What's your job about?
Canva’s mission is to empower the world to design, across all kinds of devices.
As a backend software engineer on the Content team, I help lay the groundwork for features in Canva, on any device, that allows users to organize, arrange, and manage their content in various ways - this largely means enhancing the capability of folders and their content. Day-to-day, if I’m not digging into the delicious free food or out on a coffee walk, I’ll be coding, reviewing other’s code, catching up on Slack messages/emails, or having a chat with my teammates. As you can see, collaboration and communication skills, in addition to technical ones, are essential in the daily life of a Canva-naut, constantly engaging other engineers, product managers, and designers, to build a great experience for our users.
Recently I’ve been working on enhancing/adding the trashing/restoring of folder hierarchies and their contents so that users can clean up their workspace or restore items to it. For this project, I’ve had to upskill both my product and technical knowledge quite quickly and have been able to take on responsibility for overseeing and implementing the work. This has been a really rewarding project to work on as it’s both highly impactful and complex - this is something you’ll find often with the work you do here.
What's your background?
To start with, I was born and raised in Sydney; surprisingly this isn’t as common as you’d expect for a company with a Sydney HQ - Canva’s employees come from all across Australia and the globe!
I was first introduced to programming when I chose to take Robotics in year 10 on a whim to fill my last elective slot. We started off by learning Scratch, a block-based visual programming language, followed by Python, entering into the NCSS competition, and finally programming LEGO Mindstorms NXT robots to reverse parallel park! By the end of this subject, I had fallen in love with programming and took Software Design and Development for my HSC, while continuing to enter the NCSS competition yearly.
I managed to receive a Co-op scholarship in Computer Science at UNSW and worked at WiseTech Global, Atlassian, Westpac, and a startup before applying for and successfully receiving a 3-month internship at Canva. The internship was a blast and I was lucky enough to receive a return offer for my current position, which I accepted, after some deliberation on my other offers, and have now been in this role for 2 months.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
For sure, someone with a different background could definitely do my job. Though they’d definitely need strong computing fundamentals, in addition to being a keen learner, and the collaboration and communication skills mentioned earlier.
What's the coolest thing about your job?
It definitely has to be having delicious, healthy and varied breakfasts and lunches served up daily by a team of in-house chefs, on top of yummy snacks all around the office, with Tim Tam flavours you probably haven’t even heard of before!
The on-site gym that you can use to keep yourself in shape after all that food, the wheel you get to spin on your birthday (which includes choosing lunch or breakfast for a day), and the crazy, awesome celebrations you get to have after hitting milestones and at the beginning of seasons all vie for a spot on the podium too!
What are the limitations of your job?
As your knowledge deepens and you begin to work on more things, you can find yourself being spread a little thin across various streams sometimes and there’s a constant balancing act trying to keep up with them all in their various forms, including implementation tasks, rollouts, code reviews, or slack threads.
3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student…