Skip to main content

Meet The Team - Following the Support/Junior Developer to Developer Pathway, Meet Jackson

· 6 min read

We sat down for a chat with Jackson Day, one of our Software Developers who has been with the company since May 2022. This piece has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

What is your role at Comet?

I am a software developer on one of Comet’s two development teams. I came up through the junior developer program and have been at Comet for almost two years.

How did you decide you wanted to get into software development?

I've always had an interest in technology, but in high school there weren’t a lot of avenues to learn programming or something in that arena.

So I did a music degree after high school; music degrees aren't the greatest for finding a job. While I was working as a receptionist at a physiotherapist clinic, I did a few free programming courses. I decided it was fun and completed a bachelor’s degree in IT.

What do you love about working at Comet?

There’s millions of reasons, including awesome work colleagues. Comet is an awesome environment to learn and grow my skills in, and is a cool product to work on. I absolutely love it here.

The flexibility is really nice too. It’s awesome being able to work from home a couple days a week; and being able to set my own hours, starting early so I can finish early. I very much enjoy the balance.

How would you describe the team culture at Comet?

Super friendly and super supportive. When you're going through the junior developer role you have a mentor developer and mine, Ben Frengley, has answered a billion questions for me. I sat right next to Ben, so was able to ask questions easily. It's great to have a dedicated person you can go to, especially while you are learning and before you know everyone’s area of expertise. And everyone else is still happy to help you out as well.

You're the second person to complete the junior dev/support to developer pathway. What was it like working for support before becoming a full time developer?

It's definitely a good setup. The idea of going from study to jumping straight into a developer role was actually kind of daunting. Having that year to work on some projects while you're going through the junior dev pathway, then through support, learning how to work with customers, and getting a good understanding of how the Comet software works was really helpful.

How did the role work with splitting between support tickets and developer projects?

Earlier on the role it was mainly working on the support team and understanding what the product is and how it works. I had a development project to work on pretty early because of my study. When support is less busy, you can then work on some developer tickets.

Any tips from working in support when you were a junior dev?

Just to really get stuck into what you’re working on. If you're on a tricky problem try to work it out. But if you're banging your head against the wall for too long, ask for help. You’ll find yourself asking lots of questions and know that it’s okay to ask questions.

What did you like best about the junior dev pathway?

The thing I like best about it is that it eases you into the development role. I feel like you're a lot better equipped for it than if you were just chucked right into the deep end. You get a really good understanding of how the product is used and the use cases for it, which is really helpful.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a developer?

When I was looking for jobs, it was a little daunting as I didn't have much of a portfolio because I was working full time and studying. I would say if you have the time, build up a  portfolio and direct it towards some of your interests. I think that would go a long way in the job hunting process. And if you're building up a portfolio you're also giving yourself more experience at the same time.

What do you like best about your role as a developer?

I love the constant learning and constant challenge. Sometimes the challenge can be tricky, but when you finish a project it’s really rewarding. You constantly feel your knowledge growing, which is cool.

What keeps you interested and inspired moving forward in the field?

For me, it’s seeing how incredible some of our developers are at their jobs. Sometimes I’ll ask someone a question and just watch them power through with so much knowledge. So for me, it’s growing towards that goal of being really knowledgeable.

Do you have any favorite projects that you've worked on?

Emoji support in the tickets – very important. It was a hackathon project.

Tell us more about hackathons at Comet.

For hackathons we have four or five days where we get to work on something in Comet that we just feel like working on, which is really cool to have a bit of freedom there. Then at the end of the week it’s cool to see what everyone built.

Some of the projects that people work on during hackathons do make it into the software, and sometimes they don't because they're more R&D or exploratory projects.

What’s your top backup tip?

Test your recovery process. People like to treat backup as ‘set and go’ and while we do our best here at Comet to make that possible as much as we can, it is important to test your restores and make sure the recovery process works as it should.

What are some of your hobbies?

Outside of work I like to tinker, I love to try new things. This year I've been making an effort to spend at least an hour at the end of each day on some kind of hobby. I've been learning to do some 3D modelling. Then practicing my trombone, working on music composition, trying to do a bit of game development. And then I also just enjoy going for a nice stroll.

You are originally from Christchurch, what do you like about living in Christchurch?

Christchurch is in a great location, there’s a bit of everything close by. You can easily get to the ocean and the mountains, and there’s lots of activities. The city also has good vibes, not too hectic.

We know everyone at Comet loves food. What are some of your favorite (vegan) restaurants?

My top three choices would have to be: Grater Goods Deli, Portershed for breakfast, and there’s Bonobo Cafe in Sumner.