Updating Results

Xero Australia

  • #6 in Technology
  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees

Sabrina Swatee

What drives me is growth. Xero offers plenty opportunities to expand my skill set. This is what I love most about my job.

What's your job about?

Xero enables small businesses to save time by providing a cloud-based software which can be used to sort out accounting services. I am a developer on one of the Onboarding teams. The focus of onboarding teams is to provide customers with an easy setup process to get started quickly once they have signed up.

The services owned by my team are used by many teams within Xero, but mostly for onboarding purposes. For example, a piece of information relevant for small businesses is the industry it falls under - this is handled by one of our services which provides users with a list of industries based on their chosen country.

Every day is different and has its own take. As a team, we plan our work once every two weeks, known as a sprint. My daily work revolves around writing code for new features, bug fixes. I also have time allocated for learning. In addition, as a team we are constantly monitoring and maintaining our services. At the end of the sprint, we have a retrospective session to understand what method of working was effective, what were the pain points. I enjoy this iterative way of working and solving problems collaboratively.

What's your background?

I spent the first 11 years of my childhood in Dhaka, Bangladesh. My family migrated to Hong Kong after my father’s marine job changed from being at the sea to port. I knew from a young age that engineering is where I wanted to see myself. I studied electronic & communications engineering at the University of Hong Kong, followed by a masters in technology management. I worked in the field of education for over 5 years as getting into a career in engineering in Hong Kong was tough without being fluent in local languages.

My mother has been the biggest force in my career change into software development. She encouraged and pushed me to find alternative courses to get my foot through the door of engineering. I did a lot of research into courses, job prospects, location before moving to Melbourne to study at General Assembly’s web development immersive course. After 3 months of intense course, I had joined Xero as an intern, following onto the graduate program. I had gone through a change in country, culture, and career. This risk and experience has changed the trajectory of my life in the most beautiful way.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Absolutely! Anyone with a different background could do my job. The motto of my high school was “Strength from Diversity”, which I firmly believe in. At General Assembly, I studied with people from different cultural and educational backgrounds, ranging from hospitality to navy personnel. Diversity within Xero is highly sought after as it brings different ideas to the table.

For this profession, a certain baseline is required which can be obtained through bachelors, master or even a short diploma course. Characteristics needed would be logical thinking, good communication skills and curiosity to learn.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

What drives me is growth. Xero offers plenty opportunities to expand my skill set. This is what I love most about my job. I am not only developing the core technical skills, but non-technical as well - which includes public speaking and writing technical documentations. Through organised family coding day, career days, voluntary services, I also get to play my part in building the community besides building myself. These personal development opportunities really motivate me to keep moving forward.

What are the limitations of your job?

A developer doesn’t always get to code away and push features into production quickly. There are a lot of hurdles in between such as decision making, ensuring security. Other times, when the project is geared towards experimentation, there is a waiting period to get output of customer satisfaction. These waiting times can sometimes make my days feel unproductive. I try to fill times like these with personal development tasks.

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

  • Take more chances - if a risk such as moving to Australia could turn out so well, I wonder where I would be if I had taken a few more. Push yourself out of your comfort zone - it’s a beautiful place, but nothing grows there.
  • Don’t sell yourself short - often times we are too hard on ourselves and have negative self-talk. Give yourself the affirmation that you are worthy in a different way.
  • Ask for help - It’s okay to say “I don’t know” and we are not expected to have all the answers.