Reflections of an employee

Kollin Murphy

12 / 31 / 2021

Background

Hello world! I’m Kollin Murphy and I’m one of the new recruits at The Aidia. To give you guys an overview of what my experiences have been just starting to work here, I’d like to give some background about me and about my experience.

I’ve grown up all around northern Utah, mostly in Layton. Now I’m living in Logan and attending Utah State University. I was first interested in computer programming when I taught myself drag-and-drop coding using Game Maker. I had a lot of fun then, but didn’t really get into it too much until I saw a need for an interval timer app on the Samsung watch that I had at the time. The Samsung Galaxy Store is a lot less crowded than the App Store or the Play Store, so the app that I wanted simply didn’t exist. So I wrote a basic timer app in JavaScript that did what I needed it to. When I’d finished it, I decided to try to get it published on the store. After quite a few rejections due to bugs or simply misunderstanding of how the submission process worked, my app passed review. Since then, I knew that problem-solving using programming was something I wanted to pursue.

I worked for about a year doing quality assurance testing for a company based in Orem. While I had a lot of good learning experiences and met and worked with great people, the company culture didn’t really click with me. I didn’t ever really look forward to going to work and felt unfulfilled. So I quit.

First Impressions

I first met Asher when he came to visit my web development class this past semester. His company was growing and it was time to hire some help. Asher was very professional, and in a room filled with quite a few JavaScript haters he talked about the full-stack JS structure that he uses to develop apps. Thankfully no stones were thrown and it planted a seed in my mind about The Aidia.

When I got an email from the CS department inviting us to apply, I finally decided to do it. I had already given notice to my former employer that I was leaving, so the timing was impeccable. Having sent in my resume and a link to my GitHub, Asher soon reached out and invited me to an interview.

The interview was conducted over Zoom and lasted for about an hour. I was happily surprised to see how much emphasis Asher placed on company values, work ethic, and what The Aidia stands for. He has a very clear aidia of what he wants this company to be. We talked a bit about my past experience. I was a bit worried about that because I’ve never worked with ReactJS and had barely worked with ExpressJS, but Asher knew that experience would come with dedication over time. Over the call we worked together on a moderately difficult problem that required some thought to find an efficient solution. Unlike most coding interviews, he actually helped me to flesh out my ideas for what kind of algorithm to use. This seemed more akin to a real-life situation, where you never actually work completely alone, but can collaborate with others whenever it’s needed. We eventually found a suitable solution and that was about the end of the interview.

Within a day or two of the interview, Asher reached out and offered me a position that I was happy to take. Taylor, who was hired at the same time as I was, and I went to a training session with Asher where we enjoyed some good food and also got a crash course on React, Express, JS data structures, and serverless code execution using AWS. It was a lot to take in, but it was a great introduction into everything I’d be doing here. Asher was very understanding of my busy school schedule and also allowed me to choose how many hours to work and when to work them.

So far I’ve been working primarily on one project. It’s been good because it’s allowed me to get a feel for lots of components of the project and I’ve actually had a lot of fun while working on it, too. The tasks I’ve been given have pushed me to learn more about ORMs, routing, and lots of other topics. Asher is always ready to help point me in the right direction when I come to a roadblock. He’s struck a balance between giving me the independence to work at my own pace while also meeting with me regularly enough for me to know what I need to do and how to do it.

Takeaways

Being a part of The Aidia, I’ve had a few surprises along the way and learned a lot. I was surprised by the stark contrast between the company culture here compared to my previous employment. Here, we are expected to do our best and have a high standard of integrity and independence, mostly due to the nature of remote work. Having said that, the expectations of us are not at all unrealistic. I feel like I’m being pushed to become the best developer that I can.

On a more technical note, having had no experience with ReactJS and close to none with ExpressJS, I’ve had quite a few lightbulb moments with those. Understanding how to use the Sequelize ORM, with lots of nested include statements, how to include/exclude attributes, how to make a relationship required, etc., was one such moment. Another was when I finally understood how the back-end communicates with the front-end via sockets in response to certain events. This is something I’d been wanting to learn about for a while and is something that I’m considering using in a personal project.

Concluding Thoughts

Working at The Aidia has not only been a great learning experience, but it’s also been fun! The Aidia has a great company culture that exemplifies integrity and diligence. I know that Asher is working hard to help me reach my full potential as a developer, and also to make great software that helps lots of people. The Aidia has been a wonderful place to work thus far and I’m looking forward to see what the future brings for The Aidia.

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