With the current talent gap in the technology sector, software engineer is just one of many jobs in which opportunities are plentiful.
For graduates excited about the notion of becoming software engineers, or second-level students eyeing up software engineering courses next year, it’s always helpful to know what a day in the life of a software engineer is really like.
César Alvernaz is a senior software engineer with computer software and services company, PTC. Here, he tells us about his job.
What is your role within PTC?
I’m a software engineer for PTC research and development centre in Dublin, currently working on the cloud services team.
If there is such a thing, can you describe a typical day in the job?
To me, it’s important to have some sort of routine to be efficient with the mundane tasks inherent to a job like this.
On the other side, the dynamics of a team and the different stages of the lifecycle of a project makes every day a different day.
I usually get into the office around 8.15am. At that time, the office is practically empty, that’s when I spend 30 minutes catching up on project-related e-mails and queries from other teams.
Aside from the daily status update meeting that takes 15-20 minutes, the rest of my morning is spent coding.
At lunch time, my co-workers and I get together in the company’s cafeteria. There, it’s time to relax and the conversations vary a lot but normally drift towards what we’re working on.
Throughout the day, there will be more conversations with my co-workers about the project, a bit of whiteboard drawing and coding.
I tend to leave the office early to avoid the traffic and still have time for my family.
What types of project do you work on?
I’m involved in the next generation of products from PTC. The company mission is to transform how products are created and serviced.
The strategy involves the use of the cloud and rapid feedback on the product lifecycle. Those are the projects we’re working on, cloud services for the Thingworx Platform.
What skills do you use on a daily basis?
In my current position, there is a combination of skills required, both management and technical skills. But I would say the soft skills are the catalyst for a good team dynamic.
Not all decisions are great decisions or the right decision, but being able to transmit and share ideas to the team provides a good environment to thrive and definitely impacts the result. Every day is a good day to learn or improve something, that’s where I keep my focus.
What is the hardest part of your working day?
I’ll say the challenging part of it is dealing with pressure, even though nothing really major has happened so far.
As an engineer, I was trained to think about and solve problems within a timeline, but rare were the cases where pressure was involved. The only thing one can do is acknowledge that situations like that will rise.
Do you have any productivity tips that help you through the working day?
Listening to the music works for me. Not all genres so I have my playlists.
The other thing that I recently discovered is that standing up helps me to stay focused (and all our desks are adjustable), so I keep rotating between positions.
When you first started this job, what were you most surprised to learn was important in the role?
I didn’t know a lot about the company and was definitely not aware of the transformation the company was facing. I think the word isn’t “surprised” but “excited” regarding the direction the company is heading.
Understanding you’re playing an important part of that change, keeps you motivated and focused.
What do you enjoy most about the job?
Nothing gives me more joy than building something you can be proud of alongside a group of people that share the same passion and will to succeed.
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