As an aspiring software engineer, I am always on the lookout for interesting opportunities that would help me build practical knowledge, cultivate good engineering habits and expand my wisdom on managing domain-specific burnouts. Here are the 3 practices that I was able to apply to my life after my 5-month internship at Glints.
Extensive Use of Slack Emojis
Even though my primary role as an SWE intern was to learn and contribute code, my favourite activity was actually choosing the right emojis to respond to various situations. Emojis are awesome because they allow us to express ourselves creatively and concisely.
At Glints, emojis were used extensively to communicate support, concern, and more. Custom emojis were even created to immortalise memories. I guess in a Covid-19 situation, emojis really help people to connect more deeply. For me, it brightens my day when I see colleagues choose their favourite emojis to welcome newcomers, lighten the mood, or even express dismay tactfully.
Sometimes, emojis were used in a more subtle manner, like through a simple “ok” or “thank you” which ended conversations on good terms. An emoji can’t speak a thousand words, but it can certainly speak succinctly. It was pleasant to witness how emojis could brighten my day so I am excited to use emojis more mindfully in other areas of my life.
Establishing Active Channels for Support
Besides the use of emojis, I have benefited much from the active Slack channels established to facilitate communication between teams and allow engineers to seek help. These slack channels bridge gaps in understanding and foster a collaborative culture.
For instance, posting a challenging frontend bug on the #Frontend channel encourages engineers of various teams to share what they know on the same thread. This cross-team communication allows for engineers with knowledge previously exclusive to themselves to collectively arrive at a solution that 2 engineers could not achieve in a private message space.
When I was working on the upgrading of Styled Components on the Glints Job Marketplace, I learned much from discussions on the Frontend channel because engineers from other teams shared concerns specific to this task. Discussing approaches to the problem publicly saved me time and allowed me to resolve blockers quickly, while keeping various parties in the loop.
Biweekly Engineering Sharing
Engineering tech sharing is a biweekly practice meant to encourage engineers to share whatever they feel like sharing with their fellow engineers.
Such sessions included a Flutter crash course, a proposal of Kafka Stream Optimisation and an SEO introduction. This practice fosters a sense of curiosity and inspires engineers to try new things, be it recreationally or professionally. As an intern, I was also warmly encouraged to do a sharing - I gave a gentle introduction to Google Apps Scripting(GAS). Despite just delivering a high-level overview of what GAS could do, basic syntax and an illustration of small applications, I was pleasantly surprised when the security lead slacked me to clarify a GAS workflow he was implementing at Glints!
The practice of engineering tech sharing showed me that making time to share knowledge with your team could be an immensely helpful thing to your teammates so I’d like to carry on this spirit in my school projects.
The above engineering cultural practices at Glints were just some of the informal observations that stood out to me. As I continue my SWE journey by returning back to school, I feel better equipped with systems to organise learning, handle working relationships in my school projects and add life to my future workplace when I secure a full-time job.