Instaclustr Insights provide meaningful insights into team members’ work lives. This time it is Evan Van Der Ploeg – Lead Software Engineer, Cassandra Team, Instaclustr.
What does your role at Instaclustr entail?
I’m a Lead Software Engineer in the Cassandra team, where I support an agile development team in delivering impactful changes in the Cassandra domain. This means working with team members to navigate technical issues and value tradeoff decisions. Also facilitating team rituals and driving towards continuous improvement. I am also able to spend some time making changes myself.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I usually start the day with a coffee, catch up on messages or emails that have come in overnight—actioning any I can, before developing a plan for the day then joining the team’s daily standup. The rest of the day involves assisting my colleagues in any way that I can, attending meetings, and working on bringing changes through our development lifecycle—and a second coffee! I usually end my day catching up with team members in Europe via video chat.
How did you first get interested in a technology career?
I first got interested in technology when I was young, maybe 10, and my parents bought a computer, an Intel 486. My brothers and I spent many hours playing around on it (I still have no idea why my parents bought it as I can’t remember them ever using it). I did not really consider a career in technology until high school where they played a video about the technology field and immediately I decided that it was what I wanted to do.
And your formal education followed in that path?
In my final year at high school a few friends and I convinced the school to run a new course “Information Systems” (the teacher was learning as much as we were). I then did a Bachelor of Software Engineering at ANU and completed with honours.
When did you join Instaclustr—and why?
I joined Instaclustr in August 2018 after 5 years at Orion Health. I joined Instaclustr because I wanted to work somewhere that was focused, had a clear value proposition, and great opportunities for growth. I also wanted to try out new technologies and work with good people. Instaclustr has delivered in spades… and coffee!
What’s been your favorite part about Instaclustr since joining?
I am tempted to say teaching various new starters how to use the coffee machine, but what really gets me excited about working at Instaclustr has been working with quality people, dedicated to delivering changes that benefit our customers. I have also been impressed with how quickly things can change here, both in terms of tools and process as well as general team structure.
In your opinion, what makes someone a good fit to be in the Dev. Team?
To be a good fit for the Instaclustr Dev team they would need to enjoy a challenge and want to understand how things work. It is a technical domain, which makes this very important! They should be comfortable working closely with others within a team, and willing to put their hand up when they need help—no one can know everything. They also need to be motivated by being able to take an idea, develop, verify, and deliver it. Liking coffee helps!