Software Development
Workplace culture

Developer Shilpa Jindal’s secret to loving her work

Plus other work hacks from the Capital One master software engineer.

Engineer Shilpa Jindal is fan of taking "innovation breaks," where her team works on something that isn't scheduled. (Courtesy photo)

Shilpa Jindal has been a master software engineer for Capital One since October 2014. She handles the Capital One website and mobile app’s development for the company. She spoke on a panel during our Delaware Innovation Week 2016 Dev Day. Here’s how she makes sure that she doesn’t get burned out and is always challenged.


So how hectic is a normal day for you?
A normal day is fine. Somebody said, “If you love your work, it will never feel like work.” In a regular, 9-to-5 kind of day, I go to the office, go to meetings, talk about what we’re working on, where we are as a team. We already have a plan for what we’re working on and we do that work. Even if [issues or corrections] come up, it doesn’t impact things. It never feels hectic, it’s always either manageable or fun. I would say the most hectic time is when we have a bug and cannot fix it, that’s when you get worried. Other than that, it’s fun, definitely busy, but a good busy.
You mention that “If you love your work, it will never feel like work.” How do you make sure you love your work?
For me, it’s about getting new work because if you keep giving me the same old work, there’s just no challenge and it becomes boring. I make sure that all the time, my team is doing what they want to do and we don’t have any challenges or obstacles to doing the work. Other than that, I do make sure that I do something innovative because if I don’t get to do something new, I try to do something innovative on the side just to see how we can help ourselves so we can make our jobs easier. With my team in meetings, we also do an “innovation break,” where we don’t work on something that’s scheduled, we do something innovative, something that we can use, and then use it. Which makes work interesting.
And you feel the group dynamic really helps you out, or do you like working alone as well?
I’m good either way. For me, the most important is my manager. My manager takes care of my goals. When you have complicated code to develop, like some big project where you have to do a lot of coding, and it’s so complicated that it’s going to take me a long time, I’ll cancel all my meetings and sign off on my instant messaging and just go into my coding.
You also work remotely. How do you keep from getting distracted at home?
[Laughs] It’s actually the opposite — at work, you have so many people around you to talk to and somebody has a question and comes by your desk. Sometimes I need my alone time, and I just want work on my coding. Working from home is much easier because then I can just focus on what I’m doing with nobody around me.
What’s one thing about your work that’s unique to just you? What’s one thing you do to make your work day easier or more productive?
I start early, that’s one of the things I love, starting early gets you more time before your calendar piles up with all the meetings. When it comes to coding, I split my work into smaller and smaller pieces, making sure that each piece is complete and working before I move to the next one. That’s how I feel I can achieve much more in faster time because I look at it one at a time, and smaller components give you a sense of accomplishment much faster, which motivates you to complete the system.

Companies: Capital One

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