In one sentence, What's your employer doing and what's your area of responsibility?
Xero is a Cloud Accounting Software Platform. In a nutshell, we help small businesses with the mundane details of running a business: Payroll, Invoicing, Expenses, etc, so that they can focus on "beautiful business". I work on a couple of the iOS app solutions for Xero.
What are you doing day to day in your role? E.g. what's a typical day, week, or project of yours?
It's hard to say what a typical day looks like because usually, it's different. Software engineering is mostly focused around solving problems, and thankfully, there is always a new problem to solve haha. Usually, I'll be in front of my computer, either cutting code to deliver a new feature, or fixing something that I've broken.
Most weeks involve at least some kind of planning session to figure out our backlog of work and then working together as a team to tackle that backlog. An outcome might be as simple as updating a message in the app, to being a bit more involved like making a workflow that allows users to smartly track their time based on where they are. Never really a dull day.
Where did you grow up? E.g. If you are Māori, are you affiliated with an Iwi or Hapu?
I grew up in Central Auckland, mostly around the Grey Lynn area. My father is from Panguru up north. His iwi is Te Rarawa, and his hapu is Ngati Te Reinga. His Mum is from Atiu in the Cook Islands
On my Mum's side, her Mother is from Lauli'i in Upolu, and her Dad is from Falelima in Savai'i
What would you say were the most important stages of your life? (school, work experience, people etc)
I'd say my most important stages revolve around my schooling. I was in Te Reo Maori units from Kohanga Reo (at Ritimana in Richmond Rd Primary) all the way through high school at Nga Puna o Waiorea (Western Springs College).
I can without doubt say that my confidence in who I am as a person, and the way I interact with my peers and colleagues, are definitely linked to the way I was raised, the values that were instilled in me in school and home, and how I identify as a Maori and Pacific Islander.
As the whakatauki says: ""E kore au e ngaro, he kakano i ruia mai i Rangiatea""
How did you get to your current job position and how long have you been in the role?
Nothing magical, I applied through a job advert on Seek. I've been in my current role for just over 4 years now
Is there any other person information you're happy to share that has shaped you/your life journey?
Other than my parents, and the teachers I had at Western Springs College (Pa Chris Selwyn especially), I don't think so.
If someone wants to do the same thing that you're currently doing, would that be possible if they're studying a different qualification/degree to you?
Yes - One ex-colleague came from a thermodynamic physics background. Another current colleague has a degree in medical research and taught herself programming.
There is never a single path to a career, and it always depends on how much time and effort you're willing to dedicate to your craft. Interest definitely helps get you most of the way through: If you love what you're doing, everything usually falls into place.
What characteristics and/or skills would someone need to get into your line of work?
What do you love most about your job?
Delivering is what I love the most. Getting a new feature in front of a user, and watching them break it! Honestly, it's so rewarding to see someone use what you've made in weird ways. It's more rewarding when they don't break it though, and you somehow manage to cater for every weird usecase. It's problem-solving at its core.
For you, what's the biggest limitation in your job?
I'm very lucky in my current role that working outside of work hours is not expected. You put your best foot forward during the week, and if you're having trouble with stuff, it's a safe enough environment to put up your hand and ask for help without any judgements.
Sometimes I do find it hard to switch off. You might have a problem you've been trying to solve for a few days, and the solution might come to you when you're out with friends or trying to hang out with family. Learning how to switch off, and defer work to work hours can sometimes be hard. It is a good indicator that you love what you do though.
This isn't always the case; I have worked in jobs where overtime isn't just encouraged, it's expected. Always be mindful of places like this because, when you're constantly working, you'll eventually burn out and start resenting what you enjoyed about the job in the first place.
Be vigilant when selecting where you want to work. Keep an eye on reviews. Ask people that you know that might still/have worked there.
3 pieces of advice for students