Clarence Chee is a software engineer. He started his Indeed career in Singapore, and is currently in Austin, Texas since January 2020 for a year-long rotation.
I’m currently working in the Small and Medium Business (SMB) Growth organization, specifically, the SMB Spender Team where we primarily manage the job posting and sponsorship funnel for SMBs worldwide.
Our mission is to enable SMBs to quickly create high quality job listings which effectively attract qualified candidates for a clear and transparent price.
The SMB Spender team comprises a promotions team which I am a part of, where we build, experiment, and iterate, upon promotional offers regarding SMB job sponsorships. My general day to day involves building, optimizing, and maintaining fullstack products for the team.
I joined Indeed through the New College Graduate (NCG) program in July 2019, and have received a lot of support throughout the journey so far at Indeed. What’s great here is that Ideas are solely valued for what they are – a newcomer has the potential to contribute just as much as a full timer, which feels quite empowering.
As part of the first NCG cohort, we were split into two groups, working on separate projects. Through friendly competition and challenges, the two groups were working towards the end goal of being picked to spend a year working at our Indeed head office in Austin, Texas.
Quite frankly, when I found out my team had “won”, I was initially in disbelief because the other talented participants did very well too; I was not expecting to pull out ahead. (Well, we did only barely win so my disbelief makes some sense!)
I was excited to relocate to Austin in January this year because I thought it would be a great opportunity to learn and experience what it’s like working at the headquarters of a large tech company, and then contrasting that with how it’s like at a smaller office like Singapore.
I am pretty accustomed to working in the states due to my prior experience working in the Bay Area for a similar duration.
However, what I was not expecting was the whole pandemic situation.
Being able to work from our Austin office has been great in learning how things work at scale from a different organization than what we have in Singapore.
Largely, I would say the culture at Indeed is pretty homogenous, even across different continents, but being able to contrast this domain knowledge against how things are done in other Indeed organizations can reduce the friction that might often come with cross-organization work.
Career aside, the Austin Domain office has utterly ruined my expectations of what an office should be like.
There’s constantly free food and drinks everywhere, game rooms (game consoles/table tennis/pool tables), baristas, sandwich bars etc. There’s even a full fledged gym in the office which I frequent after hours. One can quite literally live in the Austin office… it’s pretty crazy.
Unfortunately though, Indeed moved all employees to work from home in March this year. Having to work from home, especially in a foreign land where your usual support structures like family and friends are missing, can be quite interesting.
Regular exercise is shown to be extremely beneficial in a time like this, so I generally try to do that as much as possible. Also, I am constantly trying to make the most out of my time here, doing all the usual touristy stuff, experiencing Austin and Texas in general, while staying safe from the virus whenever I can.
That said – and I know this sounds cheesy – but being away from home does make me miss my family, friends, and my girlfriend.
I guess when you’re sort of away from home for a long time, you start to appreciate the things that you take for granted in Singapore – like good cheap food anytime, anywhere; functional public transport; safety etc.
Also, being in the Austin office may be nice and all, but sometimes I miss the smaller, closer knit community the Singapore office had, which just felt cozier to some extent.
It’s nice being able to see familiar faces everyday, which is quite a rarity in the Austin office where you see completely new faces almost everyday.
Even though I started as a new grad and am now a software developer in the SMB organization, I think one thing that has helped me is having a general curiosity about how things work and having the drive to see things through; it can go a long way.
Especially in software engineering, finding a healthy balance between being a pragmatist and a purist, can help in making better, quicker decisions in the long run.
For anyone who is starting out in their engineering career, at this experience level, I think they should try to look for ways to display leadership potential, since that’s the next step up after joining as an NCG – a tech lead.
I think most engineers at Indeed already do this, but try to “own” the products that you build rather than just getting things done. This means constantly thinking of ways to be futureproof, and responding to product issues/bugs as a first responder with executable action items or solutions.
Engineers with this experience level at Indeed are probably also fresh college graduates who did very well in school, so I would say it’s important to drop the ego and always listen and value ideas no matter where they come from.
I also think it’s worth keeping yourself up to date with software engineering news in general by reading engineering articles/blogs about how different companies solve problems, and doing some light reading about engineering technologies after hours.
To learn more about Indeed’s New College Graduate program, click here.