In my previous article I talked about my second work experience as a Software Product Prototyper. I had undergone a big transformation at that time and had a junior-level understanding of the software engineering process. Although it was difficult, I found I loved the culture and networking opportunity and decided it was the career path I wanted to follow.
My field of study, mechatronics engineering, is described as the design of computer-controlled electromechanical systems. It brings together the fundamentals of mechanical, electrical and software engineering. I knew that I wanted to pursue software engineering and finally took my shot at “cali or bust”. This decision took me all the way to San Francisco, California as I finally landed at Minted as a real Software Engineer!
What I Built
Minted uses technology to allow consumers to discover great creative talent, making Minted a place where artists can learn, gain exposure, and build their businesses. It is a place for artists to sell their artwork on cards, stationaries, pictures, and more.
At Minted I was a full stack software engineer, tasked with working on 2 projects. The first project was to build add-ons to an existing tool to fix customer orders and the other was to create a new tool to provide visibility into broken customer orders which would be used by the engineering department.
The add-ons were pretty straight forward. I was tasked with implementing 2 different types of add-ons: one to move an order stuck in review to the manufacturers and another to sign orders that have been checked by a minted employee (but not automatically inputted into the system).
The new tool I created would assist with looking at the process-related information of a specific order. Minted had a queue orders that would need assistance and it would take an engineer a significant amount of time to look through different tables in a database and identify the issue. This tool would search orders based on certain criteria and display it in a dashboard, turning potentially hours of time searching down to minutes.
My experience at minted was the best one yet in terms of exposure and guided learning. I worked on a team of well-versed engineers who really challenged my thinking, had a dedicated mentor to assist and guide me, and got real insight into working on a product that actually impacted people.
My team was filled with very knowledgeable and down-to-earth people. We had weekly learning sessions with the team where the manager would speak about technical or non-technical topics. The manager actually left to work on a UK-based AI company as the CTO, and some co-workers left to work at FAANG so all in all they were very capable individuals. I also had an amazing mentor who was an exemplary software engineer and made me feel comfortable being part of the team. He answered all of my many questions no matter how trivial they were and had the patience to walk me through all of his solutions & explanations
From a technical point a view, I got to experience contributing to a project that requires a bigger team than a group of 4 (the largest team I worked on thus far). I made formal pull requests, read through and commented on others, communicated with other teams for help and to give help (mostly shadowing), and I contributed to a large code base. This was also the first time I worked with Typescript and React which ended up becoming my preferred tech stack today (Express, React, Typescript). I finally got my industry experience that I was missing and got actionable feedback and guidance by someone who is an expert in what I wanted to pursue (full stack & distributed systems).
Finally we come to the perks of working in California as a software engineer. I was truly spoiled at this company with game & pillow room and the endless snacks. Minted a company that put their employees first, ensuring they felt valued and appreciated. I would love to create a place like this, providing mentorship and a safe/comfortable space where anyone can learn and grow.
- Once you get to a certain point in your personal software endeavours, a good software mentor is absolutely necessary to guide you and take you to the next level. Their experience is not something you can learn through Udemy lessons or tutorials and is a valuable asset they are passing on to you.
- Working on a large code base is hard — No matter how smart you think you are, getting started on a new code base is difficult. You are building on someone else’s work and its foreign territory. Just because you can read a map doesn’t mean you can navigate the journey ahead.
- You don’t have to be an expert to be a mentor — Being a mentor requires more than just the knowledge you have. It’s also about passing down your experiences and attitude to someone who is earlier in their journey.
I really enjoyed working at minted and found myself wanting to go back. To work at a job like this was the closest representation of what working on a team of likeminded individuals I came across so far and I am going to pursue more of these kinds of opportunities moving forward.
I came into this experience expecting to learn a lot about tech. I came out learning about communication and teamwork. After this coop I finally realized how big the umbrella of software engineering is and understand how much I don’t know. Udemy courses got me up to this point but from here on it is almost all about gaining experience
I may not have struggled as much this term as I have the previous terms but I see where I am in my journey and how long the road ahead of me is. Although it is daunting at first glance, there is still an almost infinite amount to explore which now has me more excited than ever before.
Thanks for reading!