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Instaclustr Insights: Meet Danyang Li

Instaclustr Insights - Danyang Li

NameDanyang Li
RoleSoftware Engineer
LocationCanberra, Australia

How long have you been at Instaclustr, and how has the company changed while you’ve been there?

I’ve been working at Instaclustr for almost three and a half years. When I started as an intern, we had a small office with about ten people. Since then we’ve grown considerably – both here and at new offices around the world. That’s been a huge change over the last few years, it’s been great to see.

Were you an intern at Instaclustr while you were at university?

Yes – I was studying for my master’s degree at the Australian National University, and one of my professors actually introduced me to Instaclustr. He said it was a really interesting startup (and was, conveniently, located near ANU). I’d walk over after class for my internship, and then it became my first job after graduation.

How did you decide to get into software engineering?

It actually wasn’t my original intention. I received a bachelor’s degree at Central University of Finance and Economics in China, but then realized I didn’t have an interest in pursuing a career in that field. Then at a conference, I attended a session from a software company discussing their technology and product and I thought, wow, this is interesting – this is something I could see myself doing. So that’s how I chose to get into computing, and it was the right decision. I really like the work of figuring out software solutions alongside my colleagues. It’s exciting to come to work each day.

What does your average day look like?

I’m usually using Java to make improvements to our internal platform, which we use to help customers with deployments and to launch their systems. Every day the work is different, and I love that. The projects, the tasks and the problems to solve change, so you never have the same day twice.

What languages do you know?

I use Java every day, and I also know Python and Scala, which I use depending on the project and problem.

How is engineering work structured at Instaclustr?

We do sprints and use an Agile methodology. So, we have a daily scrum for 10-15 minutes and report with one another about what we’re tackling that day and how projects are progressing. And we’ll ask each other for opinions and help. I find the process is great for letting everyone feel supported. People on our team work together quite closely, it’s cool.

Any advice for someone who’s at Uni and considering software engineering?

I’d say if you’re studying at Uni, don’t hesitate to find an opportunity to get hands-on experience. Be proactive. It’s smart to get some experience with software development and software in production before getting into the industry on a full-time basis. IT is a really broad area, and you’ll need to figure out, with some specificity, where your true passion is within the field. Then when it’s time to find a job, you’ll have a more accurate idea of what you want to do.

What’s your favorite part about working at Instaclustr?

I like that as a tech company, we’ve never been afraid to try new technologies and see what works best. Most of the solutions we work with are really cutting edge. It’s exciting. We’re not a traditional software company sticking to traditional tools. We’re using really innovative open source technologies, and helping customers get the most out of these solutions – it’s cool to see in action.