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Software Engineer for Insurance Company

Q: Where are you located?

A: I am based in London, England, UK.

Q: What is your role title?

A: My role title is Software Engineer.

Q: In your words, describe what you actually do?

A: As a software engineer, I write, test and maintain code for various software applications. I collaborate with other teams like business analysts and UX designers to understand requirements, then design, develop, troubleshoot and improve the software.

Q: How long have you been doing this role for?

A: I've been a software engineer for around 5 years.

Q: How did you get to this point in your career?

A: I studied computer science in university, completed some internships at tech companies, and started out as a junior developer after graduating. I gained experience and worked my way up to my current role.

Q: When it comes to remuneration, what are your three B’s? (Base, Bonus, Benefits?)

A: My base salary is competitive. I am on a base salary of £60k and also get an annual bonus based on company and personal performance. Benefits include health insurance, retirement contributions, and lots of time off.

Q: I’m not going to ask you who you work for, but, what industry is your company in?

A: I work at an insurance company which is owned by a large UK insurance group.

Q: When it comes to work flexibility, is your work primarily office-based, fully remote, or a mix of both? Which do you prefer? Does your company allow you to be flexible?

A: I have a mix of office and remote work. I go to the office several days a week for meetings and collaboration, but can also work from home when I need more focus. I like the flexibility to do both. My company is very open to remote work.

Q: What does an average week or a typical day look like for you? Can you walk me through your day? What time do you arrive and start at work, what are your main tasks/responsibilities, who do you interact with, what meetings do you attend, etc.?

A: I get to the office around 9am, check messages, then usually have a standup meeting with my team. Later is focused work time to code new features or fix bugs. I'll have some meetings with other teams to discuss requirements. I leave around 5 or 6pm.

Q: What does a typical day look like when things are going well vs a more challenging/stressful day?

A: On good days I'm very productive, knock out tasks and feel I accomplished a lot. Stressful days have too many meetings, unclear goals, and distractions.

Q: What skills or knowledge are most important for your day-to-day work?

A: I need to have strong programming skills in languages like Java and JavaScript. Communication and collaboration are also really important.

Q: What are some examples of recent accomplishments or contributions you've made in this role?

A: I recently led development of a new claims processing feature that helped increase speed. I also did some cloud migration work that improved reliability.

Q: Do you have a supportive manager and do you feel valued?

A: My manager trusts me and values my input. I feel supported.

Q: How much time do you spend collaborating with colleagues vs working independently?

A: It's about 50/50 independent vs collaborative work. Coding is solo but meetings and planning involve others.

Q: Is there anything you wish you would have known before starting this role?

A: How many meetings there would be! It's much more collaborative than school projects.

Q: What do you hate most about your role?

A: Dealing with unclear requirements or scope creep is frustrating.

Q: What do you love most about your role?

A: I love solving problems with code and building things that help people. Seeing it go live is very rewarding.

Q: What’s the next role for you and when do you hope to achieve this?

A: In 2-3 years I hope to be a team lead or a senior engineer.

Q: Is your next role going to be with the same company or a different one?

A: I plan to stay with this company for my next role. I like the culture here.

Q: What’s one piece of advice you could give to someone who aspires to reach your position?

A: Keep learning and trying new things. Technical skills are important but so are communication skills.

Q: It’s Day 1 for someone in your role. What one piece of advice would you give them to succeed?

A: Here is a piece of advice I would give to someone starting in a Software Engineer role:

Don't be afraid to ask questions. As someone new, you're not expected to know everything right away.

Whether it's asking about how the codebase is structured, clarifying requirements, or figuring out who to talk to about a certain issue - don't hesitate to speak up.

Even if it feels like a silly question, chances are others will have the same one! Asking questions shows you want to learn and will help you get up to speed faster.

Software engineering involves constant collaboration. By reaching out early and often, you'll be setting yourself up for success in ramping up on the role and the company.

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