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Life as a Software Engineer

Coloured lines going from through panels that make up a laptop screen. There are icons showing drinks and fast food items: a burger, a hotdog, a drinks cup, a slice of pizza and some noodles.

Software engineers are a key asset, helping to design, develop and maintain key operating systems that enable organisations to meet and exceed the demands of their business. This highly specialised STEM role is vital in helping Just Eat meet the needs of their customers.

Just Eat is part of leading global online food delivery marketplace, Just Eat Takeaway.com. The business offers a wide variety of food choice by connecting millions of consumers with over 205,000 restaurants in 24 countries around the world.

In order to do this, they employ an outstanding team of software engineers whose role is to make sure Just Eat has the software systems needed to meet the demand of their customers. The logistics involved require high tech solutions, cutting-edge software and a team of innovative and dedicated people.

Here we talk to Chloe Spokes about life as a software engineer at Just Eat.

Q1. What course did you study and where?

I completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science at Loughborough University. I chose to study this course because it covered a wide range of technology from Web Design & Development, Software and Hardware, which was great as I wasn’t sure what specific area of tech I wanted to specialise in.

Q2: How did you get your job?

During my final year of university, I applied for Just Eat’s two-year graduate software program. It involved taking a few logical tests and attending an assessment day… And I was thrilled when I found out I was accepted!

Going through a graduate programme was the best thing I ever did, it allowed me to rotate through different roles in technology and learn a variety of new things – this is great for those who aren’t too sure about the area of tech they want to focus in! During the programme, I received a lot of support that helped me build up my experience and confidence, so when I decided I wanted to focus on software engineering, I was ready.

I completed the graduate scheme nearly two years ago and have continued to work my way up the career ladder – from an Associate Software Engineer to a Software Engineer.

Q3. What’s a typical day like as a Software Engineer?

A typical day includes having a daily team meeting called a stand up. This is where the team gets together to discuss what they did the previous day and what our priority actions are going forward. This allows members of the team to raise any challenges they have so we can collaboratively work together to resolve them.

I then write some code to ensure our tech continues to run efficiently – sometimes this involves working with others (pairing) so that we can share knowledge and ensure the code we’re working on is of the highest quality. Once we’ve completed writing a code, we always test it to ensure it works smoothly.

I write code to ensure our tech continues to run efficiently – sometimes this involves working with others so that we can share knowledge.

A cartoon illustration of a laptop with lines representing code. The code appears and then the screen scrolls

Q4. What do you enjoy about your job?

I absolutely love working with my colleagues, we always come together and work collaboratively to ensure our customers have a seamless journey when using the Just Eat platform. I also love working across different countries and time zones as this allows me to improve my knowledge and further my skill set.

Q5. What are the challenges?

In Software Engineering generally, most of our challenges revolve around building something new in a way that fits a company’s requirements. Over time, company systems can become outdated so we need to ensure we always stay on top of this by keeping systems updated through either rebuilding part of that process, or building a new process for a new system.

Each company will have a different variation of similar challenges. And as software engineers, we always need to be able to understand what technology is being used as each solution may be different depending on the tech used.

Q6. In what way is your degree and work experience relevant?

My degree was very relevant as I was able to learn both practical and theoretical skills, which I can now apply to my everyday job. It also helped me get through the door with the graduate scheme in 2016. During my degree, I took a year out for an industrial placement – which I highly recommend. I worked at a small start-up web agency where I quickly took on a lot of responsibilities from building websites, to presenting to clients. Outside of university, I also freelanced and built websites for clients, which really helped me to stand out.

My industrial placement and freelance work was super valuable. This is where I actually built up the business skills, learnt how to do the work, improved my confidence and it also gave me the opportunity to learn from others.

Q7. How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?

I have been with Just Eat since September 2016. As part of the graduate scheme, I was able to rotate around different roles and teams, this allowed me to understand different parts of the business, pick up new skills and helped me to identify what I really wanted to focus on. After successfully completing the graduate scheme, I started working as a Software Engineer undertaking more and more responsibilities – I have since gone through the promotion process of becoming a Senior Software Engineer.

As well as coaching and mentoring other employees as part of my role, I am also a STEM Ambassador. As part of this, I have been able to reach out to young people across the country through various events and clubs to teach them about the world of tech.

My career ambitions include being able to continue developing my skills and in a couple of years I hope to pursue a Technology Manager role.

Q8. How do I get into Software Engineering?

  • Google can become your best friend
  • There are lots of free coding tutorials & courses that you can take
  • Get some work experience – summer internships or apprenticeships are the best experience for hands on practical experience
  • Find a start-up
  • Apply to jobs – keep an eye out for grad schemes and apprenticeships

Just Eat launched its STEM programme in 2018 and has since built a team of more than 100 STEM ambassadors who have worked with over 55 schools and organisations, reaching more than 26,000 young people, to inspire and educate them about careers in technology.

You can learn more about Just Eat at:

https://www.just-eat.com/about-us
https://careers.just-eat.com/

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WRITTEN BY

Chloe Spokes
Software Engineer, Just Eat

Chloe Spokes - a STEM ambassador

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