Aim High: Developing a Software Engineering Career at Zylo

Haley Ward

When I started to search for a  job in Indiana after returning from Texas, I was nervous. No, scratch that, I was terrified! I thought that no one would want to hire an engineer who only had a year of professional experience, didn’t hold an undergrad degree and was largely self-taught.

Right off the bat, I knew I wanted to work at a tech-based startup. So I started doing my research and looked for “Best startups in Indianapolis”. Which led me to this post about the best tech startups to work for in Indiana from  The Tech Tribute. After reading this list, I instantly wanted to work at one of these companies.

I started looking into each company; reading their stories, what benefits they provide, their culture, Glassdoor reviews, and more. After many hours of research, I decided I wanted to work for Zylo. Why? This post from Eric Christopher, Zylo’s co-founder and CEO, about the company’s values. Being able to read about the how and why behind the company’s values and culture straight from the CEO sold me!

Zylo’s Core Values:

  • Trust starts with me
  • Achieve big audacious goals
  • Grow personally every day

The next thing I did was look at their open software engineer positions. I didn’t see any associate positions, but I did notice a Senior Software Engineer position. I thought “What the hell? Let’s go for it!” I had nothing to lose and was pretty sure nothing would come from it. But it was worth a try.

About a week later, I received an email from Zylo’s Talent team indicating they wanted to have a conversation regarding future positions. When the call came, I found that they wanted to go ahead and go through the interview process. That initial process consisted of a introductory phone screen and then a phone screen with the engineering team.

Following that, I was invited to complete a coding challenge and then a visit for an on-site interview to discuss my completed challenge results. I must have done pretty well: Zylo offered me a position as an Associate Software Engineer.

My Team at Zylo

I’m sure most people feel nervous when they start a new job, but I was extremely nervous. What if I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing? What if they ask me a question and I sound like a complete idiot?

As I write this post, I just celebrated my six-month work anniversary at Zylo. I can honestly say I work with some amazing people! No one makes you feel stupid for asking a question. My opinion actually matters. I can offer suggestions, input, and feedback, and I know my peers will take it seriously.

Lastly, and this is extremely important for me: Everyone here helps each other. Anyone on the team will take time from what they are doing to help teach you something or help you when you are stuck. In my previous jobs, I have never encountered all of these in one place.

A New Career

I’m not going to say my previous dev job was easy, because nothing in life is easy, but it definitely was not as challenging as my role at Zylo is now. At my previous job, I mainly focused on styling features and only really worked on one to two components at a time. I never experienced working on features, only fixing style bugs.

At Zylo, I’ve worked to solve bugs but I’ve also officially finished building and deploying my first two features. Which, I have to say, is the best feeling. Creating something new from beginning to finish and actually seeing your work in the Zylo SaaS management application is absolutely amazing!

Answering Professional Challenges

In the beginning, I struggled with knowing when to ask for help versus researching the problem more. I’d only work on an issue for an hour or so before I’d go and ask for help. After a while, I realized that wasn’t fair at all for the other person. I was essentially making them do all of the work.

Now, I exhaust all avenues, come up with a list of everything I tried, and the resources I looked at. Then I reach out to someone on Slack, providing them the list above and asking for help when they have time.

I experienced bouts of imposter syndrome while teaching myself about front-end development, but I know it will eventually go away. Like everyone else, I have good days and bad days.

I absolutely hate leaving work unfinished at the end of a week, let alone the end of the day. But then I remember that this is normal. You will have days where you work on an issue all day or week and the solution is one line of code!

Last Thoughts

I tell myself every day that I am lucky for getting this job. I’ve never been this happy at a company and I am looking forward to going to work the next day! We are doing some amazing things and I am super happy to say I am a part of Zylo.

About the Author

Haley Ward

Haley Ward is an associate software engineer at Zylo. A native of Greenfield, Ind., Ward transitioned to software development following a career in healthcare data and IT. When she’s not creating high-quality code, you can find her practicing yoga, reading, or gaming.