A Day in the Life of a Remote Software Engineer

Breno da Mata Back to Inside Terakeet

AUTHOR’S NOTE:

Software Engineers at Terakeet are dedicated to designing and implementing Terakeet’s proprietary in-house enterprise systems.

Every Software Engineer has expertise in building and evolving sophisticated Rails applications that are used internally to manage a variety of Terakeet’s business processes. These systems are always advancing to support new features and technologies, and they contribute to Terakeet’s competitive advantage in the influencer marketing industry. This is a highly skilled and innovative role which offers both technical and leadership opportunities with the benefits of working remotely or in-office.

This is the second of a three-part series introducing three of the members of Software Engineering team. Meet Breno Da Mata, our remote Software Engineer, as he highlights “A Day in the Life” of a remote Software Engineer at Terakeet.

In April 2016, I had the opportunity to join Terakeet as a remote Software Engineer. In early 2016, I began seeking remote positions at the same time Terakeet decided to pursue remote engineers, so the timing was fortuitous. When I was considering Terakeet, it was the opportunities that Terakeet’s marketing manager RJ Licata highlighted and the work they were accomplishing that appealed to me the most.

Prior to working at Terakeet, I worked as a Software Engineer and later as a Project & Engineering Manager for Adam Plus Company, a small firm from NYC operating 4 ventures. I developed software, designed UI/UX, managed a small team of developers and designers, made countless investor decks, and traveled across the US and UK pitching our ventures to investors. Prior to Adam Plus, I was living in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, where I was a Software Engineer Analyst at Accenture building and maintaining manufacturing execution systems.

I joined Accenture after receiving my BCompSc from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais (PUC-Minas) in Belo Horizonte. It was during my time at PUC-Minas that I began learning Ruby on Rails, the framework and programming language of which Chorus, Terakeet’s internal enterprise software, is built on. I have used it extensively for professional use and side projects ever since.

I’ve lived in many cities and traveled extensively. I set out to work for a company that was not only innovating with new and exciting technology but one that would also provide me with the opportunity to work from anywhere. Terakeet has proven to be much more than that.

What it’s like to work remotely

As Jason Fried and David H. Hansson highlight in their 2013 book, Remote: Office Not Required, one of the rules on how to collaborate remotely is “Thou Shalt Overlap.” Luckily I’m in the same time zone as Terakeet’s HQ, so I’m typically working the same hours as on-site team members. When it’s 8 am, I’ve got a decent brew of homemade coffee ready as I turn on my computer to start work.

Mornings are easygoing as I catch up on company communications. The engineering department holds a weekly meeting where we take turns telling the group what we are working on– the challenges, new ideas, and progress. Being remote, I join the meeting via Google Hangouts video conference with the four other remote engineers and any employees that may be utilizing our flexible work schedule to work from home as well.

Working remotely requires an established routine which is an underrated value of working on-site with the standard 9-5 hours. After my morning update on emails, Slack, Hangouts, and Podio, I write down the day’s main objectives– the ol’ to-do list.

In general, my day is typically spent analyzing, programming, testing, and writing. My routine consists of two four-hour blocks of time with a long break in between. During my break, I like to cook, have lunch, and, weather permitting, walk outside. After recharging my batteries, I’m ready to tackle the second half of work. In the evenings I like to exercise, catch up with friends and family, and watch movies and tv shows with my girlfriend Caroline.

The Engineering Team’s Rite of Passage and Projects

The first assignment as a Terakeet Engineer is to implement and deploy a small feature to Chorus. From what I was told, it is sort of a tradition. It was a great introduction to the department’s dynamics. In order to accomplish department objectives, we form teams to tackle each one. In every project or assignment, we get to work and collaborate with different team members.

There are also company-wide projects in which we get to work with colleagues from other departments. I had such an opportunity early on to work with Curtis Weyant, Jonas Sickler, and Craig Lockwood, as the only software developer on the team. I’ve learned a lot from my colleagues, engineers and otherwise, and what stands out is the shared values of entrepreneurship and invention.

Terakeet has many exciting engineering projects, I mostly work on developing new features and improving Chorus to make it the best tool it can be. It’s great to have your colleagues as end-users because it makes for direct collaboration of how to continually evolve our software.

Communication and Collaboration

Cross-department communication is fundamental for the success of Terakeet’s projects. We are constantly getting feedback, questions, bug reports, and possible feature ideas, so sharing and discussing these items further drive our efforts.

We mostly use Slack chat or video call because of its great screen-sharing feature, making collaboration and troubleshooting a breeze. It’s such an efficient tool for collaboration that it’s the go-to for communication most of the time. And it’s not just shop-talk, the usual off-topic is welcomed on the #random, #social or even #keetmemes channels. We take advantage of asynchronous communication because it doesn’t require constant attention. That allows us to dive deeply into solving a problem for hours without interruption.

Indeed, Terakeet has proven to be much more than just a remote position. It has given me the opportunity to work on important and challenging projects with many intelligent people.

I’ve had a wide arrange of commutes, the shortest being an hour each way. Before moving to New York City, I commuted by train for months from Connecticut. My train ride was two hours each way, totaling 20 hours a week!

Terakeet’s work-life balance has made this transition from on-site to off-site certainly worthwhile. I now make the most out of the time saved from commuting. There’s more work to do, more ideas to test, more books to read and more life to live outside of a railcar.

This is the second post in a three-part series about a day in the life of a Software Engineer at Terakeet. Read the other two posts here:

A Day in the Life of a Software Engineer: Coding Our Team’s Values
A Day in the Life of a Software Engineer: In The Office