Clara Tsang joined Commit in 2019 and quickly found a role as a front end developer with Procurify, a rapidly growing Vancouver-based startup in the spend-management software space. We sat down with Clara to hear about her journey with Commit and Procurify.
Could you tell us about your background and experience before joining Commit?
I graduated last year from SFU’s Systems Engineering program, which actually isn’t a software program, it’s an electronic systems engineering program. I was exposed to software, but definitely not much web development. I did a few co-ops — mostly QA positions. This was mainly manual QA and unit test writing. After graduation, I worked for a digital marketing firm focused on the automotive industry. They hired me to do web dev, even though I didn’t have much experience. I was working with WordPress, so mostly vanilla JS, jQuery, HTML, CSS and PHP.
What drew you to Commit?
I was ready for a change, but I thought it would be hard to get an interview with my current skills and not easy to gain new skills while working full time. I talked to Cong Ly [Responsible for onboarding new Engineering Partners] and Commit was ready to take me on and train me on the job. Joining Commit was an upgrade in every way. It actually sounded too good to be true: maximum flexibility with remote working and on-the-job training. Plus it was higher pay and I got to work with technologies and standards that feel more relevant to the industry.
What were you hoping to achieve when you joined?
First and foremost it was to level up my front end skills because at the time I felt that I wasn’t there technically. My one-year plan was to start looking into full-stack work.
How did your time with Commit help you toward those goals?
The first two weeks were focused on onboarding, where I started learning React by following along with the React docs; the project I was going to be placed on first was a React project. I was matched up with a technical mentor from Commit, who pointed me towards great resources so I could learn the stuff. I met up with my mentor a lot in those first two weeks.
How did you get connected with Procurify?
Early on, Cong said he had a project he thought would be a great fit for me. That was good for me at that point, because I didn’t really know what I wanted or needed.
Can you tell us about Procurify?
We make a spending tracking app for businesses, so I guess you could say our product mission is to make spend culture in companies faster, less complex and more transparent. They’re also trying to create an awesome place for people to work.
And how are they doing at that last goal?
A really good job. I feel like Procurify really cares about its employees and trusts them. They have a responsible time-off policy (AKA unlimited vacation), flexible hours, and there’s a lot of effort to be remote-forward.
Are you learning lots and developing new skills?
Definitely. I think that was the main reason why I decided to stay with Procurify. Everyone in the office seems pretty passionate about their job, which is pretty new for me, too. As someone who’s a bit newer to the industry, there are so many people there I can learn from. And in engineering, there’s a lot of initiative to keep improving things and stay up to date with the latest technologies.
What advice would you give to other engineers about joining Commit?
I’d say just do it. Commit is designed by engineers for engineers, so there’s something in it for every engineer — well, at least any engineer interested in continuous learning and working remotely. If you’re looking to learn a lot and work on different projects, there’s that option. And if you’re looking for a new company to join full-time, there’s that option too. It’s really easy to get lost navigating the world of nasty technical interviews and multiple-level screening that’s the reality in the tech industry today. Commit offers a better route.
Thank you to Ryan Abbott for writing this article.