July 22, 2021

Inside Cronofy with Shannon Walker from the Engineering team

Our latest instalment of interview series Inside Cronofy: with Shannon Walker, a Senior Software Engineer in our Engineering team!
7 min read
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Mark Harbottle
Head of Talent
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Welcome to the latest instalment in our Inside Cronofy: interview series where we sit down with members of the Cronofy team, to learn about the various projects they work on. Today we speak with Shannon Walker, Senior Software Engineer in our Engineering team!

So Shannon, please tell me about yourself and your role at Cronofy

My current role at Cronofy is as a Senior Software Engineer. The bulk of my work lies mostly in the front end, and some of my responsibilities include designing and developing features, working on bug fixes, reviewing pull requests, writing documentation, things like that. I am looking to do more work that's a bit more full-stack as well because up until now, I've mostly only been in front-end. I'm looking to expand my skillset a little bit.

Great, and how long have you been with Cronofy?

I joined at the beginning of January this year, so going on almost seven months now!

And what were you doing before you joined?

Before I joined Cronofy, I was in a very similar role for a company that specialises in HR and payroll software. The project I was working on mostly in that role was converting their payroll software from a desktop application into a cloud based solution.

Could you tell me about a project that you're working on right now?

I'm working on a number of different projects right now, but the main one that I'm always focused on is to improve accessibility across all the different products that we have at Cronofy. One of the reasons I really enjoy this project is because I think improving and implementing good accessibility helps break down barriers for disabled users, but it also improves things for everybody. It's not just disabled users that you're making improvements for at the end of the day.

Amazing. And so what is your role within this project?

So this was a project that I kicked off myself when I joined Cronofy. I have the full support of the company to start it off, but accessibility is something that I'm really passionate about. I wanted to take charge and lead the project to implement the improvements.

Okay, so who else is involved in this project?

Pretty much the entire dev team! The reason I say that is, for example, one of the things that I've done so far in the project is implementing a basic accessibility auditing tool. What this tool does is on our local environments - it will highlight any accessibility violations into the console so any developer working on the website can see it. We're taking the approach of leaving things better than you found it. If anybody working in any area of the website spots an accessibility violation, it gets flagged and you can just fix it as part of the work that you're doing within that area. So implementing a tool like that takes the pressure off just one person and allows the entire team to have a hand in fixing and improving things.

So why is this project important?

Most people like to think of accessibility as only really applying to permanently disabled users. But really all it takes is one accident or a temporary medical issue for anyone to struggle with the same barriers and the same issues. The more we can do to lessen those barriers or reduce those difficulties, the better it's going to be for all our users. Really at the end of the day, it boils down to having empathy for your users.

What is it that you're enjoying most about it then?

Improving accessibility in a product that has already been so well-developed can be quite challenging. I've come across some interesting issues where I don't always know the best way to fix things. There's a lot of learning involved and I'm by no means an accessibility expert - which I'm hoping to change! I am studying for a qualification as a Web Accessibility Specialist, but there's just been a lot of very interesting problems that I've come across. On top of that I know that the work that I'm doing is helping to improve things for everyone, which is really satisfying!

Is there anything else that you want to add about this project?

Just the fact that it's really refreshing to work in a company that takes accessibility seriously. It's often the thing that gets put on the back burner in favor of feature developments and is often deprioritized unless you're reaching the very basic level of requirements that you legally have to. It's so refreshing to work in a company that actively wants to improve things fully and is giving me the capacity and the agency to do that.

What do you enjoy about working at Cronofy?

One of the things I honestly enjoy a lot about working at Cronofy is the culture. There is a very strong culture of trust and open communication working here. It's also a culture that is consistent across the business, which is something that is not always the case. I've often seen companies with different subcultures for different departments, whereas here, the culture is consistent for everyone. It's really nice to see that everyone is invested in improving things and everyone believes in the culture that we have here.

Finally, what would you say to anyone who's considering applying for a role with us?

In short, I would just say go for it. I actually hesitated applying to Cronofy because at the time we were only advertising for Senior Engineers, and I wasn't quite at that level. But the way that they were talking about the culture and the principles listed on the website was really appealing to me so I decided to just go for it and try anyway. You don't know till you ask! I think if you want to work in a company that has a great culture, that trusts their employees and genuinely cares about them, then I would definitely say apply.

We hope you enjoyed the interview and the insight into Cronofy's culture. Don't hesitate to head to our Careers page to see our current open positions or to submit your CV to our HR team.