Inside Tic:Toc / Tockers

Ershadi, Software Engineer

5 min read

Bailey Underwood

We chat with Tic:Toc Software Engineer, Ershadi, to discuss her role at Tic:Toc and her career journey so far. Gain insight into life at Tic:Toc through her unique lens of experience.

Joining us in early 2020, Ershadi has been a driving force behind Tic:Toc's super slick frontend experience. Working directly on our Tic:Toc Home Loans platform, Ershadi has also been pivotal in the implementation of user-facing components within our XAI Validate platform. We caught up for a deep-dive into her role at Tic:Toc, as well as her journey to get there.

How did you hear about the role?

Moving abroad and starting over in a new country is one of the most terrifying yet exhilarating adventures ever. The first thing I did after finalising dates to move to Australia was to start looking for jobs. Having worked as a Software Engineer, I started looking for Software Engineering opportunities in Adelaide. I stumbled upon a job advertisement posted by Tic:Toc on LinkedIn which seemed like a perfect match for my skills, experience and qualifications. I didn't think twice about applying for the position. Today I am ecstatic that I found the job ad and applied.

What was it like to apply for the role?

After moving to a country at a time when a pandemic was overtaking the world economy, I was happy to pick up any work — let alone work with an innovative tech solutions provider. All I heard from the morning news was the death toll and the unemployment rates. I heard news about people getting fired instead of hired.

However, there were a few job ads and when I saw the job advertisement from Tic:Toc, I was thrilled to see the job role matching my skills and experience. The more I researched the company, the more I learned that Tic:Toc had innovative genes in it. It was overwhelming to find out that Tic:Toc has offered eligible customers full home loan approvals in less than an hour. I always enjoyed being part of an innovative team building cutting-edge technology, and I was looking for a company which builds 'cool stuff' rather than standard boring software. I wanted to work at a company that shares some of my values, and I believed Tic:Toc was the perfect place. I was dreaming to work with the team who developed the world's first online instant home loan platform. Joining Tic:Toc is a dream come true.

Tic:Toc offers an open floor plan where employees of all levels and departments work together in the same area. This ascertains the fact that every employee's contribution is recognised and the leadership is accessible to the rest of the staff

Ershadi

Tic:Toc's office is quite open and airy. Does this differ from your previous workplaces, and do you prefer it?

Tic:Toc's office is quite similar to my previous workplace, but Tic:Toc provides better ways to collaborate through its inherent structure. I like when the place I work is like that. It makes it much easier to collaborate with team members. Especially when multiple people are working in a shared space, it's uncomplicated and refreshingly informal compared to travelling from one cubicle to another for collaboration. Open offices naturally allow for the organic generation of conversation, where new ideas and concepts are discussed regularly. I also like the fact that Tic:Toc offers an open floor plan where employees of all levels and departments work together in the same area. This ascertains the fact that every employee's contribution is recognised and the leadership is accessible to the rest of the staff, providing a flat hierarchy.

Is Adelaide your hometown, and what do you enjoy about working in the city?

Adelaide is not my hometown. I lived in Sri Lanka before I came down to Adelaide in February 2020. Adelaide allured me with its mesmerising beauty and charm ever since I set foot in Australia. Adelaide manages to keep a relaxed environment while providing everything I need or want from a big city while bursting with different cultures, events and entertainment. Simply, it is a city big enough to offer everything I need and small enough to ensure we get around and appreciate it. Working in such a city is breathtaking and a dream come true for me. The office is accessible via all transportation methods and you can also do a bit of shopping on Friday evenings after work or hang out with friends to appreciate the social life. Not to forget the myriad of lunch & coffee options within walking distance to the office providing us with mini adventures, trying out new tastes each day. Isn’t it awesome to work in such a location?

What was the most important lesson you learned from your previous role?

There are multiple lessons I learned during my previous role. Earlier, I worked in an innovation-driven company which developed solutions for a Fortune 500 company. We had giant brands as our clients & we developed a lot of proof of concepts and solutions to address their problems. I was typically involved in the process of technical research, designing, developing, and delivering the solutions. The most important lesson I learned from my previous role is to ‘never let the client design the solution’.

The worst project outcomes occur when the client has an opinion for what the solution looks like and refuses professional expertise because they think they know the business and our software. These projects almost always result in an inefficient outcome, a support nightmare that never ends, and we were always blamed. The best projects happen when the client explains a business issue they want to address with a technological solution. Then a team of experts from the software development company meets relevant people including the end-users to understand their processes and the users’ objectives. Finally, a solution is designed using the tools best suited for the business problem. These projects result in the highest customer satisfaction.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to get into a similar role?

Being a software engineer is the best job in the world for me. I love coding and getting paid for doing what I love is just awesome. But there is an inevitable need to refresh yourself with the latest technologies to thrive in this field. When it comes to software engineering, I believe my motto is “always keep learning”. Whether you are about to start your first software development class, preparing to enter the job market, or have had a career spanning for thirty years, it is always important to keep learning. As you focus on mastering your specific skill set, you should also dabble in new frameworks, technologies and anything related to your field. It is straight-up 100% impossible to know everything about programming. Nobody knows every programming language, every single method that's out there, every library and framework, or the perfect solution to every problem. Don't worry about learning everything, just focus on what you do know and try expanding that. The software industry can be extremely volatile, and new projects can come and go very quickly. Don’t be surprised if you have to completely retool your skillset to match the current demands of the job market. Having experience and interests outside of your niche skill set can help you stay employed and marketable for new opportunities. Adaptability is key.

How do you stay up to date and keep your skills sharp?

As a developer, staying up to date is the most important skill to survive in the world of tech. Because everything changes rapidly. I personally follow https://medium.com and http://dev.to to keep myself updated. Also, local meetups are a great way to connect with people in my area and discuss new technologies. Being engaged in a local IT community is healthy and beneficial on a personal level as well. Connecting with people who are passionate about coding will boost productivity and knowledge. I was part of such communities earlier and I recently joined a few more chatbot developer groups in Australia as well. So, participating in meetups and events in my area and becoming an active member of the IT community is another way to keep my skills sharp.

What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?

As a naturally positive person, I’m motivated by what I strive to achieve every single day. My faith motivates me each morning (except for Saturdays) and so do the people in my life that I’m grateful for.

What are you reading or listening to right now?

These days I’m reading Happy (and other ridiculous aspirations) by Turia Pitt. I’m still halfway through the book. But with the chapters that I have read, I’m sure this is going to be one of my all-time favourites and the go-to book when I need to elevate my happiness. The author is a living proof that depicts with the right mindset anything is achievable. Caught in a grassfire while competing in an ultramarathon in Western Australia during 2011, Turia suffered full-thickness burns to 65% of her body. In this book Turia goes on a quest to answer the question, is it possible to be happier? She talks about practising gratitude, working on kindness, self-love, strengthening relationships, accepting the hard times and how bad days help lead a happy life. Turia unpacks all of the above with easy-to-implement tips and strategies, hilarious insights into her own life and relationships, and introduces us to some of the world's most fabulous people along the way, including Leigh Sales, Scott Pape, Maria Forleo and Mick Fanning. Most importantly, the advice offered in this book is so ‘do-able’, that I am already building so much of it into my life. It is a joy to read and the most helpful tool for anyone who needs a nudge in the direction of improving their ‘happiness’.

What hobby are you into right now?

I have different hobbies at different times. Whenever I feel like I need to do something new, it eventually becomes my hobby. Early on, I had the benefit of good counsel to understand the difference between hobbies and career. Hobbies are what we do away from work, they are the keys to the doors of rejuvenation. I’m a crazy dog lover, so I‘ve done a lot of voluntary work for the welfare of dogs as a hobby. Also, back in the day, I was modelling for small businesses. Modelling helps me forget myself and take on different characters and understand things from various angles. Not to forget, it is thrilling and rejuvenating to perform in front of a camera! Moreover, there were some days I enjoyed designing clothes for myself, friends & family. Anyway, those were my hobbies back in the days. Then I moved to Australia in February 2020 and Coronavirus hit the world. This restricted me to stay indoors most of the time and when I realised that making new dishes was my latest addiction, I’d already gained 2kgs! Some of those dishes were utter failures but making them kept me occupied and happy during the bad days. Now with some COVID restrictions being eased, it’s probably high time for me to explore South Australia. This spring, I’ve started to wander around the stunning vineyards of the Barossa Valley, and I’m sure for the next few months I will continue to enjoy the elegance of this beautiful land.

Interested in a career at Tic:Toc?

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