A Day in the Life of a Synctera Front-End Engineer

April 2022

Based in Canada, Jenni Street is a Synctera Front-End Engineer working on the developer documentation site, our tech platform, and t-minus10

Jenni’s pod FaaS and Furious helps make it easy for FinTechs to onboard and start building financial services


A Day in the Life of a Synctera Front-End Engineer

April 2022

Based in Canada, Jenni Street is a Synctera Front-End Engineer working on the developer documentation site, our tech platform, and t-minus10

Jenni’s pod FaaS and Furious helps make it easy for FinTechs to onboard and start building financial services

Jenni Street
Front-End Engineer

An accomplished full stack developer with previous financial industry experience, Jenni started at Synctera after spending a few years as a developer at a large bank. In addition to her job, Jenni is passionate about helping aspiring women break into the tech and developer industry

8:27 a.m.

My alarm wakes me up a little past 8am each morning. I’m decidedly not a morning person, so my first priority is always starting a pot of coffee. I make my breakfast (usually an everything bagel with cream cheese) and pour a mug of coffee with a splash of vanilla oat milk, and bring both down to my home office to get my day started.

8:50 a.m.

I get set up in my home office, which is located in a cozy corner of my basement. I chose this spot in my home because it’s a quiet, private place for me to focus. My fiancé also works from home, so having his office upstairs and mine downstairs is really ideal, especially when we’re both on calls. I start up my laptop and turn both my monitors on to get the day started.

9:00 a.m.

Since we’re a remote-first company, most of our communication happens on Slack. I begin my day catching up on any messages that I’ve missed. I also check out the company-wide channels to read through industry news, jokes, and check to see if any announcements or events have come up that I’d be interested in. Finally, I check for requests for bug fixes, and read up on discussions about projects I’m involved in.

Today, I come across a message in a channel for a project that I’m involved in: Synctera’s developer documentation site. A developer found a typo in the documentation, so I quickly reply to her thanking her for pointing it out, and open a merge request to fix it.

A big part of our engineering culture is to focus on quality, and to voice any concerns that we have to the relevant stakeholders. I really like this aspect of our culture, because we don’t consider our work to be done once code is merged – we’re all always striving to improve our product and help other teams do the same.

10:00 a.m.

I take a look at GitLab to see if I have any code reviews currently assigned to me. We use GitLab to host our code repositories and for issue creation and tracking – it’s basically our one-stop-shop for most development work. For folks who are just learning the space, GitLab and GitHub are different things – GitLab is a more complete tool that can be used across all stages of the software development lifecycle, whereas GitHub is used mainly for hosting code repositories.

Each pod (developer working group) at Synctera currently has a Front-end engineer, which means that we’re often reviewing code for another pod’s work. We usually assign our code reviews to one or two developers on other pods to make sure our work is polished and ready for prime time.

Today, I’m assigned to review a new feature for another pod. I go through code reviews by first reviewing all the changed lines of code, and then I check out the branch and run the code to test if the new feature looks correct. I find it much easier to review by testing, as well as reading through the changes. This feature looks great, so I approve the merge request and message the developer on Slack to let them know that it’s ready for to be merged!

11:30 a.m.

Time for my pod’s daily standup! My pod is named FaaS and Furious (FaaS stands for “Fintech as-a-Service”). Our team came up with the name together, which was a really entertaining exercise; we all brainstormed to come up with puns related to the work we do, and voted on our favorites.

My pod consists of one product manager, one technical pod lead, two Back-end engineers, and me as the Front-end engineer. My pod is mainly focused on onboarding new banks and FinTechs to the Synctera platform. We’re also the owners of the t-minus10 platform, a self-serve development and prototype experience that helps FinTechs onboard to Synctera and get their ideas to market quickly.

I give my update on the current feature that I’m working on which is a view that lets FinTechs run KYB (Know your Business) on themselves in t-minus10 and then see their results. I also tell my pod about the other tickets I’ve finished that currently need to be tested, and the other engineers on my team assign themselves to the appropriate tickets.

<div class="rt-btn-wrap"><a href="" class="button yellow w-button">See Jenni's work in action</a></div>

12:00 p.m.

After the stand-up finishes, I head upstairs to figure out what to have for lunch. Some days I’m lucky, and my fiancé cooks lunch for both of us. He makes a great tomato and egg noodle dish that is one of my favorites.

I also like to use my lunch hour to walk around the neighborhood and get some fresh air and sunshine during the work day. I pop my headphones in and take a quick walk around the block after I finish eating. I like to use this time to either go through my Discover Weekly playlist on Spotify to find new songs to listen to, or to listen to my favorite news podcast, Today Explained.

1:00 p.m.

After lunch, I send a message to our UX team to ask a question about the feature I’m working on. I want to know how we should display the edge cases of running KYB on the UI - for example, in the case of an API error, what specific type of error message should we show, and what colour should the the error banner be displayed on?

As a Front-end engineer, I spend a good amount of time collaborating with the UX team on designs and new features, as well as with the engineers in other pods. Our UX team provides design documentation and Figma files that I use to develop new features. I also reference UX documentation when fixing bugs, to make sure I’m following the best practices. In other words, the UX team serves as the architects to us engineers - they give us the blueprints and any other necessary implementation details, and we build the product and make sure that it looks and feels like what they envisioned.

2:00 p.m.

Time for our Front-end guild weekly sync! Once a week, our Front-end guild (made up of all of the Front-end engineers at Synctera) meets for half an hour to go over what we’ve accomplished in the past week, and what we’re working on for the rest of the week. It’s pretty similar to the daily standup that we all do with our pods, but at a less granular level and with a focus just on Front-end work.

This meeting is also a great opportunity to ask for advice and get help on anything we’re currently stuck on. I find it especially helpful as the only Front-end developer in my pod, since the other guild members often have good context on the issues I’m working on and can give pointers accordingly

2:45 p.m.

I hop onto a Slack huddle with another Front-end engineer to pair program on a bug he’s been working on that’s related to our developer documentation site. After talking through the issue, I realize it’s very similar to another bug I had fixed a few months ago, and we worked together to come up with a solution.

I really love our engineering culture at Synctera – despite being a remote-first company, I find it just as easy to collaborate and communicate with fellow engineers as if we were in an office together; I never have problems trying to get answers or get help with anything I’m working on.

3:00 p.m.

I have no meetings for the rest of the afternoon, so I take this opportunity to focus on finishing up my KYB feature. After discussing what needs to be done with the UX team, I know that I still have two views left to build out to cover a couple of edge cases.

4:45 p.m.

Once I’m done with my tickets, I go back into GitLab and re-review the requirements that were listed out for the feature. We use checkboxes in the ticket descriptions to keep track of what the requirements are, which I find super easy to follow. I check off the last couple of requirements on the ticket, and push my code to my branch (code branching enables software development teams to work on different parts of a project without impacting each other).

Time to create a merge request! We use pre-set templates in GitLab to make sure we provide enough detail in our merge request descriptions. It prompts you to add a brief description, a link to the ticket in GitLab, review considerations, and screenshots or screen recordings. I add a couple of sentences explaining what I’ve added and what the business requirements are, then take a quick screenshot of each view that I’ve built out, and attach it to my merge request. Finally, I assign it to a couple of Front-end engineers from two other pods.

5:00 p.m.

I like to take a few minutes at the end of my workday to go through my pod’s Kanban board (an agile project management tool) and see what tasks I have coming up, and make sure all of my tickets are in the right status. I move my KYB ticket into the ‘review’ column, and move my next ticket from the ‘Ready’ column into ‘Doing.’

5:30 p.m.

It’s the end of the day! I like to finish my workday with a workout of some sort – lately I’ve been taking virtual pilates classes that a local gym offers over Zoom. I close my work laptop and relocate to my home gym area to stretch and exercise in order to ease into my personal time.

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