Our Software Engineering intern Adi is probably one of the busiest people at Mastt outside working hours. He's now in his third year of the Bachelor of Computer Software Engineering at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS). We're curious to know how Adi could maintain his good grades at uni while smashing goals at work.
I'm a Software Engineer intern at Mastt. I was doing software engineering at uni and looking for an internship in my second year because it is a requirement of my degree.
I had heard about the company through my brother, who used to work at RPS, one of Mastt's clients. On my first day, the founder and CEO, Doug, invited me to the office and asked me about what I wanted to do. It was a very easy-going day one and I've been with the company since then.
What drew me to software engineering was having the ability to impact the future through technology.
When I was in high school, I was only interested because I thought it was easy. As I got more into it, it's just fascinating how it can apply to almost every field. No matter what you're interested in, you can create software to fix a problem. I was struck by the rapid pace of technology and the opportunity to be a part of that growth. Right now, I can see myself doing software engineering forever.
At first, I was just working on small bug fixes. But recently, I worked on something bigger - the Documents page! It hasn't been released yet, but I have completed most of the back-end and front-end work for it.
It's so cool to see a section of the app that you built from scratch. As an intern, working at a startup like Mastt gives you the chance to create a tangible impact like this. Plus, working in a small team means that the work you put in is highly visible. Can you imagine, ten years down the line, someone using Mastt and opening a document on the page that I built? It's pretty amazing to think about.
In software it's all about building solutions to real problems. That's what makes your work matter. Meanwhile in a uni project, when you're working on a university project, there's no real problem to solve because there's no client who will be using the software. And once the project is over, nobody cares about it and you never think about it again.
Whereas working on an actual product, it's completely different. You're talking to real clients about their problems and they care about what you're building. It feels a lot better to work on a product that's being used by clients.
Initially, I tried to give it an even 50/50 split. But the more I got into it, the more I realized how important work experience is in this field. As a software engineer, it's not what degree you have, it's what you know and can do. So I decided to focus more on my work at Mastt, work longer hours and then just do uni work on my own time outside work.
I would say when you are in uni, you have a very vague notion about how the industry and how the tech works. You don't know what it's like to go to work, have a team and do all these things. Working at a company as a student helps me understand what I would be spending my time on as a software engineer. It gave me the awareness of the directions I could take my career.
My direct supervisor is Jamie Cerexhe, the Head of Engineering. He is really approachable. We can have a fun conversation and hang out with everyone when he's not busy.
Working at a start-up, I would say you don't really report to one person. You're a part of that team rather than working under someone in particular. This was pretty cool because I felt more empowered to give my opinions to the team and work together as a whole.
I’m of Nepalese descent and lived in Nepal for 13 years. Back there I lived in a massive household of 30 people. I grew up with cousins younger than me that I had to take care of. I helped out with cooking for the family.
In Nepal, when you're doing stuff for your friends and family, we don’t say “Thank you!”. If I ask you to do something for me, it's expected that you would do it for me because we're friends and family. Whereas here, I noticed people always say thank you to each other because they want to be nice to each other. Even if it's your friend or family, you still have to be nice to them.
I like hanging out with friends, obviously. I read a lot of audiobooks, mostly fantasy ones. The most recent one I listened to is “Dune”. People would imagine I would listen to programming stuff but no. I do have my personal programming projects after work, but when it comes to entertainment it’s different.
I'm recently into doing some organizing work for the company D&D (Dungeons & Dragons) sessions.
The first thing is, don't underestimate yourself. You might feel like you don't know anything because you're a student. But that is really not the case. Everybody here is easy-going and you can approach anyone to ask questions.
Secondly, I would say feel free to ask questions a lot because that's how you learn. There's no such thing as stupid questions, only stupid people that don't ask stupid questions.
Lastly, working in a start-up is tough because people won't always have the time to help you and there will not be as much structure. On the other hand, that allows you to grow exponentially. You are given the responsibility to do your own work. If you put in the effort, you'll have the potential to grow a lot.
Oh my God, the beer!
Just kidding, definitely the people. At some other workplaces, it's common to have colleagues who you don't consider friends. But that's not the case at Mastt. Here my colleagues have become my friends. We regularly hang out after work and play games together. When we're working, it's easy to approach them to ask any questions. That makes Mastt a great place to work at. I will miss a lot of that dynamic when I leave.
For our open job opportunities, visit mastt.com/careers.
This week as part of our Women in Construction series we interview Chloe Stephenson, an Assistant Project Manager at Arrow Projects. Chloe is a Wiradjuri woman and passionate about projects that “close the gap” between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.
Mastt wins the coveted Software of the Year award at the 2023 ME Digital Construction Awards.
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