Q&A with the 2021
RUSH grads

RUSH grads 2021

Bob, Jiaqiu and Junchen are all engineering graduates and while their time at RUSH so far has largely been during the late 2021 Auckland lockdown, they’re smashing it! After doing an “intro” to them on social media, we want to dive a bit deeper, get to know about their experience and give people an idea of what life is like as a RUSH grad.

What originally drew you to RUSH?

Jiaqiu: I have been watching RUSH for a long time. I heard about RUSH creating NZ Covid Tracer a year ago, and after looking on the RUSH website, the R/Vision projects caught my eye. I think that innovation and creativity are essential parts of success. I am so excited to be a part of that innovation here. Not only does the innovativeness of RUSH attract me, but also the way they treat their employees. I have a friend who worked here before I joined, and he praised how well he was treated and how the company feels like a family.

Bob: “Covid Tracer” or “Contact Tracing” is a buzz word going around and knowing that a local New Zealand company has developed this app to help save millions of lives is unbelievable. Imagine getting the chance to be part of the company! I did some research about RUSH and there were so many positive reviews from the employees, customers and how the company is using cutting edge technology - it made me not think twice of aiming to be part of RUSH.

Junchen: The idea of doing the right thing for the community was my main drive of joining RUSH. I definitely felt the same call.

How did you prepare for your interview to be a RUSH grad?

Junchen: I made sure I knew what I already knew really well, by thinking about the questions that were likely to be asked and practicing the answers. I also did some side projects that I could talk about to highlight and focus on my own strengths and made this a priority instead of trying to prepare for everything. And I made sure I was positive and confident when I came to the office.

Jiaqiu: I worked full-time before the interview, so I did not take too much effort to prepare my technical skills. The main thing I prepared was describing my projects and being myself during the interview.

Bob: I read a few blog posts on the website and got to know more about the company. The most important part was asking myself to see if my goals will be aligned with what the company is envisioning. This allowed me to formulate some questions so that I can clarify during the recruitment night. This also gave me the motivation and strengthened the “Why” I should put huge effort and do the best I can to land the role. Apart from that, I looked up some questions on the internet and practiced answering using the STAR approach. For technical questions, I got myself freshened up for logical programming questions by working on data structures and algorithms exercises.

How has your experience of your grad role differed to your expectations due to being in lockdown for 3 months?

Bob: It was like a rollercoaster. Initially, being able to go into the office and meet everybody in person was an awesome experience. When lockdown started, I expected things to be slightly different and I was concerned about the connection and communication between my colleagues. Thankfully, there were no major disruptions which could have impacted my work and learning experience. The squad is very supportive and everybody in my surrounding is always looking out and making sure I am enjoying what I do everyday.

Jiaqiu: My experience during the past three months generally meets my expectations. We had our first week on-site. It helped me get familiar with people in the squad and around the company. The downside of working from home for me is the noisy environment. The construction site and busy road outside my apartment cause too much distraction when I focus on coding.

Junchen: Lockdown definitely slowed things down a little bit, but I got a lot of support from the team and I managed to overcome the challenges and progress a lot.

What’s the support from your mentor been like?

Bob: I have been assigned a mentor for my two year learning roadmap as well as a technical mentor for the first six months. Additionally, I would say I have a lot of unofficial mentors that I have been working with closely on a daily basis.

Jiaqiu: My technical mentor helped me find the direction and higher-level direction. As a graduate, I am sometimes not aware of the potential side effects my code might cause. My technical mentor was always helpful in helping me find problems. The suggestions on code review always give me some insight on how to improve my code quality.

Junchen: My two mentors were both very supportive, they did a great job letting me explore the different tech stacks, procedures used in my last two rotations.

Bob: They always look out for me and make sure that I am doing what I love and am enjoying the process. As much as I have a plan of what I want to learn and work on, there would still be a lot of things that I have missed, overlooked or might want to give it a try. These gaps will then get picked up by my mentors and we set up a plan to work on it. The support that I have received is tremendous which has made my tasks more exciting.

Jiaqiu: My people leader helped me set up OKRs and get familiar with other people around the company. When I first joined the team, my people leader introduced everyone to me and helped me understand their roles. We also catch up bi-weekly to check how things are going on and review OKRs. It gives me a concept about how I did during the past few weeks.

How have you grown since joining RUSH?

Bob: I have been rotating into different fields throughout these months. I have learned so many things that I would not think I will be taking on within a short amount of time. Being used to working on side projects and learning or solving problems using stack overflow was not a bad experience. However, being mentored and guided by so many mentors is definitely a whole new amazing experience. Technical-wise, I have learned to look at the product from many different angles, focusing on end users and how we could build the process or solution to be scalable in the future. I have been given so many opportunities to take on new roles and be out of my comfort zone.

Jiaqiu: I have learned many technical skills during my rotation, like automated software testing, continuous integration pipeline, and Front-end development using React Native. I started understanding the actual commercial application architecture and knowing how to solve the problems. I also have developed soft skills by doing knowledge sharing and hosting retrospectives.

Junchen: It was a great chance to be able to have different rotations. I learnt both frontend and backend development during the last 3 months, and like they said: knowing the full stack helps you in your specialty. Apart from the obvious gaining experience with the tech stack we use everyday. I also progressed a lot with Scrum and projects, which was a surprise.

What advice would you give to other grads who are starting out their careers?

Junchen: It’s important to get the fundamentals right, you’ll accelerate faster with a good foundation. And don’t be afraid to show ignorance, even the most experienced engineer asks questions.

Bob: Beware of your strengths and weaknesses. Embrace everything and take it as a learning experience and most importantly learn from it. Happiness is important for human beings, so try to enjoy the process along the way. If there are obstacles, make sure to reach out because a lot of people are wanting to see you succeed. These are the things that I am still continuing to work on and remind myself every now and then.

Jiaqiu: Be confident and do your best. Just keep learning and exploring, and you will finally find something you would like to stick with throughout your life. During the interview, make sure you demonstrate what you know, and don't be afraid to say something you don't know.

What are you most looking forward to when we get out of lockdown? Both about getting back to the RUSH office, and in general?

Bob: I am keen to get to know heaps of people that I have not met before and during lockdown. And I am looking forward to practicing my table tennis skills when we go back to the office.

Jiaqiu: I miss the social events, coffee machine and air conditioner in the office.

Junchen: The studio and the lovely crew, as a “people type” I am definitely missing face to face communication a lot. And personally I really want a haircut haha.

RUSH grads in a knowledge share

Knowledge sharing session over video call with mentors.

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