House of Guest – Scott Hagan Talks Life as a Developer at Traction Guest

Great technology generally means more customers. In turn, more customers generally mean more growth.

To see the tremendous rise in people (and dogs) roaming around our headquarters in the past few years has been exciting. Our talented people have been a colossal part of our success.

In our new series, “House of Guest”, we corner a few of our team members to find out more about the passion behind their role, team and projects here at Traction Guest. The inaugural guest is Scott Hagan, our Full Stack Developer (and former landscaping entrepreneur) who has been with Traction Guest for just over a year.

On Google, a Full Stack Developer (FSD) has a vague and broad definition. What is the “layman’s terms” meaning of a FSD at Traction Guest?

It’s pretty simple, being a full stack dev at Traction Guest means that I am going to touch all areas of our products. I will create new interfaces in the front-end that our users interact with, create new endpoints on our server’s API to retrieve data from our databases and return it back to our app to be presented to users and also contribute to our mobile applications. In my tenure so far, I’ve spent most of my time specializing in working on our server (Ruby-on-Rails) application, but I’ve written code in each of our products that is production, being used by our users today.

What is the most interesting thing about working in the visitor management systems (VMS) industry?

As a dev, I don’t often get a chance to talk to each customer directly, but when I do, a lot of them have talked about how implementing a VMS product has transformed their business, specifically they usually mention how having the iPad capture their visitor’s information quickly and store it in one easy to access place or how using different watchlist integrations they are able to keep their site’s compliant when they have visitors come.

Explain the creative process of designing a new feature?

There is a whole lot that goes into planning, when and how we implement the feature. But usually once it gets into my hands there are some specific outcomes that we need to achieve, but how I get there is usually up to me. Depending on the feature, there is a bit of research at the outset to see what tools/code libraries there are out there to help achieve all the outcomes, then the battle begins.

The coding starts, usually with a very poorly implemented proof of concept to get some core functionality of the feature working, and from there I iterate from where I started, always trying to improve the code and the functionality of the feature, sprinkle in a few automated tests to make sure nothing is breaking and we’re well on our way to a new feature. Some days I win, some days the code wins, but this process is repeated until the whole team is really happy with the feature and we can start showing it to some key users to get feedback. After all is said and done, we can release it into the wild and will continuously think of ideas of how to improve it.

Where does the best inspiration come from?

The fountain of inspiration I like to draw from is conversation with others. No matter how intentional the conversation is, I find my greatest new ideas and solutions to problems come out of talking about the product my colleagues, friends and family. If all else fails, usually a long walk, or a good night’s sleep usually help.

What is the team dynamic of the developers? Can it be a rollercoaster?

I love working on the development team at Traction Guest, it is hands down the best team I’ve worked on. People communicate openly and plainly. As a fast-growing company, things can change quickly and often, which can sometimes be tough to change gears quickly, but the team as a whole is really supportive of each other so we’ve become pretty good at helping one another adapting quickly.

What feature of the Traction Guest VMS are you most proud of?

I’m always most impressed by the amount of customizability we provide in most of our features. We are the enterprise VMS solution, and our enterprise customers have sophisticated business needs, so we offer sophisticated solutions so they can tune the software to their exact business needs. This often adds levels of complexity to building features, but we believe our customers deserve the extra care and attention it takes to build these features to be as flexible as they need them.

What is the most underrated characteristic of a great developer?

If you find a developer that can estimate development time accurately, hire them and pay them well, make them the product owner! Also, empathy is something not often talked about in developers, but empathetic people care about their end users and keep the customers at the center of everything they build.

What is the one program/technology that is essential for your day-to-day work?

Someone once tweeted “If Google or Stack Overflow didn’t exist, there would maybe be five good software developers on the planet.” That pretty much sums it up. Also Diet Coke, not a new technology but essential to getting through the day, because coffee isn’t my thing.

The work culture here is different. Fun…but a bit wacky. What is the best way to fit in here?

Stand out to fit in? There are a lot of awesome people with a range of personalities, but anyone who is unapologetically themselves is welcomed with open arms and a cold beer.

If you had an all-star developer considering joining Traction Guest, what would your 30-second pitch be on why they need to join us?

We are building a product to be the best in the industry. The people here have created a community that makes people better, which spills out to effect change in the communities we live in. Our leaders have set out a clear vision and have tossed us the keys, so come join us on this joyride as we pioneer the VMS category.

 

Like what you read? Come join our team here!

 

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