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Employee Spotlight: Katie Clark, Backend Senior Engineer at Sendwave

Katie Clark, Backend Senior Engineer at Sendwave

ARTICLE SUMMARY

Katie Clark is a senior backend engineer at Sendwave. we caught up with her about her career so far and life at the money transfer service.

TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR CAREER JOURNEY AND HOW IT BROUGHT YOU TO SENDWAVE?

I graduated with a degree in Mathematics with Computer Science in 2009 and went into employment as a software developer for a small company, working directly with and being mentored by the CTO. I discovered my love of programming as a teen, via my passion for computer gaming and a desire to learn how to build mods for games. From my first job I moved onto larger companies and engineering teams, with a natural path toward data analysis and eventually machine learning and deep learning.

A couple of years before I left my last role, I became part of a newly formed Data Science team. Here I gained vital experience that has helped me in the fraud detection team at Sendwave.

Having spent most of my career working in Digital Marketing, I wanted to be part of something more in alignment with my personal values and spent many years looking for the right fit. Sendwave stood out to me not only because of the company mission and the fact I was looking for fully remote work, but compared to other companies I had applied to, I really enjoyed the hiring process and felt valued and respected.

WHAT IMPACT DOES THE SENDWAVE ENGINEERING RETREAT HAVE BY BRINGING ENGINEERS TOGETHER?

Katie Clark, Backend Senior Engineer at Sendwave

Unfortunately, I could not attend the engineering retreat due to health reasons, however, I will join one the first moment I can. Like most engineers, I’m fairly introverted. However, there are so many people in the department whom I feel I could call my friends despite never having met them in person.

I would love the opportunity for informal chats with everyone, as well as cross-team brainstorming and generally grasping who is the best go-to person for various technical knowledge.

HOW DO YOU THINK COMPANIES IN THE INDUSTRY CAN GET MORE WOMEN INTO TECH ROLES?

Making the women who are already in the industry more visible can help inspire others who might never have considered a tech role. It’s also important to create genuine opportunities for those who have discovered an interest later in their career and are looking to make a switch.

I was overjoyed to see a member from a non-technical team in our company seek some direction and spend her time learning to code, to then secure a position on the engineering team.

IN YOUR OPINION, WHAT TRAITS MAKE A GREAT MENTOR AND PEOPLE MANAGER?

I’m in the process of moving into a management role, so this is something I think about a lot. My current manager at Sendwave is someone I feel I have a lot to learn from – she is always considering tasks not only in terms of what needs to be done, but what opportunities for growth each task provides. Team members are often challenged but never overstretched, and a support system is always in place. I hope to emulate this as I take on the role.

WHAT DOES YOUR DAY-TO-DAY ROLE AT SENDWAVE INVOLVE?

Every day is different, but from a broad perspective, I attempt to support my teammates by providing feedback on their work, helping troubleshoot unusual problems, and providing my knowledge or my take on things as we plan and prioritise tasks. And as a risk engineer, I take analysis provided by our data experts and implement processes that can catch fraud based on identifying suspicious user behaviour patterns.

HOW DO YOU AND YOUR COLLEAGUES COLLABORATE EFFECTIVELY AS A FULLY REMOTE COMPANY?

Katie Clark, Backend Senior Engineer at Sendwave

Culture and social norms are important for fostering a healthy team environment, but I think the hiring process is important too. We look for people who actively enjoy collaboration and have a desire for personal growth. This naturally creates a good foundation for effective communication.

There are no real individualistic incentives or anything to drive a competitive nature. We are working towards a common goal, not only as a team but as a company, and it feels good to be part of something bigger.

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