How I Supercharged My Software Engineering Career at Decibel

Ray McClain
Written by Ray McClain
August 08, 2019

Ray McClain – Full Stack Engineer at Decibel

I’ve been working at Decibel for three years now and it’s been quite a journey.

Fresh out of college as a Computer Science graduate, I came to Decibel as a Technical Support Analyst at the Denver office. I worked my way up to Solutions Engineer in the Service Delivery team before landing on my current role as Full Stack Engineer in the London office.

How I Got Here

I’d been communicating with our CTO, Tim de Paris, about wanting to move to London since day one. We’d been tossing the idea around for a while, and it was decided that I would initially come over as a Solutions Engineer. Around this time last year, he surprised me with the Full Stack Engineer role and the approval to make the jump across the pond. It was essentially everything I had ever wanted. I was incredibly excited about moving to London – it’s something I’d had in mind for a while.

“Around this time last year, the CTO surprised me with the Full Stack Engineer role and the approval to make the jump across the pond. It was essentially everything I had ever wanted.”

My colleagues at Decibel were really supportive during the move. The Head of People reached out to a couple of people to help me in the transition, one of which was Tim Hutton, our Service Delivery Lead. He’d been an important mentor for me during my career here. He’s someone that you can always go to with a question and he quickly became a close friend of mine.

Anyone who knows the London property market knows how challenging it can be to find accommodation before you’re in the city, which is why I asked Tim if I could stay with him for a couple of weeks while I look for a flat. So, he let me stay on his couch for a while! That was a great start to my time here.

A (Work) Day in the Life of Ray McClain

A typical day for me as a Full Stack Engineer is pretty varied and my focus changes depending on the month. Right now, we have small teams that rotate between projects, so I could be doing back-end, front-end, processing, fixing architectural issues or building out new product features and beyond. I’ve even worked on some automation. It’s a very fluid role that you can get a lot out of and is ideal for getting exposure to different areas of engineering

What I Learned, and Who Helped Me Along the Way

I’ve learned a huge amount during my time at Decibel. I came in with a software engineering background and was able to refine a lot of those skills as well as pick up web development. Other than the technical side, I’ve also worked on a lot of my soft skills. As a Solutions Engineer, I learned to be a lot more empathetic and communicative with clients to help address whatever concerns they may have and assist them in reaching their goals.

“It’s great to have supportive colleagues championing me and my skills in the business.”

Some people that have been influential in my career here have been Tim Hutton who I’ve already spoken about, Marius Milcher who is now the Service Delivery Director in Denver and Mohammad Haque, Principal Full Stack Engineer. I learned a significant amount about web development and about engineering from Mohammad – and now we have a great collaborative relationship. He was a huge advocate of my moving to Full Stack Engineer. It’s great to have colleagues like these championing me and my skills in the business.

The Best Thing About Working at Decibel

My favorite thing about working at Decibel is how much influence I have on the direction of the company. My ideas and my input are truly valued here and it’s a great feeling. As one of the first members of the Service Delivery team, I was able to have a big impact on the policies and processes within it. Today, in the Engineering team, I’m influencing our entire front-end stack.

What You Should Know Before Applying to Work in my Team

If you’re considering applying to Decibel’s Engineering team, you should know that while your technical knowledge and experience is important, what’s perhaps more important is demonstrating that you are a critical thinker and that you’re someone who’s capable of adapting to any scenario.

You need to be energetic and passionate about learning new things and working in a collaborative atmosphere. In hindsight, I personally didn’t have the strongest foundation of engineering capabilities before coming here, but because I demonstrated that I was able to find ways around an issue by thinking outside of the box, and was passionate about what I was doing – I’ve been able to enjoy a lot of success in my career at Decibel.

Topics: Decibel Culture, Recruitment
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