From Biochemistry to Coding

Meet Austen Sutherland, a Junior Developer at PartnerStack. He’s one of the faces behind PartnerStack's awesome product.
Jamie Rubenovitch
Jamie Rubenovitch
January 11, 2018
From Biochemistry to Coding

Meet Austen, a Junior Developer at PartnerStack

Unlike many other developers, Austen started off his career in biochemistry. After meeting with our CTO, Neil Chudleigh, Austen decided to try his hand at developing. Despite not having any previous experience, Austen was determined to learn and do so quickly. Working on a few challenges and projects, Austen quickly developed his skills and began contributing to the team.

What made you want to become a developer at PartnerStack?

The developers at PartnerStack were unbelievably helpful when it came to gearing me up. They taught me the best practices, helped to point me in the right direction, and helped accelerate my learning tenfold. More importantly, they helped show me an entirely new mentality. Unlike in biochemistry, where I continuously strived to find the one correct answer or to follow preset instructions to a problem, development required a buffer for invention. The issues I was facing were completely foreign to me, not to mention the languages were entirely new. I had to get used to facing the unknown and finding the right answer at the time rather than the only answer to a problem.

Switching from sciences to developing forced me to rethink how I approached challenges and helped me to approach new problems with tenacity and curiosity. More importantly, it made me get comfortable with being wrong.

In biochem, if you saw something that you had no idea how to solve, you had to defer it to someone else or research the correct method. In coding, you continuously face new problems — problems you’re often discovering. Your mentality changes, you see something you’ve never seen before and instead of being distraught; you have to keep approaching it and eventually, you’ll get it right.

What’s a cool project you got to work on?

Two projects I’m particularly proud of are Challenges and Links.

Links Feature

Links were the first big infrastructure project I got to tackle. Working on a project as integral as links, forced me to learn a lot of new things, quickly. More importantly, it helped me fully understand the benefits for both partners and companies.

Challenges Feature

Challenges was a great project because I was able to create something entirely new.

Since the Challenge feature was one of our most requested features and one we’ve never fleshed out before, I was able to flesh out my process. I got to ask a ton of questions, gather feedback, and plan out something meaningful. Challenges were driven by hundreds of tests and results, and I’m sure it’ll help countless companies change how they engage with their partners.

Challenges is a new PartnerStack feature
Easily reward partners for reaching a milestone, submitting a field, or responding to a poll. Challenges are an excellent way for companies to amplify their partner programs. Companies can boost signups, sales, leads, or even motivation whenever they launch a challenge and reward for them within the app. The feature set to release in January 2018.

PartnerStack according to Austen

PartnerStack is a small but talented team. We’re super concerned with culture and the people that join today are helping define culture, not just fit within it. Beyond that, PartnerStack is growing, and it’s exciting. Since we’re still a gearing up, there’s tons of autonomy and freedom to work on the projects that drive real results.

Why PartnerStack?

We’re approaching partner programs in a way few have before. We have a chance to not only solve existing problems for companies but help define best practices. The companies and partners we’re working with, as well as the features we’re building, are challenging the existing methods for tons of current partner programs. Every day we’re working on new features, problems, or experiments - who wouldn’t want to work on something like that?

PartnerStack is currently hiring! If you're looking for a new challenge or think you're a good fit for the team check out our open positions.

Jamie Rubenovitch

Jamie Rubenovitch

Marketing at PartnerStack

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