Every day, software engineers need to find a balance between collaboration, quiet time, helping their team ship great work, and spending time with family — including four-legged friends. We’re proud of how we’ve grown as a team, how we collaborate across disciplines, and our odes to programming languages.
Take a look at a day in the life of three Postlight engineers, and if you see yourself on our team, we’re hiring!
Wajeeh Zantout, Senior Engineer, based in Lebanon
Coffee: Morning coffee is my favorite way to start the day. The first thing I do is check my emails and messages on Slack. By the time I have updated myself on everything, I have a meaningful list of to-dos and know how to organize my time.
Focus time: Because of the time zone difference (Postlight is based in New York), my morning is free of interruptions or last-minute meetings. I can focus and deploy new work. I check on my direct reports and see how they are doing in their projects. I like to listen to ’80s rock or lo-fi music while coding.
Break time: I usually take a five-minute break from the screen every hour, where I walk or enjoy nature and the mountain view from my balcony.
Lunch with family!
US teammates hop online: Around 4 p.m. my time, my colleagues in the U.S. are awake. Our time overlaps here. After saying hi, I post my updates and questions to colleagues working with me on the same project. I take calls and do standups, all scheduled between 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., so that I don’t cross into overtime territory. If there’s a meeting I can’t make, I always receive notes afterward.
End of day: Before wrapping up, I post my progress and updates on Slack, and I make sure I have all the info I need to get working the next day.
Marissa Corrello, Senior Engineer, based in Michigan
Morning review: When I first sign on for the day, I get caught up. I look through anything I’ve missed, such as Slack messages and GitHub pull requests.
Async collaboration: On my current project, we keep meetings to a minimum. If I ever need help or have any questions, I post in our project Slack channel. When I started this particular project, I was new to Elixir, so I would spend part of my day going through learning materials to get up to speed. Now if I have any questions, I can pair with one of the other developers to find the answer.
Coding: The majority of my day is spent coding and reviewing my colleagues’ pull requests. Once I complete a feature, I look at the backlog of stories that are ready for development. Each engineer grabs new stories as needed and self-assigns. Once I’ve finished the story, I open a new pull request and start working. I sometimes have two-plus stories in progress while I’m waiting for them to go through code review, so that I always have something to work on while I wait. If you want to learn more about the specific expectations of a senior engineer at Postlight, look no further:
Walk the dog: Around the middle of every afternoon, my dog sits up and stares at me with anticipation, which means it’s time for our daily walk. It’s nice to take a break and reset, and it usually helps me come up with new solutions for the code I’ve been working on.
Wrap it up: After I get back to my desk, I continue to code until the end of the day. To wrap up, I add a few reminders for myself in the code, shut down my running servers, and sign off for the day.
Malcolm Peterson, Associate Engineer, based in South Carolina
Morning: My day typically starts around 7 or 8 a.m. by checking my schedule for the day and planning a period of heads-down work. Afterward, I head to the gym to get my mind and body moving. Then I shift into my workday. For two or three days a week, I work at a coworking space. On the remaining days, I work from home.
I go over my to-dos for the day, follow up on Slack messages, and clear my email inbox (any uncleared notification icon will throw me into a spiral). Then I pick up whatever task I was working on the day before. Previously, it was building out components in a design system, but now it’s shifted to building a new web service using TypeScript.
Into the thick of it: As I work through my tasks, I try to explain my coding decisions to Lupin (he’s my dog and the most available pair-programming partner I have). As I go, I take a ton of notes on concepts or terms to research later on. This usually leads to my picking a more senior engineer’s brain. Then I go back to my tasks, gather more questions, and rinse and repeat.
Meetings: I have a few meetings throughout the week both internally and with a client, but these are the most notable:
- Morning standup with my team, where we go over what we have been working on, potential issues or blockers, and what we will be working on for the day.
- 1:1 with my manager to discuss any pressing issues.
- 1:1 with my mentor, where I can ask questions about what I’m working on, pair-program, or gain perspective on what I should be working to improve.
- A meeting with the Black@Postlight, one of Postlight’s Employee Resource Groups centered around the experience of being a Black professional. We catch up with one another, plan events like lunch-and-learns, discuss potential outreach, and discover ways to promote diversity and inclusion within the organization.
Breaks: A huge perk of working remotely is that when I take a break, I can spend some time outside with my wife or play with Lupin. Sometimes taking a quick walk around the block can do wonders for clearing my mind and getting ready for whatever I have lined up when I get back to my desk. You’ll also find me in the #music or #games Slack channels, posting a cool new album I’ve been playing nonstop or praising a new game I have been playing.
Wrapping up: As the day winds down, I finish any remaining work and make my to-do list for the next day. As of late, I have been using a combination of the Notes App and UGMONK’s Analog System, and I really find that physically writing things down and keeping it in my line of sight helps me keep things in focus. I assess how productive I was during the day by looking over my to-do list and seeing what I checked off. I also have smart lights in my home office that are on a schedule that will change to a more relaxed theme at the end of my workday.
Winding down: As a new engineer, it can be hard to step away from work as there is always something new to learn. It could be that you want to refactor a function, or maybe some new idea has come to mind to debug the code you have been trying to fix for a good chunk of the day. I try to unwind by tooling around with my synthesizers or just doing some quick sketching in my notepad.
Final words, for those who need it (namely me): It is important to realize that at the end of the day, no matter how long I sit at my desk working, I will not know everything there is to know about engineering. It’s important to step away from the keyboard and relax.
“The more you know, the more you realize you don’t know.” —Aristotle
(Case in point: I have been using this saying for years and just learned that Aristotle coined it.)
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