Aisling McCabe is a Dublin based Frontend Engineer and Mentor at Flow. We sat down and chatted about how Aisling was drawn to engineering, her experience at Flow and how fish fingers played a significant role in her career.
What drew you to software engineering?
I love solving problems. I started out as an actuary working in the insurance industry, where I built models to mitigate the company's claims risk. After a year I decided it wasn't the right career for me. One event in particular stands out, where a young boy had been badly hurt after eating a fish finger with a hook in it, which clarified for me that I wanted to be closer to the real life impact of the work I was doing.
My next move was into Investment Banking, where I got to work on trading systems. I loved diving into issues to see what was broken but would often get to a point in debugging where my hands were tied and I had to pass it on to an engineer. Eventually, that became quite frustrating.
So, I finally decided to pursue a postgraduate degree in Computer Science at Imperial College in London.
What draws you to frontend development?
YuDu is where I started my tech career and I was into a bit of everything: backend systems, iOS, Android, web, Flash… you name it! When I moved on to Gilt, I took on a role specializing in frontend development which I loved because of how product oriented the role was… I am very product focused. I really enjoy working on the parts of the product that end users see and see how the end users interact.
What’s been the best part of working at Flow?
For me, the people are the biggest part of Flow: There is a great culture of collaboration and a real sense of belonging. The organization is at a very exciting stage of a start-up. We found our place and are driving for market share. Everyone is playing a part in the journey we are on.
In particular, it’s been great having the opportunity to work alongside Mike (Bryzek, Flow’s CTO and Founder). I joined Gilt not long after he left, and during my time there, it always struck me how well revered he was. Everyone had great things to say about him... which are all true! I really support his philosophy of building quality software efficiently. Being API-first enables us to develop the frontend and backend in parallel, while standardising on the technologies we use means engineers can switch between projects and still be impactful from day one.
Additionally, I enjoy working in ecommerce. I do the majority of my shopping online, so as a product oriented developer, it’s always great working on products that you’re also a consumer of.
What’s the most interesting part of working on Flow’s Tech?
Everything we do and everyone at Flow is so ambitious. Right now, I am working on building “The World's Fastest Checkout” and we are getting there. We are always questioning our assumptions and continuously improving our work. It’s a collective process, so those 3 elements make it a pretty impressive organization.
We build products that are atypical, in a good way! For Checkout, the app reacts and updates the backend on every single user action. If an update to an address field means a shipping option is no longer available, we will reflect this in the UI straight away, rather than waiting for the entire form to be completed before computing this information.
Tell us about Flow’s Mentor Program.
The mentor program is a cross functional onboarding process at Flow. All new hires are assigned a Mentor from another department to get acclimated with the entire organization. To date, I’ve paired up with people from sales, compliance and tax.
I enjoy seeing how over time the conversations shift from answering general questions about Flow, like who’s who, what the different departments do, etc., to open discussions around the insights and learnings they’ve had and the impact they’re making at such an early stage. I come out of these conversations having learnt something new myself.
I feel the program really helps develop well-rounded people and gives everyone the chance to feel part of the organization as a whole. It speaks to the strong culture of collaboration and inclusivity at Flow.
Thanks for sharing your background and life at Flow Aisling!
If you’d like to learn more about life and opportunities at Flow, please checkout out our Career Page