Ever wonder what it’s like to work at Tandem? In this series, we’re taking a peek into the everyday life of Tandem’s product designers and software engineers.
I usually wake up at sunrise but today I overslept until eight-thirty, jolting awake just in time to pour myself some cold coffee and log on for a morning coding session with a fellow bootcamp alum. He and I are working together on a side project, an app that automates the grant proposal writing process for nonprofits. Our project combines intuitive templates with an accessible content management system. It’s designed to allow staff members to quickly pull together draft grant proposals for review. I’m hoping that it’ll eventually make fundraising much easier. We’ve been working closely with a local nonprofit to build user flow and plan features. Now, we’re moving on to design. We chose a front-end framework that has very strong ideas about how things should look, so customization is a challenge. Mike and I spend an hour fiddling with colors and borders, but our app isn’t cooperating, so we decide to break until the weekend.
I start my workday at ten, logging into my email and scrolling through Slack to make sure I’m up to date. My mornings are usually free, so I’ve been using my downtime to binge-watch a gargantuan React tutorial. It covers everything from “React: What Is It?” through “Celebrating Your React Mastery,” a total of fifty-five hours of in-depth lectures and coding exercises. I’ve been working on React for nearly a year, but most of my experience is practical, so I’m enjoying the chance to learn the concepts behind the tools I use.
At noon, we have a company-wide standup meeting so that everyone can provide an update on their work. Since Tandem went remote-first, these meetings take place over Google Meet, so we also get to see everyone’s pets. I showed off my brand-new philodendron, Bobert. I usually try to have protein and a vegetable for lunch, but after my late start I was starving, so I made myself a peanut butter banana smoothie and a small pile of clementines.
Today at one, I attended my first apprentice class. Taught by fellow Tandelorians, these classes are intended to ground us as professional software developers by providing critical information about tools like Github. This week’s class was on Agile, taught by software engineer Sasha Grodzins. Tandem uses a modified “agile with a small ‘a'” that’s designed to be extra flexible and collaborative, so it was helpful to hear about Tandem’s process from a senior dev.
At three, I pair with my mentor, former apprentice Dominic Bales. We’ve been working on a React practice app that dovetails beautifully with the tutorial. This week, we’re learning how to use a library called Zustand that makes it really easy to access data within the app’s structure.
I usually wrap up around six, after a check-in with my team lead Darcy Garrett and one more quick look at Slack. The project I’m working on is at a stage that requires a lot of complex backend configuration and whiteboarding, so I want to be sure to stay up to date. This afternoon, we also had a team meeting to go over all of the tickets on our project board and check our progress.
I’ve learned that quarantine is much more bearable when I get daily exercise, so I work out every day after work. It’s a little anxiety-inducing to visit the gym during quarantine, but my local gym feels pretty safe. Mask rules are strictly enforced and they’ve rearranged the equipment to enforce social distancing. On Fridays, I’m usually too tired for an elaborate routine, so I just climb onto a treadmill with a book. This week it’s Children of Time, by Adrian Tchaikovsky, which is a space opera about biologists who accidentally create superintelligent spiders while terraforming a planet. Excellent company for cardio.
Do you want to work with Jess and the rest of the Tandem team? Check out our Careers page to apply for our open positions!