Prior to working in tech, I served 8 years in the US Army on a reserve contract, worked as a private investigator, and most recently served as senior vice president at a financial services due diligence firm. For fun, I enjoy going to concerts with my wife and discussing tech with the internet!
Can you tell us what you do as a Full Stack Developer at Givinga Inc for those who are unfamiliar?
As a full stack developer at Givinga, my current role is to support and develop features on both the front and back end of our code base for multiple products that our clients use. At our core, Givinga is a FinTech company with the purpose of making philanthropy more accessible to everyone. Our technology is used by companies and financial institutions to make donating impactful.
How did you decide to pursue your specific career? What pivotal moments pushed you to where you are now?
I actually never planned on becoming a software engineer. I did not study CS in college. I did not even graduate from a university because I decided to start my career early instead. Most of my credentials come from my experiences in the military and that naturally transitioned into the private sector with investigations, where I spent most of my civilian career. When COVID hit, I worked fully remote and like many others, I began to explore different opportunities. With the guidance of friends in the industry, I jumped on the opportunity to dive deep into development and the rest is history.
What programs & tools do you use everyday for your work? What do you like/dislike about these programs?
For development: Visual Studio Code, Terminal, Git, AWS
Everything else: Shift, Slack, Google Suite
Any advice on how to stand out and get hired for those starting off?
Don't be afraid to put yourself out there and network. It is 100% possible to break in alone, but asking questions early on and receiving proper guidance will help you significantly increase your chance of success.
What are some must-have resources or skills you would recommend for your industry?
Book: Clean Code by Robert C Martin
Blogs: Checkout different tech blogs on Medium
Podcasts: DonTheDeveloper (YouTube), Lofi Tech Podcast (my podcast haha, we cover tech, career, and life)
What are 3 character traits that would make someone excel in your field?
Tenacity, Grit, Empathy
Most satisfying & difficult thing about your job?
The most satisfying thing about my job is having the ability to contribute to a code base built by an awesome team for an awesome purpose.
The most difficult thing right now is trying to digest so much, so quickly. Since I'm in my first full-time position as a developer, I'm learning the ins and outs of what it means to work on a real dev team and regularly taking on challenges that I'm not used to. Tough, but at least its fun!
What would you like to say to your younger self?
Fuck external validation. Be unapologetically yourself and go be a contributor.
Best advice you've received/heard?
You will only get out what you put in.