Meet Manon Heuveneers
A VivaCity Software Engineer
Tell us about your role
I’m a Software Engineer in the Cloud team. We look after how data is collected by our sensors and how it’s presented to our clients via the VivaCity dashboard and APIs. (APIs allow our clients to extract the data in a spreadsheet format.)
My role is to look after the dashboard and API – to maintain it, fix bugs and implement new features. My primary focus is the dashboard front-end (what the customer actually sees) which I love. Another part of my job is supporting other teams when we have a new ongoing project.
What’s a typical day like for you as a Software Engineer
People always say there is no typical day for me, but there is! My typical day would be mostly coding – things like implementing something new, fixing bugs and reviewing and testing colleagues’ codes.
In the Cloud team every day (except Thursday which is our ‘Golden Day’ where we try not to schedule any meetings) we have a standup at midday. We use this session to solve problems, so if anyone has any blockers we can come up with solutions together.
In the Cloud team we work in sprints of 2 weeks, with recurring meetings for each sprint. There is a lot of planning in each sprint. Once we know that we are going to be developing a new project we define what the projects are, liaise with the project team to understand what the requirements are and scope and prepare the different tasks that will be done.
How long have you been at VivaCity, and what were you doing before VivaCity?
I started at VivaCity in August 2021 and before that I was a Software Engineer at another company in London.
What are some of the big moments, achievements or milestones you’ve enjoyed in your role so far?
When I look back now I would pick the autonomy I’ve developed since starting. In the Cloud team we do front-end, back-end and a bit of DevOps work, so we are in charge of sending the code to the clients once it has been reviewed and developing the whole infrastructure.
This wasn’t something I was familiar with at all before joining VivaCity. At first it was very mysterious, but now I feel very comfortable doing that. I’m still learning a lot every day and there are some days where I’m doing something for the first time, but what makes the job great is problem solving and having a good team that is ready to jump in and help.
What’s the main thing you’re working on at the moment?
As well as our standard classification set – pedestrians, cyclists, cars, lorries and several more – there we have developed extended classes. This includes e-scooters detection. At the moment I am working on making our extended classes available across the sensor network.
What’s the biggest challenge of being a Software Engineer at VivaCity?
At the beginning of software engineering it was simpler because there was just one language. Now there are many. There’s so much to know and you want to be comfortable in everything, so the challenge is coping with the fact that you might not be comfortable with everything.
What is your favourite part of being in the product team?
One thing about the Cloud team is we really like being in the office, and personally I really like human contact. When I changed jobs one of the reasons was that I wanted more social interaction from my work.
I really like knowing that most days all the team members can be in the office and that helps build team spirit and also it means when you’re stuck or want to discuss something it’s easier to ask your team because they are just right there.
How would you say the company supports you in your professional growth?
What I really liked was when I joined it was time to set objectives. Alex, my team lead, asked if I had thought about my objectives. This was new to me. Previously I had always had my objectives given to me.
Being able to develop your own personal objectives it great. It allows you define the direction you want to move to. Some of the tasks and projects I’m working on were suggested to me and I was able to say “Yes, I would like to do that” or “No, I would rather work on something else”.
Every employee also has a training budget and I’ve taken some courses using that budget.
What are some of your hobbies outside work?
I enjoy yoga, cooking, reading and walking around London, discovering new places and having drinks with friends.
What would you say to someone who’s thinking of joining VivaCity the Product Team?
Go for it! Honestly, this is the best job I’ve ever had. VivaCity is so inclusive and social. It’s a great place for growth because you feel comfortable and supported on challenges ,and people are always willing to help. A big part of my day is filled with me being on my laptop coding but I honestly never feel alone because there is always someone willing to help. So yeah it’s the best job!