Get to know Propeller’s world-class team in our ongoing employee spotlight. Today, we talk to Jesica Saussay, who serves as a front-end software engineer on the engineering team. Jes is based in Sydney.
What do you do at Propeller?
I’m a front-end engineer on the visualizer team. I work alongside Andy, our team lead, and Mahsa, who is also a front-end engineer. We build the tools that help Propeller customers manage their site—anything from creating a measurement and rendering a report to exporting a map and organizing all the design files.
We work in two-week sprints where we can really focus on the things we choose to pull into that two-week period. Mahsa and I do a lot of paired programming. It’s a great part of the job.
What’s the most interesting project you’ve worked on so far?
One thing I really enjoyed was working with Tony and Coops on the innovation lab team for a few weeks. It was interesting tackling different problems. I did a lot of work on lambdas, which has been really helpful with the recent work my team has been doing to improve the customer experience of a new feature we’ve been beta-testing.
Tony gave me an introduction to WebGL and explained how we use it in the app. He’s really passionate about this kind of stuff, and it was a good opportunity for him to share some of his knowledge across teams.
What’s your career background?
My career background is a little mixed. I studied digital media and worked as a graphic designer for a few years. I changed roles to a digital production supervisor at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) where I worked with a team that looked after video compression, editing, and graphic design work.
I did a part-time course at General Assembly, 60 hours in total, and I managed to get a job as a developer after that. I worked for a year at Domain, a digital property portal, as a junior full stack developer, and I learned so much.
After Domain, I worked at a language education company called Berlitz, where I helped build a design system. I really grew as a developer and learned a new set of skills. After six months there, I left and came to Propeller.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Coffs Harbour, which is five hours north of Sydney and home to the Big Banana. Australia does big things, and I think the Big Banana might have been the first of them.
Other big things include the Big Shrimp and the Big Potato. I really like the Big Potato because it looks just like a big rock. The Big Shrimp was going to be taken down because it was so faded, but they gave it a good paint job and decided to keep it.
Coffs Harbour is a really small beach town, and most people either go to Brisbane or Sydney. I had family in Sydney which is why I moved here.
Before working at Propeller, what’s the strangest or most interesting job you’ve held?
When I was studying digital media, I enjoyed working part time at a CD shop. It was a small—just me and my boss.
We also sold merch for bands, so I got to see a lot of live music during that time. One of the most memorable was Alice Cooper, which is a huge show. The shop has closed down now because CDs aren’t really a thing anymore, but we still keep in touch.
Any talents, secret superpowers, or fun facts about yourself to share?
I really like learning languages. When I was in school, I learned Japanese but all that I can remember now is the song “Heads, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes.”
Earlier in the year, I went to South America and started learning Spanish. There’s also programming languages, as well.
When I was at university, I did a bachelor of languages. I studied French and linguistics. I wouldn’t say it’s a talent, but I think I definitely have a passion for language.
What’s your favorite Propeller memory?
Definitely the Hackathon. Mahsa, Esther, and Mamo, and I worked together to build a meeting room app that used face and emotion detection to give real-time feedback on the participants’ engagement using emojis, and speech synthesis. If people were looking bored, it would say something like, “I hope this meeting improves.”
It was a bit of a rollercoaster. We only had 24 hours to get a prototype ready for the demo, but we were really happy with our end result.
Do you have an office nickname? If so, what is it and how did you get it?
My surname is Saussay and some people pronounce it “saucy.” In Australia, a lot of nicknames come from shortened surnames, so I tend to get called Saussay or “saucy.” I guess if there’s a nickname, it’d be one of those.
This relates to the next question about my favorite emoji.
What’s your favorite Slack emoji and why?
I like to use the ketchup bottle as my Slack emoji because in Australia we call ketchup, sauce.
What’s one thing you wish people understood better about Propeller as a whole?
I really enjoy working at Propeller. It’s such a great company, and I’m constantly telling my friends this. We work on different things every sprint, and we’re always learning new things. I work with such a great team; they’re all really supportive.
I recently went on a site visit with Chris Illuk, and it was such a valuable experience. Now, when we talk about new features and designs, I can put a face to some of the features we’re building, and I think it helps me make better decisions as a developer.