Employee Q&A

Life as a Software Engineer

Andrew Mackie

"Well, one piece of advice would be that Calnex has handled onboarding me very well. Everything was so easy to set up, within a day I was up and running from home. I’ve been in constant contact with my manager and mentor, so it’s really helped me hit the ground running."

What did you study and where?

I studied first at the University of St. Andrews where I received a BSc in Computer Science. I knew I wanted to work with games but also wanted a general degree in computing for the versatility (which has done me very well!). After taking a year out, I returned to university to study Games Technology at Abertay University, where I gained an MSc.

How long have you worked with Calnex and what attracted you to join?

I’ve only been working with Calnex for 3 months now. It’s both felt like a long time and no time at all. I felt Calnex would be an interesting place to work because even during the interview process, people were friendly and open. It felt less like a stressful interview and more like a chat. Calnex was also an opportunity to try something a bit new and learn a whole different side of software.

What advice would you give to someone who is looking to change career during Lockdown (COVID)?

Well, one piece of advice would be that Calnex has handled onboarding me very well. Everything was so easy to set up, within a day I was up and running from home. I’ve been in constant contact with my manager and mentor, so it’s really helped me hit the ground running. With my previous job, I felt much more isolated with very little support, which was rather stressful. This hasn’t been the case with Calnex as there are daily meetings and helpful mentorship. Remote working can be tough, but some companies can do it very well, and if you are looking to change your job or career, finding a company that’s a good fit and supportive is definitely recommended.

What helped solidify your decision to join the Calnex team?

One of the things that surprised me most about Calnex and really made me think it was a company I could see myself working at, was that during the interview I wasn’t expected to know everything and one of the things Calnex liked about me was that I wasn’t trying to make things up to try and answer questions. I’m sure we’ve all had interviews before where it feels like every gap in your knowledge is held against you, so it was refreshing that I could be open and honest in an interview and still do well. It made me feel much more relaxed in the interviews which let me focus on learning about Calnex and the people there.

Please talk us through a typical day at Calnex?

Well, I take my 2 year old daughter round to my parents’ house between 8:00 and 8:30, depending on how long she fights getting ready in the morning. Then its back home (thankfully it’s a short walk) and PC on ready for the day. I catch up on the work I was doing from the previous day and then have the daily stand up at 9:30. After that, it’s mostly tapping on keys and navigating code with a quick break at lunch to grab some food and maybe a quick game of something.

What’s the most challenging aspect of your job?

Well, Sentinel, as my colleague and I calculated, has something like 1.5 million lines of code in various languages. I’d say one of the most challenging aspects of that is trying to get to grips with just how much code there is and what it’s all doing. Good thing I like a challenge!

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I love the attitude at Calnex, it’s quite laidback but focused. Everyone is very friendly. The culture is great, and even though I’ve only been here for a few months, it feels like I’ve known people for a lot longer.

Have you managed to build new relationships, joining the team during Lockdown?

Luckily, I joined before Christmas so I got to join in all of the Christmas fun with the virtual escape room and Christmas quiz. I’ve also been joining in with the Treat Tuesdays which have been great fun to just have a chat with other people in Calnex who I’ve not had a chance to meet yet.

Is there anything you are especially looking forward to when it’s possible to work in the office again?

I’d love to be able to play some badminton with the team on a Friday. I was getting soft around the middle anyway and working from home isn’t helping (fridge full of food is far too tempting), so getting back on a court and getting some exercise is something I’m definitely looking forward to again. On the other hand, I hear the cafeteria food was really good so I’m also looking forward to sampling some of that too!

What do you do for downtime?

Downtime? What’s that? When I’m not working at Calnex I’m usually spending time with my daughter, and after she goes to bed I quite often spend time either playing games or making them as a hobby. After things go back to normal, I’m hoping to join the Calnex badminton games and might look at doing martial arts again.

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