Software developer Q&A

Charting a path to success: Chalu's Grad Journey

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Woman with iced coffee

Chalu Jugo

Chalu joined our team in February 2023 as a Solution Developer, after completing her degree as an international student in Computer Science and Statistics at the University of Auckland.

Since starting, Chalu has worked with clients such as Mainfreight and First Security, and has dived into our social scene.

Chalu joined our team in February 2023 as a Solution Developer, after completing her degree as an international student in Computer Science and Statistics at the University of Auckland. Since starting, Chalu has worked with the Origin team for clients such as Mainfreight and First Security, and has dived into our social scene.

Here’s what Will Harding, our Head of Commercial, had to say about Chalu’s first few months: 

"Chalu has been an excellent addition to the team. She has quickly learned some tricky areas of the Origin platform, such as the important (but arcane) Supply Chain Engine and Templates, and is getting better and better with each release. 

She is quickly turning into one of our most dependable team members, and I'm looking forward to seeing how her career with us progresses into the future."

How did you feel on day one? If you could go back and offer yourself any advice, what would you say?

I was pretty nervous. I think I'd tell myself that things fall into place and not to be too hard on myself. It’s something I'm still trying to learn.

How did you find the transition from uni to full time work? Any obstacles or surprises?

It was a bit of a culture shock and I'm definitely still going through it. I think the hardest thing is that the structure you have as a student just suddenly isn't there anymore. Now I'm working in a team and my work impacts more than just myself. 

You think you learn a lot about accountability and communication in uni, but it comes into play really heavily in the workplace. I’m learning a lot and it’s not the same kind of learning that comes from a lecture theatre. It’s a lot of doing, and making mistakes, and asking for help, and learning from that. I do enjoy going home and not having to worry about assignments and exams, though.

What did your onboarding process at Sandfield look like?

I was introduced to probably every single person on level 1 on my first day! I then went through some mandatory training, and some self-guided technical training (SQL, C#, React) before getting into my development work.

Having a Sandmate was really good in terms of getting settled in. Pairing up with someone outside your team is cool- you get to know people you otherwise wouldn’t really get the chance to meet. My Sandmate Jack has been nothing but kind and helpful and I’m glad that this is something Sandfield does with their new starters.

"Having a Sandmate was really good in terms of getting settled in. Pairing up with someone outside your team is cool as you get to know people you otherwise wouldn’t really get the chance to meet."

Who has helped you navigate your early days with us? How did they impact you?

My team and the friends I've made have all been instrumental in helping me find my footing here. I bug my mentor Dong-Mei every two seconds about how to do x, y, and z, and she's taught me heaps so shout out to her (the resident coding-ninja extraordinaire) for putting up with my nonsense.

Any achievements or general highlights from your work with us so far?

I've added at least 4 new emojis to our Google Chat, just want to put that out there.

Any key learnings from your time with us so far?

I'm trying to learn as much as I can as I go. Every task is a new challenge that comes with its own lessons. We work with React, which was new to me, and I am still learning the ropes.

The backend is still a mysterious abyss to me, and it’s also been tough getting over the fear of making mistakes. Though It has helped having people on my team who have the patience to guide me through these things, and the learning process has been challenging, but enjoyable.

Chalu has also visited UoA for various Sandfield careers events. What do you enjoy about getting back to uni and speaking with other students?

I like talking to people so it’s been really cool getting to go back and chat with people who are in the same position as I was last year. It’s fun to talk to them about Sandfield, life after uni, what to expect after graduation, hear what their own experiences are like, etc.

Any social highlights this year?

Fun Food Fridays are always a good time especially when they turn into a night out. As an ex-Geoguessr addict I enjoyed the Geoguessr themed event.

Do you have any advice for graduates applying to work with Sandfield?

The application process was very smooth and straight to the point. In my application I kept my CV simple and relevant, and in the interview I honestly just made sure to be myself. There was a technical test but if you’re prepared, it should be all good. Ask questions, enjoy your interview, don’t stress!

Any advice for other new starters?

I'd say get involved where and when you can. It makes the adjustment so much easier and it makes work-life more fun in general. Also just take every opportunity to learn since you'll be surrounded by people who are rooting for you and willing to help you out.

What are your goals for the rest of this year?

Score a goal for the Scudders?! (our social soccer team) No but realistically, just work my way to becoming a better and more confident developer. Maybe curb my caffeine addiction.

Any passion projects/fun hobbies we should know about?

I draw (which you can see here). I also like Muay Thai, and I play guitar. Right now I'm learning how to play Girl Afraid by the Smiths, and getting semi-frequently interrupted by the (part-time) Swiftie in me wanting to play Taylor Swift songs only.