Day in the life series: Meet a full stack developer
Sancho Analytics continues to be an evolving product for our team at LigaData, with iterations from the back end to the front end to the UX and UI components still being implemented as we develop our final product. We thought it would be fun to reveal how our team continues to fine tune this product and how the experience, expertise, and background of our team members compliments what we are achieving with our “day in the life series” that spotlights different members of our talented team.
Zol is a full stack developer who specializes in hybrid mobile app development. He has been with LigaData for two years and heavily involved with the development of Sancho Analytics since its conception. We had the chance to sit down with Zol and learn more about his role and involvement on this project.
What did you want to be when you were a child? Did you dream of working in computer science?
Zol: “No, I actually was all about all sports, I loved to train and play sports. I was an athlete (competitive Martial Arts) so I thought I might go that route in life. Working on projects like Sancho, I feel that same camaraderie you get through sports, its always a team effort. I did enjoy math though (I know right!). I knew I wanted to do something related to mathematics, I have always been intrigued about how math intersects with so many aspects of life. I am also a problem solver by nature so that's another aspect about math that drew me in.”
What is your favorite part of product development? Zol: "When I have a challenge, I like to get in athlete mode and tackle the issue until its solved. In competitive sports, you have that winning mentality. That also translates to working in development. It may bring its challenges, but being able to work through complex concepts and coding language, and being able to see the end result is what motivates and rewards me. In developing the Sancho Analytics app, we are tackling multiple disciplines in relation to the user experience and continuing to pivot and improve functionality on both the back and front end. Our app utilizes natural language processing which lets us control how savvy the conversational interface can be. We can continue to “teach” Sancho to be more and more intuitive and recognize what is unknown to him. This has been really fun because we’ve essentially built the foundation for our app and can continuously improve its comprehension and intelligence.”
What is your least favorite part? Zol: "Changing story requirements in the middle of the process.” (A story is a product feature from the perspective of an end user). That has happened quite a bit with our app but it comes with the territory and I like challenges.”
Working cross functionally in a development role can always be interesting. Do you ever feel like you are being asked to build a golden unicorn? Zol: "Luckily no, most of my most recent requests are reasonable. I actually am the one that sometimes wants to build the golden unicorn. I like to push my limits outside of what I know. When I started working on Sancho Analytics, I knew I would be crossing uncharted territory working on an app that delivers analytics. Once we progressed deeper into our development, I saw an opportunity outside of the requirements for the app that I could really have fun running with with my developer brain."
What was the biggest learning opportunity you gained from Sancho Analytics in dev? Zol: "I have gotten very deep insight from the user experience since our target users are executives, and that has been really interesting for me. It's interesting learning how executives operate. A typical day for an executive probably doesn't exist. They are constantly in a state of change, pivoting, and executing. It has been really cool to put myself in their shoes within the framework of this app.
From a technical standpoint, I have had the opportunity to work with cross functionally with a variety of business lines (marketing, finance, sales) and learn more about what they do."
What is a full stack developer? Zol: "A full stack developer is someone who masters a variety of skills. A jack of all trades you could say. They need to be involved in front, back end, dev ops, database, etc. It requires a lot of effort and time. For example, when you go to a restaurant, a host may seat you, a server brings your food and the chef cooks your meal. In full stack, you might be the host, server, and chef but you will have a better understanding of how the restaurant operates when you do. That's the trade off." How did you pick up all these skills? Zol: "In college, I studied Informatics Engineering where I was able to learn about databases in depth. I got involved in mobile app development through courses and projects I took on during college. From there, I picked up the front end and back end concepts of development and was lucky to work with peers who had diverse backgrounds in computer science so I learned a lot from them as well. I also learn on my free time. I love what I do so its a career as much as it is a hobby."
What advice would you give to someone who is new to development that you wish someone would have given you? Zol: "I would say a developer should not learn new languages just in terms of syntax- they should know what differentiates each programming language, and how each language is best suited for what you are trying to achieve.
Also, learn to write clean code. Its a must!"