A Developer’s Story – Clair Sebastian

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She loves to code and believes her code can speak for her, and it works as a better starting point than the ‘tell me a bit about yourself’ bit at job interviews. So she and Geektrust were a perfect match for each other.

Meet Clair, now Principal Developer at Geektrust, helping developers like her find jobs that match their potential. She’s really not good at talking about herself, so it took some time to get her story out.

Clair Sebastian, developer, mom, mentor, movie and travel buff
Clair Sebastian – developer, mom, mentor, stickler for good code and other things

How did you start coding

The computer science wave had just hit India when I was going into college. So my father suggested I enrol for BCA and I just went with it.

I was never a studious kid but once the classes started I immediately took a liking to computer science. It was all about being logical and analytical. There was nothing to memorise or struggle to learn. Here I was learning concepts and getting an understanding of their practical applications. I loved it and I went on to do MCA at Mount Carmel.

At the end of my MCA, I got a job at ThoughtWorks through campus placement and started my career there.

What about coding gives you a kick

There is a creativity to writing beautiful code. Code that won’t drive you crazy 1 year down the line or code that others can extend or build on in the future.

There is a right way/best way to do everything. In code if this is done, it’s actually a thing of beauty. I learnt that from my peers and seniors at ThoughtWorks. It’s not like a rigid template. Everybody has a thought process of how to solve a problem, and a way of expressing or implementing that solution. Working with different people, you get to see different thought processes and ways of working, and you get to evolve your way from your own learnings.

I’m a stickler for writing code right even if there is a deadline. If we don’t spend the required time now, we’ll spend more time and effort later. Such a waste!

So the fact that coding is both logical and creative, and you can create something beautiful with it is what gives me a kick.

An interesting challenge

At ThoughtWorks I worked on different projects. On many of them I built the product from scratch. On some, I helped enhance, maintain, write tests and in general improve an already existing code base. A lot of people think building something new is the only interesting thing to do but I loved staying through the journey of the entire product cycle, taking care of smaller details and it allowed me to get a different kind of learning. Now I always think about complete end-to-end solutions instead of just developing a piece of code.

At Geektrust some of the interesting things I worked on was building our online IDE, creating our Tame of Thrones challenge, building our events engine, and now we’re working on our most ambitious product yet – an AI tool that can evaluate code like humans would.

What made you shift to a startup, and in that Geektrust

I took the Geektrust ‘Know Your Market Worth’ test and got a figure that piqued my curiosity. I pinged Sneha (co-founder) and asked her what’s this number I see! She said, there are companies willing to pay that much and to write code on Geektrust.

I wanted to look for a job, but I was apprehensive to put myself out there because I had known only ThoughtWorks. I didn’t even know what they’d ask at interviews these days. I knew my code can speak. With code, there’s an ice-breaker to help me ease into a good interview.

One day I got a notification from Geektrust that Geektrust is interested in hiring me. I love what Geektrust is doing. The kind of challenges and evaluation they were doing was superb – something I loved as a developer. They were addressing the very problem some of my peers and I were facing. I got on board and joined the mission.

How is it different to work at a startup

Here I do a lot of things I never did before like working on frontend and UI. I still have a lot to learn. I get to decide what we are building, what has to be done and set the pace myself.

I think at startups the work is more creative by nature – finding a way to solve a problem that affects people or improves status quo. I get to experiment, try out new things and if you’re a problem-solver, you get to influence what the product is. In an MNC, work is more templatised and mostly you know what you’re supposed to do.

Indian tech industry

I’m amazed at how much excellent work is happening in India and right here in Bangalore. Newer problems being solved here, inspiring ideas and founders – I find all the companies we onboard really interesting. But finding people who can really bring their skill and thinking to the table has been a challenge.

I’m sure there are developers out there who want to solve real problems, take on newer challenges rather than the old ones. I believe if we do this right – if we can help people find those challenges – we can really influence the quality of tech being built in India.

And that’s Clair’s story. May she continue to inspire and mentor, and help people discover their true potential.

About Geektrust

Geektrust is a platform for technologists to find interesting opportunities. We meet inspiring people and companies in our work, and we see some great code written by our users. So we started the Dev Stories blog post series recently, to bring stories of different developers to the world. Hope you enjoy reading them as much as we love writing them.

If you’re passionate about programming and looking for interesting companies, sign up and get started.

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