A day in the life of an Inspire software developer - Technical.ly Philly

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May 5, 2017 2:57 pm

A day in the life of an Inspire software developer

We spoke with Matt Anderson, Inspire’s self-described “software engineer extraordinaire,” about his day-to-day at the cleantech startup.

Inside the Inspire offices.

(Photo by Cary Betagole)

Meet Matt Anderson, a senior software developer at Center City-based cleantech startup Inspire. Anderson joined Inspire in June of 2015, after freelancing with a number of startups in Philadelphia.

At Inspire, he’s able to use the skills and languages he wants to hone to create the world he wants to see.

In his own words:

This is somewhere I can use technology to accomplish something that’s not just technology. If you care about the Earth, you can create awesome new technology that actually improves it. Inspire is a unique company in Philadelphia. Everyone is working hard toward our mission. Everyone has it front of mind. At the end of the day, everyone is on the same page because of it. It’s what drives our business forward

Learn more about Inspire's culture and job openings

Technical.ly Philly: What are you currently working on?

Matt Anderson: We just did a two-month product sprint to build a consumer product that gives people insights into their homes. At Inspire, you get to build something people will touch you get to learn new technologies. For example, we just learned Angular 2. We have the ability to learn the right tools on the job and try out new technologies when it makes sense. All of the technology we’re using here is super modern and advanced. You want to enjoy developing and you want to build in languages you’re enjoying.

TP: Tell me about the technology. What’s different or interesting about what you’re building?

MA: It’s fresh. We’re all pretty much full stack so we touch a lot of the applications we’re building. There’s always a variety of work. It’s not like you’re off in a corner building something no one is going to use. The stuff you work on really matters. We like what we’re moving toward, and we like how we’re doing it. For our home product, the company is interviewing actual users so we can build products that our members want to use We’re super involved with that process.

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TP: What’s an example of something you learned on the job?

MA: We took Angular 2 all the way from birth stages to production. That’s not something many companies are doing. We have a great design team and they’re all in on the latest design trends. We learned the Angular 2 animation library, which is all in responsive. More importantly, we’re thinking about wrapping it up into a mobile app.

TP: How do you interact with other departments?

MA: I’m in meetings every week. I love that I don’t just get something handed to me to work on. I love fleshing out requirements and hearing what is wanted instead of having something groomed out already and ready to go. A technologist who really understands business requirements is a good one. We’re not just developing all day at Inspire. We also work and collaborate with our product team.  We work so closely with product, and I think that’s awesome. Everyone has a complementary skill set. We all trust each other, and we’re so small that we know each other’s ins and outs.

TP: What’s your day-to-day look like?

MA: Eighty percent developing, 20 percent meetings and fleshing out ideas with people on our side and people in LA (Editor’s note: Inspire has an office in Santa Monica, Calif.). Outside of work, we always have lunch together with a random group of people. It’s not siloed or cliquey at all. A lot of us hang out outside of work, happy hours, sports games — we even do office yoga together once a week.

TP: Are you working on any side projects?

MA: We do hackathons semi-regularly, about every other month. We just finished a day-long hackathon where we built a new Alexa skill that combined the weather forecast with your recent energy usage to reveal how it could impact your future consumption. After presenting what was built to the company, we’ve decided to move it through the product process to turn it into a production app in the near future. I’m also planning on blogging more and writing about learnings from our projects.

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Lucy Vernasco

Lucy Vernasco is a Philly-based writer who previously worked as a deputy digital director for Hillary for America. She's written for The Daily Beast, Motherboard, Bitch Media and more. A Medill School of Journalism grad, Lucy is passionate about politics, running and gender studies.

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