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Young alumni

Jack Steel

24 July 2023

BE(Hons) Software Engineering 2020

Software Developer at Coinbase


You've had a pretty cool career so far, working in Sydney for tech giant, Google! Can you talk to us about your journey since graduating in 2020?

Yeah, it’s been pretty exciting! I was very lucky to land a grad job at Google in Sydney and it’s been amazing. I just applied online and then had a pretty extensive round of interviews which they flew me out to Sydney for. Since then I’ve been working on Google Pay, dealing with hundreds of millions of users, so the scale has been immense.

Our team own services that serve over a million requests per second at peak, so everything at that point needs to be carefully designed for scalability and reliability.  Dealing with that kind of scale is something you can’t get at many other companies or projects, so the professional growth from that is huge. I’ve just moved to Singapore to start a new job at Coinbase, which is another exciting step

Can you tell us about your new role at Coinbase? What drew you to apply there?

The new Singapore site lead for Coinbase was someone I worked with at Google, and really enjoyed working with, so I flicked him a message and asked about jobs. It was a bit strange realising that this is the “networking” people always talk about in careers fairs and things actually happening for me! Coinbase is one of the leaders in the crypto space, which is experiencing huge growth at the moment, so the role and company is going to be much more fast-paced, so there’s huge opportunity for growth. The Singapore office is literally brand new which is also very exciting, and we’ll be working to bring Coinbase’s core products to more of Asia Pacific.

What are you most looking forward to about living and working in Singapore?

I’m a bit nervous about the move to be honest! But Singapore is an amazing country, and so close to so many other amazing countries, so I’m really looking forward to travelling (Covid willing). Being in New Zealand or Australia is awesome, but I’m a travel lover, and it’s a lot harder from here than it is from there.

As for the work, I’m looking forward to the faster-paced environment where the company still lives and dies by the work of its employees. Working for Google has many amazing perks, but I found it tough to be passionate about my work in such a large behemoth, so moving to a company still growing hugely is going to be exciting.

Are there any skills that you gained from your studies at UC that you use in your work life now?

UC taught me a whole toolbox of skills that translate directly into my work. Obviously, the core computer science is valuable, but I think the most beneficial courses I took were the software engineering practical courses, especially SENG302. It taught me how to work effectively within a team, hugely improved my coding and software engineering skills, as well as helped me gain confidence in my public speaking and soft skills, which I think is the biggest component that can be lacking in some engineers, and I think has done wonders for my career already.

What would you consider your highlights of UC to be? What are “must-do” experiences for students starting in 2022?

I probably have two things, especially for first-year students. Firstly, definitely join at least one club. I loved being a part of CompSoc as it was a great way to meet people and get involved in degree-specific activities. Secondly, actually attend lectures and tutorials. It might sound stupid, but I hardly turned up in my first year and it affected both my grades and ability to make friends. The lecturers and tutors I had at UC were great, so my experience improved once I started going – surprise surprise!

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