Get to know one of Aquicore’s Technical Leads on the software engineering team, Caitlin Henry.
How has your career grown since starting at Aquicore?
I started at Aquicore in June of 2016 as a Software Developer. It was my first software development job and a huge move for me at the time – before Aquicore I was working as a technology consultant at a large consulting firm. I remember how excited I was to start working here after working so hard to make the career jump. The learning curve was steep at first and I sometimes struggled to keep up with the pace of development at a startup, but I loved feeling like I was both learning something and adding something to our product every day. I was promoted from Software Engineer to a team lead role, and left in the summer of 2018 to go work for a larger startup, because I wanted to get more experience working in a new technology stack at a new company. My experience at another startup made me value Aquicore’s engineering culture even more, and I came back to Aquicore in late 2019. Since returning to Aquicore I’ve learned even more about continuing to level up both our product and the team responsible for building it.
How do your team’s ideas influence the company’s direction?
Our engineering team is small and therefore our team structure is always changing as the needs of the company evolve. Currently, my team is working to build Aquicore’s Detector Engine feature – which will automatically identify issues within a building. This feature will provide significant value to our customers, streamline internal operations, improve our categorization and tracking of building data, and will become one of the central pieces of the Aquicore platform.
As a team lead, how do you inspire your team members?
I don’t think I would describe myself as “inspiring” but I do try to motivate the team to think about their work in two ways – how is what I’m doing contributing to the company’s vision, and what am I learning in my current work that will better my career. I try my hardest to give my team the business context they need to develop our product’s new features, while also providing them the uninterrupted work time that is so important in a developer role. I try to find the balance between providing the team enough direction to be successful in a task and giving enough space to explore and learn independently. I learn a ton from my team every day; everyone on the team is an incredibly talented engineer.
What is something you’ve learned since working remote full time?
Before the pandemic half of our team was already remote, so our team was able to adapt quickly. I, however, struggled a lot with implementing routine and structure into my day without a commute to the office. My husband and I have invested a lot of time and effort into re-organizing our small DC condo to allow us to both work comfortably in our own spaces, and I’ve found that a daily walk through the park by our house is a good substitute for the daily walk to the metro I had on my previous commute downtown.
Is there a new technology you’re interested in?
My team is working with a graph database in order to implement a building ontology for Aquicore properties. Graph databases are a newer technology and are a huge change from the traditional relational database structures that we have used here and have learned in our Computer Science classes. The theory, strategy, and practical implementation of a graph database in a production environment has been an interesting challenge for my team and I, and I’m looking forward to mastering the technology more as we continue to iterate on our product.
What are some of your hobbies outside of work?
I like to workout and am the proud 2x Aquicore Gymrats competition champion! I like to run, lift weights, and take group exercise classes. I also love food and have gotten much more into both cooking as well as outdoor dining during the pandemic (even in the winter!). I also love reality TV, most importantly the Bachelor franchise and the Pioneer Woman cooking show, although I will happily watch any cooking, dating, or home improvement show.